Results tagged ‘ Johnny Giavotella ’
On the Farm: October is peak harvest time for a group of loyal Royals fans, the corn and soybean farmers here in the Midwest. The Royals’ farm is also busy this time of year as Assistant General Manager for Scouting/Player Development J.J. Picollo and his staff look to cultivate talent for the Major League team. Today we look at two of the fall proving grounds, the Arizona Instructional League and Hawaii Winter Baseball. (Yes, that was Hawaii followed by winter.)
Arizona Instructional League: Seeds of baseball knowledge are being planted in the impressionable minds of farmhands in the Arizona Instructional League. Participating players include 2008 draft picks Eric Hosmer (left), Johnny Giavotella, and Tim Melville as well as 2008 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year Mike Moustakas. Games started on September 22 and run through October 17. Players also take part in daily practice drills and listen to motivational talks from the likes of manager Trey Hillman and Royals Hall of Famer Frank White. We hope to have more insider updates on the instructional league in the near future.
Hawaii Winter Baseball: Aloha! Farther west, four Kansas City prospects are honing their baseball skills on the island of Oahu. Infielders Kyle Martin and Kurt Mertins, left-handed pitcher Ben Swaggerty and right-handed pitcher Jason Godin are members of the North Shore Honu. Martin played a key reserve role for the Midwest League-champion Burlington Bees in 2008. Mertins batted .282 and stole 28 bases as a member of Wilmington’s speedy Carolina League entry. Godin, a fifth-round selection in 2006, spent 2008 with Wilmington. Swaggerty signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007. He split 2008 between the Burlington Bees and the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The teams continue play through November 16. Be sure to keep tabs on all of the action!
Central Focus: All eyes in baseball have been on the AL Central over the past few days. Our division finally has a champion, and it didn’t require a recount or hanging chads. Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox, who won their first division title since 2005. Last night’s thrilling game was a pitching duel from start to finish. Jim Thome provided all of the offense with a solo blast in the seventh.
The Royals play the Twins and White Sox 18 times apiece during the regular season, so we get to know their broadcasters, writers, and media relations staff quite well. (Be sure to check out our interviews with Chicago’s Ken Harrelson and Minnesota’s Jack Morris.) We can only imagine the press box conversations last night as the season came down to a final game.
Revving Up for Royals Charities: Royals Charities recently teamed with the Kansas City Zone Dodge Dealers to auction off a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. The car sold for $51,250, with proceeds going to Royals Charities. Thank you to Dodge for their support of Royals Charities!
Good pitching, bolstered by an offense that scored 13 runs yesterday and eight in each of their games on Saturday, led the Royals to the series win. To take a look at the weekend’s success, let’s go Around the Horn…
Ryan Shealy and Mark Teahen feasted like kings on Indians’ pitching over the weekend. The two combined to go 14-for-29 (.483). They scored four and three runs, respectively, and knocked in 12. As a force, the twosome hit five homers, each of them notching a two-homer game.
Shealy’s first round-tripper came during Teahen’s multi-homer game Saturday night. The Royals first baseman collected four hits in five at-bats during that game, setting a new career high. He followed that performance with a multi-homer game yesterday while knocking in five, tying career highs for homers in a game and RBI in a game. Shealy is hurting the ball, going 7-for-10 over the weekend, and he has four homers and nine RBI in just seven games this season.
Teahen had a five-hit day with two homers and three RBI on Saturday. He’s hitting .311 and has a .590 slugging percentage with nine extra base hits, including four homers in 15 games, since August 29.
The Burlington Bees finished their season on Saturday without playing a final game. When their games on Friday and Saturday were canceled due to rain, league officials awarded the Midwest League Championship to the Bees, who were unbeaten in the playoffs. They ended their championship run at 6-0, sweeping all three opponents and outscoring them, 38-12.
The Bees secured their first and the Royals organization’s first championship since 1999. The last titles in the Royals system were won by Wichita and Wilmington. For Burlington, it’s their first league title since 1999, when they were a White Sox affiliate (they became a Royals affiliate in 2001).
Some of the key names in Burlington’s 6-0 run were Johnny Giavotella (.375 with two homers and eight RBI in the playoffs), Nick Van Stratten (.292 with two doubles, a triple and six RBI in the playoffs), Jamar Walton (.333 with a double, two homers and five RBI in the playoffs) and Mike Moustakas (.227 with two doubles, a homer and five RBI in the playoffs). That group of four batted in 24 of the team’s runs.
The Royals collected 39 hits in their final three games in Cleveland and has hit .342 as a club, including a .446 clip with runners in scoring position, over their last five games…Jose Guillen carries a career-high 12-game hitting streak into tonight’s game (21-for-51, .412)…Joakim Soria sits at 37 saves this season, which is third in the American League and passed Jeff Montgomery’s 1998 total for sixth-best in franchise history…Soria’s 54 career saves are tied for fourth in team history with Roberto Hernandez’s total from 2001-2002…Today is Luke Hochevar’s 25th birthday…Thursday’s day game versus Seattle is going to be on TV, as a make-up for the May 3rd postponement in Cleveland.
This week is huge for the fans. Around the Horn can barely remember all of the promotions going on. First and foremost is retro-pricing, which starts tonight and runs through Thursday’s 1:10 Mariners game. It’s 1973 again and you can get an upper deck seat for just $3 and parking for only $5 brought to you by The Parking Spot.
Tomorrow is the final T-Shirt Tuesday, with a blue long-sleeve tee offered to the first 20,000 through the gates. Wednesday is Ink College night and our Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day celebration. Friday is Buck Night, Fireworks Friday, The Royals Coat Drive and Futures’ Night (come out and see two of those Champion Burlington Bees as well as the other Minor League Players of the Year). Saturday is stocking cap night brought to you by FSN-KC and “Shirts off Their Backs” Night. And Sunday, the final home game of the season, is the last Sprint Fun Run and Bob Evans Friends & Family Day.
Now, that is a long list and a heck of a week for the fans here at the K. It’s our way of saying “Thank you” to the fans.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
The Royals last eight wins have come when a lefty starts for the opposition. Even though Francisco Liriano didn’t factor into the decision, the Royals secured the win.
And tonight they see another southpaw, though Cliff Lee has been Cy Young-caliber all season. Without further ado, let’s get into it and go Around the Horn…
With a 30-21 record, the Royals have the best record in the Bigs versus lefties. Going back over the last eight wins, Francisco Liriano started yesterday, before him was Cleveland’s Zach Jackson, all three game versus the A’s (Dan Meyer, Joey Devine and Gio Gonzalez), Detroit’s Kenny Rogers (two times in a row) and New York’s Andy Pettitte (though he wasn’t charged with a loss).
The Royals, despite at times being left-handed hitter heavy, have racked up some nice numbers versus southpaws. They lead the Majors in hits and doubles (the only team over 100 two-baggers) versus lefties. They’re also third in the American League RBI and batting average (fourth in the Majors in both categories).
As individuals go, Mike Aviles and Billy Butler are both in the top ten in the AL for batting average versus lefties, with Aviles leading all qualifying batters and Butler coming in at sixth. Aviles is also third in slugging and fourth in on-base percentage. Butler and Jose Guillen are hitting for power off lefties as well, ranked fifth and sixth respectively for slugging percentage versus southpaws. Guillen is tied for second in the AL with 37 RBI, tied for fifth with nine homers, tied for sixth with 13 doubles off lefties and tied for second with 22 extra base hits. Butler is tied for eighth with 12 doubles and 10th with 19 extra base hits. Finally, David DeJesus has connected 52 times which is tied for seventh in the AL for hits against left-handed pitchers.
The bullpen stood strong again yesterday. As of late the Royals’ relief hurlers are tossing some solid innings. As a unit, they’ve only allowed three runs in their last 16.2 innings for a 1.62 ERA with just three walks, and 14 strikeouts, which equals 7.6 K’s per nine innings. Opponents are hitting just .175 against them, with only 10 hits in 57 at-bats (only one of which was extra bases.
Over the five games, they have a 1-0 record with two saves and allowed all three runs on Wednesday. Ramon Ramirez has not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and struck out two of the three batters he faced yesterday. John Bale entered yesterday with two on and two out to get a pop-up during the tied game. Ron Mahay shut the door on a Twins’ chance in the sixth with after the Royals starter had given up two straight singles. Mahay struck out his first batter and then induced the rally-killing double-play.
With that said, Robinson Tejeda has been announced as the starter for tomorrow’s second game in Cleveland. Zack Greinke will start Game 1 and Tejeda, who started some for the Rangers earlier this season, will start the game in what most likely will be a “go as long as you can” scenario. The Royals were forced to put Tejeda into action because of a lack of off-days. Monday was a travel day for the team and their next break will be the 25th (13 days and 14 games from now).
Four of their last five extra inning games have been wins for Kansas City and they are 7-6 when playing past nine…Joakim Soria made history two more times yesterday with his 36th save. He’s tied with Jeff Montgomery’s 1998 save total for sixth best in franchise history and sits all by himself with 53 during his career, which is one shy of Roberto Hernandez for fourth place on the team’s all-time saves list. His 36 saves and 92.3 conversion rate are both second in the American League…Don’t forget about the FSN-KC make-up broadcast on Thursday at 1:10 versus Seattle…Or “Shirt Off Their Backs” night on September 20, when you could win a game-worn jersey for just a dollar raffle ticket…Also, next Wednesday at 11:30 at is the next Legends Luncheon. Manager Trey Hillman and General Manager Dayton Moore will be speaking.
Now at 6-0 in the playoffs, the Burlington Bees need just one win to secure the Midwest League crown. Johnny Giavotella homered for the second straight day and led a 16-hit Bees’ barrage with three hits and three RBI.
Alex Caldera combined for a four-hit shutout as the Bees’ cruised to a 12-0 win in their final game at Burlington’s Community Field this season. The series moves to South Bend tonight and will play on Saturday and Sunday if necessary in Indiana. (Bee’s broadcast available here).
Today’s Official Game Notes.