Tag Archives: Billy Butler

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago – 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago – Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

Continue reading

Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL Central Edition


Next up in my look at each organization’s Face of the Franchise is the AL Central…

  • White Sox – I think that at this point it has to either be Paul Konerko or Mark Buehrle. Both players have been with the team a long time, and both are known for being with the team as well. Buehrle may have gotten himself into a little bit of hot water earlier in the week regarding his comments about Michael Vick, but I think either would fit this title. Continue reading

Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

Original Draft Series: Team #28 – Kansas City Royals


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #28: Kansas City Royals

General Managers(since 1994)

Herk Robinson (1994-2000): 489-576
Allard Baird (2001-2006): 386-586
Dayton Moore (2006-Present): 209-277

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
0 0 0 0 1 3 4 8

While this team has not seen success on the field, there are more players than I would have imagined who achieved success in the Majors after being drafted or signed by the Royals. I think that what put them ahead of the White Sox to me was the caliber of the top players listed on this team, and the performance that they gave while still in a Royals uniform. You have a Rookie of the Year award winner (Beltran), and of course last season’s Cy Young Award winner (Greinke). All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Paul Phillips 1998 – 9th Rd 9 58 gm, .258/.271/.364, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R Released 12/12/07
1B Billy Butler 2004- 1st Rd (14) 6 438 gm, .297/.353/.457, 46 HR, 235 RBI, 1 SB, 191 R Currently with Org.
2B Mark Ellis 1999 – 9th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
3B Alex Gordon 2005 – 1st Rd (2) 5 346 gm, .249/.331/.413, 38 HR, 142 RBI, 28 SB, 165 R Currently with Org.
SS Mike Aviles 2003 – 7th Rd 7 172 gm, .295/.323/.424, 13 HR, 65 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R Currently with Org.
LF Johnny Damon 1992 – 1st Rd (35) 9 803 gm, .292/.351/.438, 65 HR, 352 RBI, 156 SB, 504 R Traded to OAK – 1/8/01
CF Carlos Beltran 1995 – 2nd Rd 9 1999 Rookie of the Year, 1 All-Star Appearance
795 gm, .287/.352/.483, 123 HR, 516 RBI, 164 SB, 546 R
Traded to HOU – 6/24/04
RF David DeJesus 2000 – 4th Rd 10 847 gm., .288/.360/.429, 61 HR, 383 RBI, 47 SB, 489 R Currently with Org.
DH Mike Sweeney 1991 – 10th Rd 16 5 All-Star Appearances
1282 gm, .299/.369/.492, 197 HR, 837 RBI, 50 SB, 700 R
Free Agency – 10/30/07
SP Zack Greinke 2002 – 1st Rd (6) 8 2009 AL Cy Young Award, 1 All-Star Appearance
52-61, 3.75 ERA, 828 K, 243 BB, 977 IP, 1.265 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Luke Hochevar 2006 – 1st Rd (1) 4 18-30, 5.68 ERA, 240 K, 125 BB, 362.2 IP, 1.45 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Jeremy Affeldt 1997 – 3rd Rd 9 17-22, 4.77 ERA, 281 K, 178 BB, 399.2 IP, 1.519 WHIP Traded to COL – 7/31/06
SP Billy Buckner 2004 – 2nd Rd 3 1-2, 5.29 ERA, 17 K, 16 BB, 34 IP, 1.559 WHIP Traded to ARI – 12/14/07
SP Tim Byrdak 1994 – 5th Rd 6 0-4, 8.27 ERA, 26 K, 24 BB, 32.2 IP, 2.204 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/00
RP Carlos Rosa Int’l FA – 2001 9 0-0, 3.21 ERA, 7 K, 3 BB, 14 IP, 1.143 WHIP Traded to ARI – 5/1/10
RP Chad Durbin 1996 – 3rd Rd 6 11-22, 6.01 ERA, 140 K, 106 BB, 262 IP, 1.573 WHIP Free Agency – 12/21/02
RP Kiko Calero 1996 – 27th Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Organization Free Agency – 11/21/02
RP J.P. Howell 2004 – 1st rd (31) 2 3-5, 6.19 ERA, 54 K, 39 BB, 72.2 IP, 1.541 WHIP Traded to TAM – 6/20/06
RP Brian Sanches 1999 – 2nd Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to SD – 8/26/03
CL Mike MacDougal 1999 – 1st Rd (25) 7 10-14, 50 SV, 3.88 ERA, 162 K, 76 BB, 174 IP, 1.437 WHIP Traded to CHW – 7/24/06
BN Kila Ka’aihue (1B) 2002 – 15th Rd 8 14 gm, .280/.357/.400, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R Currently with Org.
BN Mitch Maier (OF) 2003 – 1st Rd (30) 7 217 gm., .252/.330/.335, 5 HR, 63 RBI, 9 SB, 73 R Currently with Org.
BN Dusty Hughes (P) 2003 – 11th Rd 7 1-3, 4.03 ERA, 31 K, 18 BB, 38 IP, 1.474 WHIP Currently with Org.
BN Matt Treanor (C) 1994 – 4th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to FLA – 7/29/97
BN Blake Wood (P) 2006 – 3rd Rd 4 0-0, 15 gm., 4 K, 5 BB, 15.1 IP, 1.109 WHIP Currently with Org.

The Royals have had an awful lot of poor finishes, and as a result a lot of very high draft picks in the first round. The Royals do have a lot of hope coming, in the form of the last 4 1st round picks, pitchers Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas. It is a bit nice to see that all of their top picks since the 2004 season (with the exception of Matthew Campbell) are still either on their roster or in their minor league system.

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 24 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). At least some part of this is a result of the fact that the Royals were consistently trading away their type-A free agents to be prior to their reaching free agency, and as such not receiving the compensation picks related to this. That said, they have definitely had a mixed bag of results in recent years. In 2001, you have Colt Griffin, a highly coveted prospect out of high school who could never really improve his control and was out of baseball before the age of 23. In 2000, you have Mike Stodolka, a high school pitcher who flamed out as a pitcher after 6 seasons, and failed as a 1B/OF prospect for the following 3 seasons after that. But in 2002, you have Zack Greinke, and in 2004 you have Billy Butler. There have been quite a few players who at least provided a reasonable return on their first round picks for the Royals.

International Free Agency

I only found one player who the Royals had signed as an international free agent for their roster who was currently in the Majors, Carlos Rosa. Clearly, the Royals have been missing this market for players for quite some time at this point, and unless they make more than a threadbare effort to find players in these countries, they will continue to miss some of the top prospects in the game.

Overall Grade

I think I have to give them a C-. Clearly, there are some high quality players that were developed in the Royals’ system at one point or another (Beltran, Greinke, Damon), and solid major league regulars (Ellis, Butler, Dejesus). Unfortunately, they’ve either never held onto these players at the same time or been able to put together any more than 83 wins in a season to this point. Some of their misses in the draft were pretty stunningly bad in the last 15 years, but overall their ability to scout and develop players is only slightly below average.

Team Preview – Kansas City Royals


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Jason Kendall SP 1 Zack Greinke
1B Billy Butler SP 2 Gil Meche
2B Alberto Callaspo SP 3 Brian Bannister
3B Alex Gordon SP 4 Luke Hochevar
SS Yuniesky Betancourt SP 5 Kyle Davies
LF Scott Podsednik Bullpen
CF Rick Ankiel CL Joakim Soria
RF David Dejesus RP Juan Cruz
DH Jose Guillen RP Robinson Tejeda
Bench RP Kyle Farnsworth
IF Chris Getz RP Roman Colon
IF Josh Fields

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
CF Rick Ankiel Free Agency RF Mark Teahen Trade (CHW)
LF Scott Podsednik Free Agency 1B Mike Jacobs Free Agency
2B Chris Getz Trade (CHW) C John Buck Free Agency
3B Josh Fields Trade (CHW) CF Coco Crisp Free Agency
C Jason Kendall Free Agency C Miguel Olivo Free Agency

Top Prospects: Mike Moustakas (3B), Eric Hosmer (1B), Aaron Crow (P), Mike Montgomery (P), Wil Myers (C)

2009 Review

The Royals were not really expected to compete in 2009, and they pretty much performed to those expectations. They finished the season at 65-97, good for a 4th place tie in teh AL Central. But they definitely had some bright spots. C Miguel Olivo posted a career high 23 HR to lead the team. 1B Billy Butler had an excellent season at the plate, posting a .301 average with 21 HR and 93 RBI. Easily the best performance by a Royal came from SP Zack Greinke, the AL Cy Young award winner. Greinke put it all together in 2009, posting a 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts. Unfortunately, the only other pitcher on the staff that performed remotely well was closer Joakim Soria, who saved 30 games and posted a 2.21 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Royals came into the offseason with a lot of holes to plug (C, CF, LF), and did well to get some high-upside players for a couple of those positions. I liked the signing of Ankiel and Podsednik, as they are both low-risk, high-upside signings. If they don’t work out, they only spent about $5 M on the two players, and are only committed to them for the 2010 season. The most confusing move that they made was the signing of Jason Kendall. Kendall is a good catcher for a young pitching staff, and that part makes sense to me. It’s a good thing, in fact, because he’s highly unlikely to provide any offense at all. That’s essentially a black hole for offense. And this is on a team that has very little offense to speak of.

The team is hoping that the starting rotation will improve this season, and will also be giving reliever Kyle Farnsworth an opportunity to try to start in spring training. After Greinke, they have a lot of pitchers that should improve, but I’m not sure how much. Meche is probably very similar to what he performed like last year. Hochevar remains a mixed bag, with a lot of potential, but hasn’t really seen it show up yet. Bannister and Davies both seem to be reasonable innings-eaters, but not a whole lot else. Another player that the Royals are hopeful will rebound is 3B Alex Gordon. Gordon has been touted for a long time, and has been inconsistent at the Major League level to this point.

They do have some solid players coming down the line in Crow and Montgomery, but both are pretty far away still. It also remains to be seen how the long term plan works in Kansas City, as their best prospects realistically play the same positions as the young talents they already have. They really don’t have a whole lot of prospects for the outfield, and for a team that has had as many high draft picks as the Royals have, the minor league system seems unusually thin.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Realistically, the only players on the  Royals I’d want to own are Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Billy Butler. Beyond that, the offense is a pretty big black hole. The pitching staff is not a whole lot better. My only upside players I see are Scott Podsednik, who could provide some steals, and Rick Ankiel, but only if he can return to his power form.

Prediction for 2010

The Royals aren’t going to compete this year. I’m not 100% sure that they’re going to compete in the next 3 years. It seems really likely to me that some point in the next 2 years, general manager Dayton Moore is going to lose his job, because the performance is really not getting it done. I know it takes time to rebuild  a system as bare as the Royals, but at some point they’re going to need to see improvement at the Major League level.

72-90, 4th in the AL Central