Thursday, April 20, 2006

Good News

You will not see me complaining about the Royals today. I already have, and so has everyone else, and I just don't see the need to pile on at this point. Besides, it's freakin' depressing.

No, instead I'm going to write happy news. There is some out there you know, even for the Royals, contrary to the usual litany of drudgery, crime, incompetence and melancholy that the mass media prefers to foist upon us. Today, I boycott all of that. Today, is a Good News Day.

  • Zack Greinke is back in extended Spring Training, and sounds a lot like someone who not only wants to pitch again, but is glad to be working for an organization that let him go work out his issues. He still looks to have some work ahead of him before he's ready to live a normal life again, let alone pitch effectively in the big leagues, but he made the first few critical steps, and that's the important thing. He is to be applauded for his effort so far. Good luck, Zack.
  • Alex Gordon, as advertised, is destroying the Texas League. He currently boasts an stat line of .345/.383./.618/1.002, and by all accounts he's playing a polished third base as well. Let him cook down there until June or so, then promote him to Omaha, where he will pack that stadium with Husker fans and face pitching that used to be in the big leagues, for the most part. By next Spring, he'll be primed to step into a regular spot with the big club.
  • The other reason to put Gordon in Omaha first is because they have started extremely well this season, and are currently leading the American South Division of the PCL. If they can make the playoffs, it would be invaluable experience for the youngsters to play in pressure packed games against good competition. Leading the charge in Omaha have been J.P. Howell and Justin Huber. Howell is 3-0 in his three starts, with a 2.65 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, not to mention a strikeout to walk ratio of 3-to-1, and nearly eight strikeouts per nine innings. Huber is simply raking, to the tune of .372/..481/.814/1.295. Both could easily be filling valuable roles in the Kansas City, but what would be the point of that? They would merely burn up service time and probably play irregularly. Keep them in Omaha where they can get regular work, develop their respective skills, probably face a playoff situation and save their major league service time for a day when the big club is ready to compete.
  • Other minor league bright spots include Mario Lisson in Burlington (.268/.392/.561/.953), Angel Sanchez in Wichita (.340/.448/.489/.938), Kyle Snyder in Omaha (0.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 10-to-0 strikeout to walk ratio), Nate Moore in High Desert (1.00 ERA, 8-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio, eight strikeouts per nine innings), and the unfortunately named Billy Buckner, also at High Desert (2-0, 3.86 ERA, 8.27 K/9IP; and remember this is an extreme hitters league). Even former first-round pitcher Mike Stodolka is doing well in his conversion to first base (.355/.417/.677/1.094). Sure, it's just high A ball, and it's a hitter's league, like I mentioned, but those are awfully impressive numbers for a guy who hasn't swung a bat in a few years.
  • Overall, the Royals four minor league affiliates sport a combined record of just 26-27, but that's misleading because Wichita's slow start of 3-10 drags those numbers down. The other three clubs are 23-17, a .575 winning percentage, and I'll take that, thank you very much.

See, happy stuff. It's out there, and on days like this it pays to go looking for it.

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