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Tag:Aaron Crow
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Kansas City Royals



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Long a punching bag for fans and media alike, the Kansas City Royals have become a darling in recent years due to their strong farm system. We keep hearing about how they'll be a World Series caliber team by 2014 and the first wave of strong talent hit the bigs in 2011 -- with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas leading the charge. There's more on the way, too. For the purposes of this exercise, though, the Royals get to add two All-Star veterans to the lineup who have long since departed. Oh, and they get back an aloof ace.

Lineup

1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Johnny Damon, RF
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Carlos Beltran, CF
5. Billy Butler, DH
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Johnny Giavotella, 2B
9. Mike Aviles, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Zack Greinke
2. Luke Hochevar
3. Aaron Crow
4. Danny Duffy
5. Chad Durbin

Bullpen

Closer - J.P. Howell
Set up - Jeremy Affeldt, Greg Holland, Blake Wood, Tim Byrdak, Mike MacDougal
Long - Louis Coleman

Notable Bench Players

Matt Treanor, Kila Ka'aihue, Mark Ellis, David DeJesus, Mitch Maier, Jarrod Dyson

What's Good?

That really looks like a nice lineup. There's obviously some growing up to be done in the 6-7-8 spots, but that's a lot easier done when the top five spots are that strong. And remember, Wil Myers is on the way ...

What's Not?

With Beltran and Damon getting up into their high-30s, the outfield defense would lack range. Of course, DeJesus and Dyson are both available off the bench as late-inning defensive replacements, so the situation wouldn't be dire. There is no real closer, but that's a bit overrated anyway. And the starting rotation leaves something to be desired, for now, until Crow and Duffy prove their worth and some of the other prospects (like John Lamb and Mike Montgomery) start to arrive.

Comparison to real 2011

It's actually pretty similar, aside from a few huge names. These Royals have Beltran and Damon instead of Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, while Greinke has been thrown atop the rotation. Those are upgrades and, remember, the real-life Royals didn't get full seasons out of many of their young players. It's reasonable to put this squad above .500 and maybe even lingering around in the playoff chase into August.

Up Next: Atlanta Braves

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:55 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Kansas City Royals

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Kansas City Royals
Record: 70-89, 22 games back in AL Central
Manager: Ned Yost
Best hitter: Alex Gordon -- .303/.376/.502, 23 HR, 87 RBI, 101 R, 45 2B, 17 SB
Best pitcher: Aaron Crow -- 4-4, 2.80 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 64 K, 61 IP

Few seasons that end with a team 22 games back will garner as much optimism as the 2011 Royals, a team with few expectations other than playing time for young players and giving a glimpse of the future. Even before 2011, that future was bright -- but with some of the performances by the Royals' youngsters and even its less-youngsters -- have made that future seem even brighter.

2011 SEASON RECAP

For the 2011 Royals, the wins and losses were never part of the proposition, it was progress by the likes of Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Johnny Giavotella and Salvador Perez. What the Royals found was that Hosmer is an absolute stud, Escobar can contribute enough at the plate to keep his glove in the lineup and Moustakas, after a rough start, has shown the ability that had so many excited. 

Not only were the new toys impressive, so were some of the other, slightly older types, such as Gordon, Billy Butler, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur (none of whom are older than 27). In all, the Royals were sixth in the American League in runs (719), fourth in batting average (.274) and fifth in OPS (.743) -- all marks better than league average.

The problem for the Royals was finding pitching, finishing 12th out of 14 AL teams in team ERA at 4.46, allowing the third-best OPS by opponent batters (.763) and their starters had a 4.83 ERA. 

2012 AUDIT

The rotation remains a mess, and without a significant trade or two in the offseason will likely stay that way. It's never a good sign when your best starter was Bruce Chen. There are, of course, good pitching prospects, but the arms the organization was banking on breaking through all took steps back in 2011, with lefty John Lamb undergoing Tommy John surgery, another lefty, Mike Montgomery, struggled in Triple-A, while yet another lefty, Chris Dwyer, struggled in Double-A.

Left-hander Danny Duffy had his ups and downs, going 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in the big leagues, but his stuff was never in question. Many talented young pitchers have struggled in the big leagues before finding their control.

Former Astro Felipe Paulino (an actual right-hander) pitched relatively well this season for the Royals, going 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA for the Royals in 118 2/3 innings. Luke Hochevar, a former No. 1 overall pick, has teased with his talent -- but seems to do so every year. If this is the year he puts it all together…

FREE AGENTS
C Jason Kendall
RHP Kyle Davies
LHP Bruce Chen
LHP Jeff Francis

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The offseason focus is pitching, namely starting pitching. Of course, few teams aren't looking for starting pitching. The difference is the Royals still have some talented prospects to dangle.

  • Every offseason there seems to be a pitcher that most didn't think was available, but yet the thoughts of a big-named prospect can get another GM excited (think Shaun Marcum last offseason). The Royals have the prospects to flip for a high-quality pitcher -- and any chance they get, they should take.
  • The Royals missed their shot to trade high on Joakim Soria, who went from one of the game's best closers to being that guy in Kansas City. That said, he has a track record and team-friendly contract. He could bring back a starter for a team desperate for a reliever. The Royals have a $6 million options or 2012 and options for 2013-14. He does have a limited no-trade clause, but that could be waived.
  • Move Crow from the bullpen to the starting rotation. He can always go back, and going back is easier during the season than moving into the rotation. Crow was a starter until this season and still projects as one.
  • Offer arbitration to Melky Cabrera -- sure, he's due to regress and he'll probably make more than he's worth right now, but he could bring something at the trade deadline if nothing else works out. It also doesn't seem like the team has a center fielder ready to take over quite yet.
  • Ricky Nolasco has talent, but his recent struggles mean the Royals won't have to give up much to get the right-hander from Florida. A middle-tier Royals prospect is better than some team's top-tier prospects and it may not even take that to get Nolasco. Kauffman Stadium is a place where pitchers can succeed, so a change of scenery could help. He's owed 20.5 million over the next two seasons, but the Royals are said to have some money to play with. If they take his salary, they won't even have to give up much in prospects.
The Royals are unlikely to contend in 2012, but the promising start of 2011 should continue and if the pitching talent develops or the team makes some big moves to get pitchers to Kansas City, the playoffs could reach KC by 2013.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 12:22 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kipnis a big hit in Cleveland



By Matt Snyder


Jason Kipnis, Indians. On the night when Ubaldo Jimenez made a sparkling home debut for the Tribe, rookie second baseman Kipnis -- who the Indians feel can be their Utley or Pedroia -- torched the Tigers. He ended 5-for-5 with a double, home run, four runs and three RBI. He became the first Indians rookie since 1952 to accrue five hits and four runs in the same game (MLB.com). The Indians won and moved within two games of the Tigers in the AL Central.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. The heavily-hyped rookie third baseman came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team trailing 3-2. He sent a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats for his first career grand slam to put the Blue Jays on top for good. He later doubled and scored to end the day 2-for-4 with six total bases, two runs and four RBI. He's hitting .389 with two homers and six RBI in just five games since his promotion.

Curtis Granderson, Yankees. He connected for home runs twice, driving in four on the two blasts, in a 9-3 Yankees win. It was a win that brought the Yankees to within 1 1/2 games of the Red Sox in the AL East, but we're listing Granderson here for a different reason. It was his 113th game of the season, and he set a new career high with 31 homers. He averaged 24 per season in the last five -- his only five full years in the bigs. The surge is a testament to the hard work in improving against left-handers, which came last August. Oh, and for those who want to complain about the ballpark, Granderson has 14 road home runs.



Jonathan Sanchez, Giants. When Ryan Vogelsong unexpectedly emerged as a solid starter, the Giants appeared to have a nice problem on their hands: Six viable starters. Then again, Barry Zito isn't very viable for the most part, and now Sanchez is falling out of favor as well. He only made it through 4 1/3 innings Wednesday afternoon against the Pirates, allowing four earned runs and, yes, four walks. Control continues to plague him. This was against a Pirates team that entered having lost 11 of their past 12 games. It's going to be interesting to see what the Giants do when Zito gets off the DL. Oh, and while we're here, the Diamondbacks won Wednesday night and took over first place in the NL West. The defending champs are certainly in danger of missing the postseason.

Aaron Crow/Joakim Soria, Royals. The Royals were in great position to win with their seemingly-adolescent offense -- in terms of age -- putting up seven runs, including three ninth-inning insurance runs. Instead, the bullpen unraveled. Crow and Soria combined to allow five runs on five hits while only recording two outs. The last run was unearned, as Sam Fuld hit a game-tying triple -- only to come home as the winning run on a throwing error. Just a miserable ninth for the Royals.

Dexter Fowler, Rockies. Don't just look at the box score here. Remember, we watch games. Those who played in college and maybe even high school will remember the Cardinal Rule of baserunning, which is to never, ever make the third out at third base. Well, Fowler did it Wednesday night. In the ninth inning. To end the game. And he was the tying run. He is absolutely fast enough to score on a single, so there was no reason for the blunder.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 4:38 pm
 

Rays manager likes what he sees in Royals' future

Joe MaddonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Rays manager Joe Maddon knows a little something about projecting talent -- or at least seeing it in its nascent stages.

In Kansas City facing the Royals, Maddon told the Kansas City Star he sees what the Royals are doing with their young talent and likes the direction they're headed.

From the Star's Rustin Dodd:

“They got some interesting folks over there, no question,” Maddon said of the Royals’ young players. “I can see what they’re doing from a distance. Being a developmental guy, I like what they’re doing. I know it’s going to pay off. You gotta be patience. That’s the most difficult part about it is being patience.

“But once you are patient, eventually the rewards are going to come back to them. They’ve got a tradition in this city baseball-wise. I think they have one of the best baseball venues in all of baseball right here – I love this place.

“I loved what they originally had. I loved the little bit of the (renovation). It’s tremendous; it’s a great place to play baseball."

The Royals' young talent has been hyped all offseason, with many people calling it the best collection of minor-league talent they've ever seen, or at least in recent memory.

Kansas City has already graduated Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to the big leagues this season, as well as Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Danny Duffy

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 10:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Could Crow make conversion to starting pitcher?

Crow

By Evan Brunell

The Royals drafted Aaron Crow with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2009 draft, but just two years later, converted the starting pitcher to relief. While he's delivered by earning an All-Star nomination on the backing of a 2.00 ERA in 45 innings and punching out 45 while walking 20, it was always curious that K.C. put Crow in the bullpen.

Yes, Crow had an unsightly 5.73 ERA last season in 29 starts, 22 of which came at Double-A. His peripherals didn't hint at much of an improvement, but it was still curious to see Kansas City give up so fast on Crow as a starting pitcher.

Well, apparently they didn't. GM Dayton Moore told Jim Bowden of ESPN that Crow will be moved into the rotation for 2012. Not only will that bolster the Royals' starting pitching depth -- which, despite no shortage of pitching prospects in the minors, is always in demand -- but it seemingly keeps Joakim Soria a valuable part of the Royals, as there was speculation Soria could be traded with Crow becoming the new closer.

Is there some use to Crow becoming a starter? Well, as Baseball Prospectus displayed earlier today in discussing Orioles reliever Jim Johnson being shifted to the rotation, you can apply a rule of 17 to relief pitchers to see how well they would fare as a starter.

"A reliever moving to the rotation should expect his earned run average to increase by a run, his strikeout rate to dip by 17 percent, his walk rate to remain static, his home run per contacted plate appearance rate to increase by 17 percent, and his batting average on balls in play to increase by 17 points," R.J. Anderson writes.

How would that translate to Aaron Crow? Let's check it out:

Role ERA K/PA BB/PA BABIP
Reliever (2011) 2.00 25.0% 11.1% 23.6%
Starter (projected)

3.00

20.75% 11.1% 27.6%


The average pitcher has struck out 18.3 batters per plate appearance in 2011, while walking 8.2 percent. A starting pitcher's BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, tends to normalize around 28-30 percent, so Crow is still getting quite a bit of credit in that category. All told, his season as a reliever projects Crow to be a dominating starter, but it's never that simple. If Crow can carry over the progress he's made as a reliever, you could easily see him as a No. 3 in the rotation but a No. 1 starter is a ways off without improving his game, especially when his 3.15 xFIP is so at odds with his 2.00 ERA.

Still, the way Crow has pitched this season lends credence to the idea he can be a valuable starter. Given the average velocity on his fastball is 95.5 percent, even a 2-mph dropoff from converting to a starter wouldn't adversely affect his chances of being a quality pitcher. It's the type of move the Royals should absolutely do as it can only make them better. And if the conversion fails, they have an elite setup man.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 7:08 pm
 

All-Star selection a surprise to Royals' Crow

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- When Kansas City broke camp in March, Royals rookie Aaron Crow didn't expect to be returning to Arizona until next season. Instead, he's a member of the American League All-Star team.

However, Crow (2-2, 2.08 ERA) doesn't think he's the most deserving Royal of an All-Star nod. Find out who Crow thinks should be at Chase Field on Tuesday in his place:



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Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Pepper: @DatDudeBP leads MLB tweeters

By C. Trent Rosecrans



BASEBALL TODAY:
CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about Derek Jeter, but also notes these games against the Yankees are not just big for Jeter's chase of 3,000 but also vital for the Rays. There's also the Braves-Phillies series, but Danny points out why that may not be as big of a series.

TWITTER 140: Our own @JamesonFleming put together the sports world's top 140 Twitter users and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) comes in as baseball's best Twitter user.

Phillips didn't start using Twitter until this offseason, but has embraced the technology, holding contests for fans and also taking suggestions on restaurants and off-day activities. Earlier this season, a teen asked Phillips to come to his baseball game on a day the Reds were off, and Phillips stopped by. He also sent a pair fans to spring training and then another pair to San Francisco for the Reds' games at AT&T Park.

He has even won over some Cardinals fans, an amazing feat considering Cardinal nation's distaste for the Reds second baseman, who last year used not-so-nice words to describe Tony La Russa's club.

Florida's Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) is fourth on the list and the second baseball player. Brewers closer John Axford (@JohnAxford) is the third MLB player in the Top 10.

LAST ONE THE TOUGHEST: George Brett told the Associated Press he thought the last hit would be the toughest for Derek Jeter in his quest for 3,000. Of course, Brett reached the mark with a four-hit game. Brett also said he wasn't sure how many more players would reach the milestone.

"Is that desire still going to be there when they're worth $250 million when they're 37 years old?" Brett said.

GOTTA BE THE SHOES: Jeter will be wearing special shoes for his 3,000th hit, and you can get a matching pair. Yahoo!'s Big League Stew has all the details on the details of the shoes.

JETER'S BALLS: One more Jeter entry -- a look at the special baseballs that MLB will use to try to track Jeter's 3,000th hit. [BizofBaseball.com]

CARDS LOCK UP GARCIA?: There are reports from the radio station partially owned by the Cardinals that say the team has reached a four-year deal with two option years with left-hander Jaime Garcia. The deal would cover all three arbitration years and one year of free agency for the 25-year-old Garcia. He's 8-3 this season with a 3.23 ERA and is 22-12 with a  3.07 ERA in his career. [MLB.com]

HARPER STILL TOPS: Baseball America released its Midseason Top 50 Prospects List, and the Nationals' Bryce Harper leads the list, followed by Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Rays' lefty Matt Moore.

ALL-STAR SWITCH: Royals right-hander Aaron Crow may have made the All-Star team as a reliever, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost sees the team's former first-rounder as a starter down the line, as soon as next spring. [MLB.com]

DOCTOR MAY NAME NAMES: Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States to treat athletes, and he may be pressed to give the names of athletes he treated and gave illegal drugs. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets are among the players who have been treated by Galea in the past. [New York Times]

BORAS SPEAKS AT SABR: Super-agent Scott Boras talked of his love of baseball at the Society for American Baseball Research's annual conference on Thursday. Boras talked about his first superstar -- a cow on his family's farm. [Orange County Register]

SCHILLING TALKS PEDS: Former All-Star Curt Schilling went on a Philadelphia radio station Wednesday and said that no "team in the last 20 years that's won clean." Schilling said he thinks the recent decline in offensive numbers are because of MLB's testing policies. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

NO TAPE MEASURE NEEDED: Ever wonder how they calculate home-run distances so quickly? There's a chart, of course, but how is that chart made? Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has that story.

CRADLE OF MANAGERS: The Kansas City A's didn't produce a lot of wins, but they did produce their fair share of managers. Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, but the former Red Sox manager), Dick Williams, Hank Bauer, Dick Howser and Tony La Russa all played for the A's in KC. Two of the game's more successful coaches, Dave Duncan and Charlie Lau, also played for the A's during their stint in Kansas City. [Joe Posnanski]

SLUGGER EMPATHY: Twins designated hitter Jim Thome said it wasn't his place to comment on Adam Dunn's struggles, but said he did empathize with the struggling Chicago DH. "As a guy who swings and misses and has struck out a ton, it's hard," Thome told the Chicago Tribune. "When you can have success and are blessed to play a long time and [then go through] those periods, it's tough."

NO STARS FOR ALL-STARS: Major League Baseball has added stars to the uniforms of All-Stars, but apparently the designations are purely optional, as the Cardinals' three All-Stars declined to take part to keep their uniforms uniform. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

STARLING UNDECIDED: The Royals took a gamble when they picked prep outfielder Bubba Starling with the fifth overall pick in last month's draft, as Starling is also a top-flight quarterback committed to Nebraska. Starling told the Kansas City Star he hasn't decided whether he's going to play football for Nebraska or sign with the Royals for millions of dollars. Starling said he's going to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday and will work out with the team, but won't enroll in classes for the summer.

SAVES RECORD: You need more evidence they keep stats for everything? Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has set the record for most first-half saves by a rookie. Kimbrel's 27th save Thursday broke the record of 26 set by Boston's Jonathan Papelbon in 2006. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

LAWRIE PROGRESSING: Just before he was scheduled to be called up in May, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Lawrie began hitting off a tee earlier this week, and he's improving. The team doesn't expect him to be able to play in games until August. [MLB.com]

ROYAL SHAME: The Royals have once again taken the cheap route in their tribute to the Nergro Leagues, ditching the vintage uniforms. While there are many good signs for the Royals' future, this is a reminder that David Glass is still the owner. [Kansas City Star]

MYTHBUSTER: Scientists are using a lab at Washington State to measure some baseball physics. Among the findings, corked bats don't work, humidors do, and the balls from 2004 performed the same as a ball from the late 70s. [Popular Mechanics]

REMEMBERING BUDDIN: Former Red Sox shortstop Dan Buddin died last week. He's remembered mostly for not being very good -- he averaged 30 errors a year and didn't hit very well, either. A really good remembrance by FanGraphs.com's Alex Remington on the man Boston booed.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 12:03 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Dunn comes through



By Matt Snyder

Adam Dunn, White Sox. Maybe the 4th of July will go down as the day Dunn got things together in 2011. He's still only hitting .171 and did strike out once, but Dunn was 2-4 with two RBI Monday. He connected on a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth inning and then was at the plate in the bottom of the ninth when the White Sox won via walk-off balk (more on that below). If Dunn can regain some confidence from this game, it would do wonders for getting his season out of the gutter.

Alex Presley, Pirates. The rookie outfielder has been piling up hits for the Pirates since his promotion. Monday, Presley was 3-4 with a triple, RBI and a walk. He's now hitting .364 and more than filling the shoes of injured leadoff hitter Jose Tabata for the Pirates, who are now only 1-1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central.

Rangers offense. Sparked by three hits from both David Murphy and Michael Young -- who was a home run short of the cycle -- the Rangers pounded the Orioles' pitching staff for 13 runs and 18 hits. They had seven doubles, a triple and two homers. Every starter except Elvis Andrus collected a hit and seven players had multi-hit games. The production enabled the Rangers to win and hold on to a first place tie with the Angels.



Aaron Crow, Royals. Just a day after finding out he made the All-Star team, Crow had an awful rough outing. The Royals' setup man lost the lead in the eighth on the aforementioned Dunn home run and then lost the game in the ninth when he balked home A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski got on base with a single, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a wild pitch from Crow. This loss falls squarely on Crow's shoulders.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs. Marmol entered the game in the bottom of the 10th with a tie game and Jayson Werth on second base. Marmol was summoned because Marcos Mateo was injured and had to leave the game. Marmol needed only five pitches to lose the game. First, he paid zero attention to Werth at second, which allowed Werth to steal third base so easily that Cubs' catcher Geovany Soto didn't even bother to throw to third. Then, on Marmol's fifth pitch, he uncorked his first wild pitch of the season, which allowed Werth to score. Yep, a walk-off wild pitch and walk-off balk in the same day.

John Lackey, Red Sox. Lackey was very solid last time out, but failed to build upon it one iota Monday. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and seven earned runs. His ERA is now back up to 7.47. The good news, Red Sox fans, is that he's only signed through 2014.

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