As the season gets under way, trends begin to develop and team needs become exposed. Additionally, teams must evaluate what their strengths are to maximize talent and produce wins.
Beyond the obvious "Billy Butler can hit" and "Zack Greinke can pitch," here are a few Royals notes to take from the first two weeks of 2010:
Chris Getz is old school…in a good way.
While his season batting average is down early, his ability to get on base and wreak havoc is exciting and effective. Given the spacious Kauffman Stadium outfield and his slap the ball approach, I have high hopes for the second baseman.
His on-field demeanor reminds me of Mark Grudzielanek. He looks like he loves to play the game.
I love to watch players that love to play the game.
Alberto Callaspo is one hell of a hitter.
After showing up late to his first Spring Training and obtaining a DWI upon his arrival in Kansas City, I soured on the slow moving, defensively limited infielder.
At this point, though, I hate to imagine where the Royals offense would be without him.
He should be the staring third baseman; Alex Gordon should be battling for playing time at first base and designated hitter, or relegated to backup duty.
I have always had an affirmation for position players that successfully go against conventional wisdom. Callaspo is exactly that.
Scott Podsednik makes the offense go.
In the games he has been away from the club attending to personal matters, the air has been let out of the Royals offensive attack.
Pods demands attention when on the base paths, and as hot as he's been with the bat that is a lot of attention hoarding.
When a pitcher is distracted and full attention is not spent on the hitter, mistakes are made. That is how Scotty Pods has assisted Billy Butler's good start to the season.
In the past two games in which Pods has been out, Butler is a combined 1-9 while grounding into three double plays.
Rick Ankiel looks like a pitcher holding the bat.
His closed stance is herky-jerky and kind of funky, but as long as he's producing and manning centerfield effectively who cares?
Also, he's not real fast but he is fast (i.e. David DeJesus). I still cannot figure that one out.
Kyle Davies is a performance tease.
Many fans would attribute this to the fact he has been let down by the bullpen this year. However, I beg to differ.
He has been wild in the strike zone thus far, consistently leaving pitches belt high. His pitches are far too flat for that. If he is unable to get the ball down, he will not have to worry about the bullpen anymore.
In his self-described make or break season, he is breaking.
Jose Guillen loves Jose Guillen.
Jose Guillen is in need of another contract and more money.
Therefore, this season Jose Guillen will have his best year in Royal Blue.
Yuniesky Betancourt is not the worst player in blah, blah, blah.
He does not bring the excitement of a Jose Reyes, the range of a Jack Wilson, or the stability of a Derek Jeter, but Yuniesky Betancourt is producing—both offensively and defensively—thus far in 2010.
True it is a small sample size, but to hold his previous efforts against him is asinine. A player’s mental standpoint is critical to performance, and sometimes a change of scenery can alleviate anxieties and allow the athlete to just play and not think.
That is not to say he’s the shortstop of the future, but at this point Royals fans should be happy with a shortstop that hits .265 while keeping his season error total under 25.
Jason Kendall is playing out of his mind right now.
Let’s wait until the soon-to-be 36-year-old is performing in the thick of the KC summer to celebrate, though.
Luis Mendoza is establishing a Mendoza Line for pitchers.
We have all heard of the Mendoza Line for hitters (named after Mario Mendoza who had a career .215 batting average; the Mendoza line is set at .200).
Well, Luis Mendoza is doing his best to establish it for pitchers. Check out his ERA over the past 3 seasons:
2008: 25 games, 63.1 IP, 8.67 ERA
2009: 1 game, 1 IP, 36.00 ERA
2010: 4 games, 4 innings, 22.50 ERA
Career: 36 games, 84.1 IP, 8.43 ERA
So, I guess the pitchers' Mendoza Line is set at 8.50?
David DeJesus needs to learn how to hold onto the bat when he swings. Dethroning maple bats and foul balls, he is quickly becoming the biggest threat to box seat owners.
Former Kansas City Royals catcher John Buck is a good guy.
In his first meeting with his former club, Buck had nothing but kind words to say about the Royals organization, the city, its fans, and his time spent here.
While becoming a bit choked up in a pre-game interview Buck expressed his displeasure with the business side of baseball, sighting that as the reason he is no longer donning Royal Blue.
While the reason likely has more to do with lack of performance than price tag, it is tough to see a player jettisoned when he wants to stay.