Results tagged ‘ Dan Cortes ’

FanFest Photos: Autographs

D20_7035.jpgThe autograph stages at FanFest are a hit with fans of all ages…hundreds lined up to get a signature from Royals heroes of the past (left), present (below left), and future (below right).









Fans bring a variety of items through the autograph lines. We saw one woman with a bowling ball (try carrying that around FanFest for a few hours!)…Royals players have been signing the ball for the last five years! Some items are easy to sign, while David DeJesus found out that a little more precision was needed to inscribe this stuffed animal. 




Here’s Joakim Soria penning his John Hancock on a green and white Royals Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day hat. Maybe this fan is hoping that Joakim’s signature will bring them a little luck.







D20_7932.jpgNew Royal Coco Crisp received loud cheers from the fans, who were more than happy to add Coco’s signature to their collection.








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Sometimes fans cherish the chance to welcome the newest players to Kansas City just as much as the signature.

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The Road to the Show

Day one of FanFest is in the books, and it was a success. You could feel a vibe amongst the fans and the players (read more about that in this column by beat writer Dick Kaegel).

We hope you can head out to the Overland Park Convention Center on Sunday. There are so many features for the kids…batting cages, a fly ball challenge, a home run derby, a speed pitch…the list goes on.

Be sure to check out the “Road to the Show” display, which highlights the minor league affiliates. At scheduled times throughout the day, four of our organizational award winners are on hand to interact with fans and sign autographs. Here are photos of our Road to the Show guys as they picked up honors on Friday at the Royals Awards Night:

D20_5789.jpgDan Cortes
– Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year for the organization’s top pitcher.

D20_5772.jpgJeff Bianchi
– Frank White Defensive Player of the Year for the organization’s top defensive player.

D20_5754.jpgDerrick Robinson
– Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year for the organization’s top base runner.

D20_5734.jpgEverett Teaford Mike Sweeney Award for a player who best represents the organization on and off the field.


Check back on Monday for a complete pictorial wrap up of the weekend!


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Awards Night honorees announced

awards_night_250x150.gifThe Royals have announced the remaining organizational award winners, who will be recognized at the 2009 Royals Awards Night on January 16 at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel. This great event will be capped by the announcement of the Ewing Kauffman Mr. Baseball Award. Buy your tickets today! The honorees include:

Dan Ontiveros – Art Stewart Scout of the Year

Dan scouts the Southern California area for the Royals. He previously worked for the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. In his first year with the Royals, Ontiveros signed left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery, the club’s supplemental pick in 2008. Montgomery earned Pitcher of the Year honors for the Surprise Royals last season.

rupp brian_212.jpgBrian Rupp – Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year

 Brian (left) is now the manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 2008, he guided the Burlington Bees to the Midwest League championship. Rupp played in the St. Louis organization for seven seasons before becoming a minor league coach with the Cardinals in 1999.

teaford everett_981.jpgEverett Teaford – Mike Sweeney Award

Everett, a left-handed pitcher, will receive the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the organization on and off the field. Teaford went 8-6 with a 3.80 ERA for Wilmington in 2008. In addition, he took part in every Blue Rocks community event. The Carolina League named Teaford as the inaugural Matt Minker Community Service Award winner.


robinson derrick_537.jpgDerrick Robinson – Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year

Robinson could be playing in tonight’s national championship football game, but he turned down a scholarship to the University of Florida to sign with Kansas City. Robinson’s future on the baseball diamond is very bright. The speedster set the pace with an individual franchise record 62 stolen bases as the Wilmington Blue Rocks established a team franchise mark with 258 thefts. His total of 62 led the Carolina League and placed him fourth among all minor league players.

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Jeff Bianchi – Frank White Defensive Player of the Year

Bianchi, a former shortstop, made a smooth transition to second base, the position held down by the awards’ namesake and eight-time Gold Glove winner. Jeff made just 2 errors in 75 games at second base and 7 errors overall.

cortes daniel_110.jpgDan Cortes – Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year

The highly-touted righty went 10-4 with a 3.78 ERA as he helped the Northwest Arkansas Naturals reach the playoffs in their inaugural season. Cortes earned team Pitcher of the Year honors and Postseason Texas League All-Star status. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2005 and signed by fellow honoree Dan Ontiveros.

kaaihue kila_004.jpgKila Ka’aihue – George Brett Hitter of the Year

Kila had a breakout season in 2008, as he led Kansas City’s minor league system with 37 home runs and 100 RBI. He earned Texas League Player of the Year honors after slamming 26 home runs for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Ka’aihue finished the year with the big league club and collected his first home run on September 20.

The Royals will also honor Patti Lewis with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award, which recognizes an outstanding member of the community. Lewis is founder and director of Alexandra’s House, a non-profit perinatel hospice that reaches out to families who have an anticipated infant loss.

The club previously announced that Chris Kemple will be recognized as The Matt Minker Award winner. The award is presented to an outstanding minor league affiliate employee. Chris is the general manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

The Major League award winners, Pitcher of the Year Joakim Soria, Player of the Year Mike Aviles, and Special Achievement winner Zack Greinke will also be honored.


The Future: KC's Top Prospects

2008 Futures Night.JPGBaseball America
highlighted the Royals today as they continue their team-by-team summaries of top prospects. Seven pitchers and three position players make up KC’s Top 10.  Five of the players were honored at the 2008 Futures Night (above). The future, both near and long-term, appears extremely bright.

New to the Top 10 are 2008 draft picks Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, and Tim Melville, as well as right-handed pitcher Danny Gutierrez and slugging first baseman Kila Ka’aihue.

We’ve compiled a few notes on each prospect. ATH had the chance to speak about the rankings with Scott Sharp, Kansas City’s Director of Minor League Operations. We’ve included his observations for some analysis you won’t get anywhere else.

Moustakas.jpg1. Mike Moustakas, 3B

The power-hitting lefty (pictured at left) recovered from a slow start to lead the Midwest League with 22 home runs in 2008 as a 19-year old.  Now 20, “Moose” became the first teenager to lead the Midwest League in homers since 1982.

Sharp note: “He has great power and ability with the bat. He’ll likely start at Wilmington.”

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B

KC’s first-round selection in 2008 makes his BA debut at #2. The 19-year old also projects as the Best Hitter for Average. Hosmer spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League.

Sharp note: “Similar to Mike, he can hit and has power. He played in three games last year so we want to see what he does in spring training before assigning him.”

3. Dan Cortes, RHP

Cortes.JPGCortes, acquired from the White Sox in the Mike MacDougal trade, continued to shine in 2008, becoming a regular season and postseason Texas League All-Star. Still just 21, he has been ironing out some issues in the Arizona Fall League, including trying to keep the ball down in the zone more often.

Sharp note: “He met every expectation last year. He will probably start in Double-A, but could begin in Triple-A, depending on how the Omaha roster shakes out.”

4. Mike Montgomery, LHP

Montgomery, a supplemental pick in 2008, displayed great stuff as he held Arizona League opponents to a 1.69 ERA over 42.2 IP. The Royals plan to build the 19-year old’s innings slowly, as they did last year with Danny Duffy (see below).

Sharp note: “He’s a lefty with a good curveball. We’d like to see him in a full-season league. Most likely, he will start later in the year as health is paramount with our young pitchers.”

5. Tim Melville, RHP

The 2008 fourth-round selection checks in at #5. Melville, who has yet to pitch in a game as a pro, spent the fall in the Arizona Instructional League and is 19 years old as well.

Sharp note: “He’ll follow a similar path as Montgomery, though it will likely be in a short-season league. It would be unfair for him to start in a full-season league (since he didn’t appear in 2008).”

6. Danny Duffy, LHP

Duffy, a May addition to the Burlington Bees, went 6-1 with a 0.99 ERA over his last 11 starts to earn Burlington Pitcher of the Year honors. He won’t turn 20 until December 21.

Sharp note: “He proved himself at Burlington and will likely start at Wilmington. He has good mound presence and poise and can display three average Major League pitches.”

7. Danny Gutierrez, RHP

Gutierrez, 21, has risen to the top 10 after being selected in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005. BA ranks him as having the best curveball and best control among Royals farmhands.

Sharp note: “He showcases a power fastball and curveball. Danny is a good competitor who should start at Wilmington.”

8. Carlos Rosa, RHP

Rosa made his Major League debut in 2008 before finishing the year on the D.L. with a right elbow strain. The recent trades of Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez have left a gap in the K.C. bullpen. General Manager Dayton Moore mentioned the 24-year old as a candidate to fill one of those spots.

Sharp note: “Carlos will be in Major League camp but could begin the year at Triple-A. He’s been working on a change up.”

Kila_Home_Run.jpg9. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B

Ka’aihue’s meteoric rise through the farm system didn’t go unnoticed by Baseball America. Ka’aihue, 24, spent just a month in Omaha in 2008. He will likely start 2009 there as the Royals have several players battling for time at first base.

Sharp note: “He will likely start at Triple-A, but will be given every opportunity in Spring Training. He has power at his disposal but is also a good first baseman.”

10. Blake Wood, RHP

Wood.JPGKC’s third-round pick in 2006 sits at #10 after being ranked #4 prior to 2008. This is mostly a sign of the Royals ever-increasing strength in the system. The 23-year old Wood split 2008 between high-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Sharp note: “Blake has a power arm and a power curve. We see him starting at Double-A. He needs to get back to the way he started there.”

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Teahen a Hutch nominee, Arizona Fall League starts

Teahen_06.JPGRoyals outfielder Mark Teahen is one of 10 finalists for the 2008 Hutch Award. The honor is given to the MLB player who best exemplifies the spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson, a baseball player who passed away from cancer in 1964 at the age of 45.  

The other nominees are Rocco Baldelli, Lance Berkman, Doug Davis, Ken Griffey, Jr., Raul Ibanez, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, Aaron Rowand, and Vernon Wells. The Royals have had three Hutch winners (George Brett, 1980, Dennis Leonard, 1986 and Mike Sweeney, 2007). Other recipients include Hall-of-Famers Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Willie McCovey and Lou Brock.

Fall League

Top MLB prospects have descended to the desert southwest for the start of the Arizona Fall League. The Royals have seven prospects and two coaches on the Surprise Rafters. The club is made up of players from the Royals, Rangers, Dodgers, Indians and Orioles farm systems.

Thumbnail image for Cortes.JPGThe participating Royals farmhands are right-handed pitchers Dan Cortes (right) and Chris Hayes, left-handed pitchers Gilbert de la Vara and Rowdy Hardy, shortstop Chris McConnell, and outfielders Joe Dickerson and Brian McFall. The four pitchers and McFall helped the 2008 Northwest Arkansas Naturals clinch the second half title in the Texas League’s North Division. Dickerson and McConnell were members of another playoff team, the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Omaha hitting coach Terry Bradshaw is in the same role with the Rafters. The pitchers will be working with a familiar face, Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber. Games started yesterday. You can follow all of the play on!

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The Future's now

9-19 Minor NLBM.JPGTonight is Futures’ Night, which means Kansas City will get to take a peak at the future of the organization. With the team on a seven game roll, tonight is a great night to make it out to the stadium.

The Minor League Players of the Year will be on hand. We’re going to have one last fireworks spectacular here at the “old” Kauffman Stadium, it’s Buck Night and of course the Royals pit their surging brand of baseball against the first-place White Sox. Let’s go Around the Horn…

The past few years the team has given Royals fans a glimpse of what is to come and not just with September call-ups (though it’s been exciting seeing the successes of Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue and Devon Lowery this month). Futures’ Night is that chance. Names like Mike Moustakas, Dan Cortes, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Montgomery are just a few of the players we’ve mentioned in this space who will be here to meet the fans.

9-19 Minor harvest.JPGBut these players got a taste of what it means to be a Kansas City Royal earlier today. Some of the front office accompanied the players as they helped out at Harvesters and then toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The future of the Club then made its way to Kauffman to take in the Royals batting practice earlier this afternoon. It is important that these young players understand about the community they hope to play in and their short tour was designed to do just that. It’s worked in the past.

9-19 Minor tour 2.JPGAmong some of the names you might recognize from the last few years, Mike Aviles has won Minor League Player of the Year for his respective team three times (2007 at Omaha, 2004 at Wilmington and 2003 at Surprise), including the title of 2007 Minor League Player of Year last season for the entire organization. In 2006, three players who’ve seen time in the Majors this season were given the award. Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon – two of the building blocks for the team – won Pitcher and Player of the Year at Wichita and Carlos Rosa, who had three strikeouts in three innings earlier this season, was the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.

9-19 Minor work.JPGBilly Butler joins Aviles as a two-time winner of the award. He also won at two different levels. At 18, he won the Idaho Falls Player of the Year and followed that performance with the honor at High Desert as a 19-year old.

Some of the lower-level award winners over the past couple of years are already starting to help the organization win. Luis Cota and Nick Van Stratten won the award for Burlington Pitcher of the Year (2005) and Arizona Player of the Year (2006), respectively. Both were key to the success of the Burlington Bees in their run to the Midwest League Championship.

Seven straight wins is the longest winning streak since 2003, 9-19 Banny.jpgwhen the Royals opened the season 9-0. The Royals are 8-2 over their last ten.

The team has clicked. Through the streak, the starter has won every game. They’ve bashed 12 homers and run their season win total to 69, matching their 2007 win total. With one more victory, they can secure their first 70-win season since going 83-79 in 2003.

After their last loss, a week ago in Cleveland, the Royals were 19 games back and eight behind Detroit. While they haven’t shaved much off their deficit to the division-leading White Sox, they are just three behind the Tigers.

Manager Trey Hillman told the media today that the strong play will get a test tonight. Matching up against the White Sox, a team who is playing for the postseason, he said the Royals will see just how well they have been playing. He hopes that they can continue their run, but doesn’t want to diminish what the Royals did in Cleveland. The Indians have been strong for most of the second half and Hillman’s boys shut them down (with the exception of the eventual Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).

Hillman sees tonight as a chance to measure his team. He believes comparing his team to the rest of the division, his main competition, 9-19 Callaspo.jpgwill give him an accurate read on where he sits. Chicago will bring a playoff atmosphere to the K and the Royals will need to stand up to the division leaders – “the pride of the division,” – if they want a shot at not finishing in last place, which is a goal the manager thinks shows something.

Alberto Callaspo has hit in 12 straight, a career high…David DeJesus picked up his 70th RBI yesterday. DeJesus and Jose Guillen (95 RBI) are the first pair of Royals to knock in 70 or more runs in a season since Emil Brown (86) and Mike Sweeney (83) did it in 2005…DeJesus currently has a .402 average with runners in scoring position and is trying to become just the third Royal to end a season with a .400 RISP mark. Sweeney (.402 in 2002) and George Brett (.469 in 1980) are the only others to do it…Mark Teahen had two hits in the fourth inning yesterday, which was the first time a Royal had done that since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in the second versus St. Louis on June 14, 2007…The 500th strikeout of Zack Greinke’s career was former Royal Raul Ibanez in the first inning yesterday.

9-9 Stocking Cap.jpgThird
Tonight is the final Buck Night and Fireworks Friday. But tomorrow has plenty for the fans as well. Stocking caps and “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night will highlight the rest of the weekend’s promotions.

With the season coming to a close and Around the Horn running out of time, we here at ATH and the K want to again voice our deepest gratitude to you – the fan – for your support and for your patience with the renovation process. You will not be disappointed when we re-open on April 10, 2008 versus the Yankees.

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Callaspo 2B
Buck C
Maier CF

Bannister P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Not feelin' blue in blue

8-25 Duckworth.jpgWhen it was announced the Royals would be bringing the powder blue back, fans were rabid. Everyone seemed excited.

Why? Powder blue symbolized the World Series, the playoffs and the glory of the franchise.

This year is a “New. Blue. Tradition.” And we can assure you, something good is going on with this color. We’ve decided that today we’re going to chat about light blue, so let’s go Around the Horn…

Mark Teahen and Jose Guillen powered the powder blue-clad Royals to a win yesterday. Light blue is apparently a strong statement for the Royals and we’re not talking about just fashion8-25 Teahen.jpg. Teahen had a big role in the Royals’ last blue beatdown. He scored the winning run on Tony Pena’s walk-off single in extras versus the Twins. And yesterday he provided again, knocking in three.

Guillen apparently likes blue as well, as he’s contributed 12 homers during day games (not all of those have been at home), including his monster shot into the construction area in left during the second inning (if you haven’t been paying attention and missed Around the Horn’s renovation update a few weeks back, that ball will be a souvenir next year).

The powder blue jerseys were set to be alternates. They were planned to be worn just on Sundays. But they became a home day game staple and have been on the backs of the Boys in Blue for every game under the sun minus the home opener. And what have they done in them? 11wins. 5 losses. Yep. The Royals are 11-5 wearing powder blue.

Those jerseys have provided some memorable moments too from the moment they debuted in their lone night game back on April 12… including the first home run of Mike Aviles career, Pena’s walk-off winner and back-to-back 19 hit attacks versus the White Sox, one of which was showcased on the FOX national broadcast.

Royals fans have been clamoring about Kila Ka’aihue all season. Now that the end is near for the Minor Leagues, 8-25 Kila.jpgthe Hawaiian is seeing some of the positives from his monster season. He was named Texas League Player of the Year today in a vote by managers, beat writers and play-by-play announcers. In case you forgot, Ka’aihue was promoted to Triple-A about a month ago. He was that good.

His 26 home runs still lead the Texas League (he’s up by three) and his 80 walks are tied for the lead entering today’s play. As Billy Butler (a former Texas League batting champ) might say and did while he was in the Texas League, Ka’aihue raked this season. He compiled 79 RBI and scored 64 runs in 91 games with a .463 on-base percentage and a .624 slugging percentage. With Triple-A Omaha, Ka’aihue hasn’t missed a beat. Hitting .341, he has nine homers and 17 RBI in 25 games.

Dan Cortes, 9-4 with a 3.98 ERA was also named to the Texas League Post-Season All-Star Team. Cortes’ nine wins are tied for the most in the league and he’s fifth with 106 Ks. He’s gone 7-1 since the All-Star break and is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts this month.

Alex Gordon is also a former Texas League Player of the Year, taking that title in 2006…Brandon Duckworth’s win yesterday was his first as a starter since June 24, 2006 and his first win in the Majors since September 25, 2007…Duckworth was the 15th different Royal to record a win this season…Robinson Tejeda’s August numbers: He is averaging 12.4 K’s per nine innings and opponents are hitting just .093 against him….Mike Aviles is hitting .448 during his current seven-game hitting streak…The Royals are 12-4 during day games at home…12-4 is also the Royals record when Jose Guillen homers.

8-19 Soria.jpgThird
Texas is in town for three and tomorrow is Joakim Soria T-Shirt night. The shirt is a tribute to his All-Star appearance and Around the Horn is a big fan of the tagline “Closing Soon”.

With three left this week/this month, the Royals home dates are dwindling down. Just four clubs come to town in September and only 13 games are slated to be played before we close our doors…until the Grand Re-Opening event next April!

Upcoming events: Be a Weiner. Viva Los Royals.

Tonight’s lineup:
Aviles SS
Callaspo 2B
DeJesus LF
Guillen RF
Teahen 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Buck C
Gathright CF

Meche P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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