Results tagged ‘ Mike Moustakas ’
The Royals have announced that five minor leaguers have committed to play for the Surprise Rafters in the 2009 Arizona Fall League. Shortstop Jeff Bianchi, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder David Lough, right-handed pitcher Danny Gutierrez and left-hander Ben Swaggerty will play for Surprise manager Brian Rupp, the current manager for the Royals’ Class A Advanced club in Wilmington. Kansas City will fill two additional spots on the roster by September 10.
Bianchi, 22, has split the 2009 season with Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas (AA), batting a combined .307 with 25 doubles, seven home runs, 59 RBI, 66 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. The 6-foot, 175-pounder from Lancaster, Pa. was the Royals’ second-round selection in the 2005 draft.
Moustakas, KC’s first-round pick (2nd overall) in the 2007 draft, has hit .252 with 27 doubles, 15 home runs and 79 RBI as a 20-year old for Wilmington. His RBI total places him tied for third in the Carolina League while his homers are tied for sixth.
The 23-year old Lough, like Bianchi, has split his time this season between Wilmington and NW Arkansas, and is currently batting .331 with 10 doubles, eight home runs, 28 RBI, 34 runs and 11 steals in 47 games for the Naturals. He was the Royals 11th round pick from the 2007 draft.
Gutierrez is 0-0 with a 2.11 ERA in seven games (three starts) for Wilmington, walking five and striking out 21 in 21.1 innings. The 22-year old right-hander was a 33rd round pick for the Royals in the 2005 draft.
Swaggerty is a left-handed reliever who was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 16 appearances for Wilmington before posting a 3-1 mark with a 3.57 ERA in 22 outings at NW Arkansas. The 27-year old signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent in 2007.
The Arizona Fall League season begins on October 13.
Baseball 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.
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, 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.”
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
KC’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.”
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!
Tonight 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.
But 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.
Among 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.
Billy 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.
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, will 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.
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 Official Game Notes.
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 Boys in Blue are in Minnesota tonight, for the first time since the opening weekend of the season. If your counting, that’s 136 games ago. With un-balanced scheduling, our divisional games have been spread out and come in bunches.
The Royals played Minnesota the first two weekends of the season went over a month without seeing them again, then went two months without a game versus the Twins. Now, we visit Minneapolis twice in three weeks, once on each of the remaining road trips. For a look at how things shake out the rest of the way, let’s go Around the Horn…
John Buck was on the radio this morning talking about the season and what’s left to play for. Obviously Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman both have said they want to evaluate certain players to see how they fit into the team’s future. But Buck also mentioned playing the role of spoiler. He said while he’d rather be in a different position, there is something to be taken from playing well against teams fighting to make the playoffs.
The most publicized example in recent Royals history was in 2006. The Royals entered Detroit in the final weekend of the regular season and swept the Tigers right out of the playoffs, by taking all three games. Detroit finished one game back from the Twins, and finished as the Wild Card team instead of the Central Division Champs. Torii Hunter, who is now an Angel, sent over some champagne to the Royals’ clubhouse during the Twins first trip to Kauffman Stadium in 2007 as a thank you (the Royals eventually had to give the gift back to avoid Hunter getting a fine).
With two series left versus the Twins and one with the White Sox, the Royals stand in a position to have a serious impact on who represents the Central in the playoffs. Currently Minnesota trails Chicago by two and half games, after going 5-9 on their long road trip. The Twins are seven back from Boston in the Wild Card hunt.
So the Royals will see a team desperate for wins this week and face three pitchers whose ERA sits under 4.00 in: Nick Blackburn (tonight, 3.71 ERA), Kevin Slowey (tomorrow, 3.75 ERA) and Francisco Liriano (Thursday, 3.33 ERA). It will be a tough test, but will certainly help with the team’s ongoing evaluation.
The Burlington Bees are the Western Division Champs and are just three wins (best-of-five series) from becoming Champions of the Midwest League. They finished their second sweep of the playoffs on Sunday, downing Cedar Rapids 2-1. Luis Cota was the star of the game, limiting the Cedar Rapids Kernels to one run on three hits in seven innings of work. Cota, a Royals 10th rounder in 2003, had seven K’s during Sunday’s game.
It took the Bees just four wins (two best-of-three series) to get where they are after finishing as the Western Division Champs for the second half of the season. Now they’ve blown through the playoffs, sweeping the Kane County Cougars and the Kernels to become one of the last two teams alive. It’s their first MWL Championship appearance since 1999.
Now they await the end of the Eastern Conference Championship, which is scheduled to resume play after being rained out last night. The South Bend Silverhawks currently hold the 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series. With a win tonight, South Bend would face Burlington tomorrow and Thursday. If the Dayton Dragons win tonight, the series will go to Game 3 tomorrow and the Midwest Championship will open on Thursday with the first two games at Burlington’s Community Field.
Burlington is currently home to the Royals No. 1 overall draft pick from 2007, Mike Moustakas. The third baseman led the MWL in homer with 22 and won the Bees’ Player of the Year Award. He and the rest of the Minor League Player of the Year winners will be at the K to sign autographs on Futures Night, which is the last Friday home game of the season (September 19).
The Royals are 4-2 in September…Mike Aviles has played 82 games now (half a season), and he owns a .324 batting average which is tops among American League rookies. He’s also first in on-base percentage (.354), third in slugging (.476), fourth in doubles (24), fifth in hits (109) and sixth in runs…Tonight’s starter Brian Bannister has a 2.91 ERA over his last three starts, despite a 0-2 record…Zack Greinke made his 100th start Sunday, becoming the third youngest Royal to reach the milestone at 24 years and 321 days. Only Bret Saberhagen (23 years and 133 days) and Jose Rosado (24 years and 286 days) were younger when they reached 100.
We’ve got just one week left here at the K. Around the Horn has been trying to clean out the offices all day in anticipation of the renovations kicking into full gear immediately following the season. On that note we’d like to say thanks to all of the season ticket holders and those who bought advanced tickets. Those of you who moved seats to accommodate the renovation process were extremely helpful and understanding. Thank you!
Promotions list: Remember retro-pricing for the four games during the Seattle series.
Tuesday 16: Final T-Shirt Tuesday this season. It’s a blue long-sleeve tee for the fall.
Wednesday 17: One last Ink College Night, plus Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day.
Firday 19: Minor League Futures Night, plus Fireworks Friday.
Saturday 20: Stocking caps from FSN-KC. We’ve also added a “Shirts Off Our Backs” promotion in which you can buy a scratch ticket for $1 and have a chance to win one of the jerseys which will be worn that night. More info on this coming soon.
Sunday 21: The final home game of the season. One last Sprint Fun Run and Bob Evans Family and Friends Day.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Zack Greinke was solid last night, despite a high pitch count early. He struck out five more and is in fifth place in the American League. Greinke’s 151 strikeouts top his own career high by 37 and he’s sure to down a few more with a little more than month left. He also produced his 18th quality start, which is tied for third in the A.L. and is five more than his previous career high.
The team took their annual photo today. Keep an eye out in September. The team is planning on giving out a copy of the photo in some fashion.
Does Gathright need a nickname too?
The spectacular Joey Gathright made another remarkable catch in center last night. Gathright streaked across center and made a phenomenal leaping catch on a ball that was decidedly not a can of corn. It made the top plays and was the No. 1 Web Gem on Baseball Tonight. He just keeps racking them up in center.
Royals first round pick Eric Hosmer played his second game last night in Idaho Falls. The newest Chukar went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, a double, a run batted in and a run scored. His season stats after two games: .500 average (3-for-6) with two doubles, two RBI, two runs scored, three walks, one strikeout, a .700 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .833. He’s only played two, but he’s carrying a big stick so far. The Chukars have 10 games left.
2007 first rounder Mike Moustakas parked his Midwest League-leading 22nd homer of the season last night. Apparently the blast would have been over 400 feet had it not hit the top of the Burlington Community Field Scoreboard. Thanks to wheelerrob, a loyal ATH reader for that info from Burlington!
Another Royals bat with some sock in it right now is Miguel Olivo’s. Olivo is starting again today. Manager Trey Hillman said he likes the way Olivo is working behind the plate right now and he likes what Olivo’s bat brings to the lineup. He smacked a double that short hopped the left field wall last night. Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre said that on most nights that ball probably would have carried out. Regardless, Olivo hit the ball hard and Billy Butler scored from first on the play. Keep any eye out tonight since Miggy loves to swing against Southpaws.
Hardware coming soon
Like we’ve mentioned the past couple days, the minor league seasons are winding down. With that, the minor league awards for Pitcher and Player of the Year will be announced within the next few weeks.
Future(s) coming soon
Yes, that seems redundant, but the Royals’ future is coming to Kauffman Stadium soon. September 19, in fact. That Friday night game versus the White Sox has been tabbed as Futures’ Night. Several of the top players in the Royals system will be on hand for you to meet and get autographs from.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
The Minor League seasons are winding down. But with the end of the season come a lot of things that shed hope on the future. Yesterday we mentioned some of the post-season awards which have already been won, but today we have two more things to celebrate down on the farm.
September is next week and that means September call-ups aren’t too far away, and with so much success going on in the minors, we’re not even going speculate what might happen, but we can talk about the positives in the system right now. To do that, let’s go Around the Horn…
The first moment of celebration for the organization was the debut of Eric Hosmer (wearing No. 21) last night at Idaho Falls. Hosmer was hit in his first professional at-bat – as if to say welcome to the pros Mr. No. 3 overall pick. But Hosmer showed some of what earned him his draft position, ending the night 1-for-3 with a double, a run scored, a run batted in and a walk. Hosmer’s Chukars mustered 10 hits, but could not hold off the Raptors. ATH expects he’ll be back out there again tonight as Idaho Falls finishes its season series with Ogden. The Chukars have 10 games left after tonight, a five-game series versus the Orem Owls through the weekend and then five game in Casper to face the Ghosts (we still love that Casper nickname).
The other big celebration for the organization includes another First Rounder. 2007 first round pick Mike Moustakas and his Burlington Bees are in the playoffs. They officially entered the postseason on Sunday despite losing. They are still in contention for their division title but are guaranteed a playoff spot and a postseason series starting next week in Burlington. Moustakas leads the Midwest League with 21 homers, is second in total bases, sixth in slugging and is in the top 10 in hits and runs.
While we’re mentioning high draft picks, this year’s sandwich pick is tearing up his first professional assignment. Michael Montgomery is throwing very well in Surprise for the Surprise Royals. He owns a 1.91 ERA in 37.2 innings and has 31 strikeouts to 11 walks. Opponents are hitting just .217 off him.
Finally, yesterday we devoted some space to Kila Ka’aihue, the slugging first baseman who won Double-A Texas League Player of the Year despite playing the last month in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The pronunciation of the Hawaiian’s name has been a question mark among several media outlets. Well, we’ve got an official ruling on how to say his name. It’s Kila (KEY-luh) Ka’aihue (Ky-uh-HOO-A). Or, you can call him K.K., which is what manager Trey Hillman and the baseball operations people call him. And for those curious on his status because he left Sunday’s game after being hit by a pitch, Ka’aihue hit a double in going 1-for-3 with a run and two walks last night. He has walked 98 times this season and struck out 62 times and owns a .462 on-base percentage with a .635 slugging (combined Double-A and Triple-A stats).
Manager Trey Hillman has his rotation set – hopefully – for the remainder of the season. The current quintet is locked in to finish out. Tonight’s starter is Zack Greinke, with Brian Bannister throwing tomorrow. Kyle Davies will open the Detroit series on Friday followed by Brandon Duckworth on Saturday and last night’s starter Gil Meche draws Sunday’s assignment.
Hillman said he’s comfortable with the rotation as it is. He said last night Meche just didn’t have the same he has of late and it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if he were facing a lesser hitting team. Hillman said tonight, Greinke needs to have all of his pitches working to have success.
This group has combined to start all but 35 games for the Boys in Blue this season. Duckworth is the low man on the totem pole, making his first start last Sunday, while Gil Meche leads the team with 28 starts.
Hillman said Kip Wells is probably stretched out the most in the bullpen and would merit the emergency start if need be, but that’s without knowing exactly which players will get the September 1 call-up. Triple-A Omaha finishes its season on Monday the 1st, an off-day for the big league Royals.
Currently nine players on the O-Royals are on the 40-man roster. Of those players, five are pitchers and four have spent time in the Majors this season (Jimmy Gobble – 31 MLB games, Tyler Lumsden – no MLB experience, Neal Musser – one MLB game, Josh Newman – four MLB games and Carlos Rosa – two MLB games). Although Rosa is on the 7-day D.L. and Gobble is finishing a rehab assignment.
Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which is still in the playoff hunt, has two players on the Royals 40-man. The lone pitcher is Julio Pimentel, who threw a scoreless inning in the 2008 MLB Futures game during the All-Star festivities. But with the Naturals entering today’s play tied for the division lead and fighting for the post-season, Around the Horn doubts the Royals will subtract any players from their roster on Sept. 1.
Two other quick Naturals notes: Pitching Coach Larry Carter was selected as the Texas League coach of the year…Veteran Minor Leaguer Cory Aldridge drove in seven yesterday with two homers.
David DeJesus knocked in his 58th run last night, tying his career high set last season…10 of John Buck’s last 15 hits have been for extra bases including six doubles, a triple and three homers…Alberto Callaspo collected his first RBI since before going on the Disabled List in late June. His last RBI was June 22 versus San Francisco…From Trey Hillman: He does not expect Alex Gordon back anytime soon. He told Gordon there is no timetable because there is no precedent for how the third baseman heals from an injury of this type since he’s never had one…Also from Hillman: With Gordon out and veteran Mark Grudzielanek out, Callaspo will see a the majority of the time at second…Last word from Hillman: He thinks instant replay will be a good addition and will take pressure off of umpire crews. He respects the umpire’s way of life, living on the road for the sixth-month season and anything that can help alleviate their stress and is good for the game is a good thing in Hillman’s opinion.
Yesterday we mentioned in passing the Hot Dog Derby contest. You, yes you, can sign up to be either Relish, Mustard or Ketchup. If you’d like the opportunity to don the color of your condiment, you can do so right now, all you have to do is enter.
The last weekend of the season, nine lucky fans will become hot dogs and compete for the ultimate glory – winning the Kauffman Stadium Hot Dog Derby Race. September 19-21 is your chance.
Today’s Official Game Notes.