Kansas City Royals: 6 Things They Can Do to Get Back into the Playoff Race
As the MLB season sprints into the dog days of summer, the race for the American League Central is wide open. Cleveland, the early front-runners, have came upon rough times as of late, losing 15 of their last 21 games. On the other hand, Detroit has been on fire the past few weeks, winning 12 of their last 16. As of June 15th, the Royals are seven games behind first place, despite being eight games below .500 and losing 16 of 24 games.
The addition of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas has injected life into the lineup and has given the fans visions of the future. With a couple of moves this team could be on the edge of making the future, now.
Trade Wilson Betemit for Starting Pitching
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Wilson Betemit has been a good surprise for the Royals for the past year. During his time in Kansas City, Wilson has been hitting .294 with an OBP of .366 and a slugging percentage at .471. These are very solid numbers that a playoff team could really use. Since Mike Moustakas is currently blocking him out of the lineup, Betemit is having a tough time trying to find playing time.
Also, the Royals have one of the worst rotations in the entire league. The Royals give up 4.96 runs per game from their starting pitching alone, which is the worst in the AL. The rotation is also only going 5.7 innings per game, which is also the worst in the AL. This will put a strain on a very young bullpen and forces the Royals to keep most of their bench in the bullpen, instead of keeping batters around to have in pinch hitting situations.
Although it is unclear which team would be interested in Betemit's services, the Royals could really use a near-major-league-level arm to try and find out if they can stop the bleeding.
Promote Johnny Giavotella
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Now that Betemit is traded in my scenario, the Royals are in need of a new infield player. This is where the second-round draft pick from 2008 comes in. Johnny Giovotella has been a stud down on the farm the past few years, spending one year at every level of the minor league system. He is now knocking on the door to get a shot at the major league club.
Giovotella hit .322 in Double A Northwest Arkansas last season and is hitting .309 in Triple A Omaha so far this season.
This bat could be an improvement from Chris Getz (at least he wouldn't have to play second base everyday). This would also give an important piece of Kansas City's future some very important experience.
For More on Johnny Giavotela, check out his Minor League Stats.
Figure out What to Do with Clint Robinson
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Clint Robinson has been one of the most talked about Omaha Storm Chasers, outside of Hosmer and Moustakas this season, and there is good reason. Robinson is mashing in AAA, and it hasn't just been this season, he was putting up similar numbers at Northwest Arkansas last season.
His power numbers have been off of the charts, slugging above .600 and hitting 17 HRs in 62 games this season (which would be on pace for above 40 in a major league season).
With Hosmer blocking first base and Billy Butler blocking the DH role, the major question would be if he could find any playing time. It would almost take an injury or something like that to give Clint a chance at playing any real time for Kansas City.
If Robinson doesn't get promoted, he could be an interesting piece to pair with Betemit in an attempt to get more pitching though trades.
For more information on Clint Robinson check out his Minor League Stats.
Don't Bring Up Mike Montgomery Until He Is Actually Ready
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Coming into this season, Mike Montgomery was the most talked about pitching prospect and was on the edge of making the major league club. This season has been a bit of a setback for Montgomery, with a ERA of 5.00 after his 14th start of the season. It seems that he has trouble locating his pitches, due to his higher than normal BB/9 ratio. He is actually around the same H/9 and K/9 ratio.
This is something that can be worked out, but you don't want to put too much pressure on him by putting him into the Royals rotation too early. Especially if he doesn't feel comfortable with his control. You don't want a Vin Mazzaro situation to cause a setback in the development of a solid young player.
Stop Giving Starts to Kyle Davies
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Kyle Davies may be one of the best bad pitchers to ever play. No matter how poorly he preforms, the manager still finds a way to keep him in the rotation. With Bruce Chen coming off of the DL and Felipe Paulino pitching effectively his past few starts, the only way Davies gets back on the team is through the demotion of either Francis, Duffy or Hochavar.
Since there is no way that Francis or Hochaver go down to Omaha (barring injury), this turns into a Davies versus Danny Duffy argument. Danny Duffy should be in Kansas City. He is one of the pitchers of the future and Kyle Davies is far from that. Duffy needs the work at the major league level to take his game to the next level. Dayton Moore would be mistaken to give Davies another shot at the major league level.
Give More Playing Time to Mitch Maier
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Mitch Maier has been on the 25-man roster all year, but has only gotten 31 at bats. This is a concern because he has hit well in his limited chances, a .323 with a majority of chances in pinch hit situations. This is very good and his numbers take a jump when he gets to start.
The problem is, who do you take out of the outfield. Maier's natural position of center field is taken by Melky Cabrera, and he has been promised the everyday spot there. In the corners, you will have a rough time taking starts away from Alex Gordon or Jeff Francouer.