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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/23/2011

So far this season, Kauffman Stadium has kind to the Kansas City Royals.However, this week, their fortunes changed. A likely combination of increased competition and regression to the mean handed the Royals a 2-5 home-stand last week. To make up for injuries and to improve the roster the Royals made a series of roster moves from Kyle Davies going on the disabled list to prospect Danny Duffy being promoted. The team as it is today is quite a bit different than the one that took the field on Monday. That's something that's certainly going to continue as the wave of young talent forces it's way onto the Major League roster.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Tigers -7.0

3 Royals -8.0

4 White Sox -9.0

5 Twins -14.5

Game 40: Indians 19 @ Royals 1 - boxscore

It was a night that every Royals fan and player would like to forget. The division leading Indians come in to town and put on a hitting clinic. Starter Kyle Davies left after 1/3 of an inning and starter Vin Mazzaro was put in to try and eat innings and keep the Royals in the game. He failed to do that in historic fashion by allowing 14 earned runs in 2.1 innings. The Royals never came back and luckily an 18 run deficit still only counted as one loss.

Game 41: Indians 7 @ Royals 3 – boxscore

The Royals dropped both the second game of the brief two-game series with the Indians as starter Sean O’Sullivan’s inability to miss bats led to 6 runs. The Royals offense however, did seem to show signs of life as Melky Cabrera and Eric Hosmer both had two hits and an RBI.

Game 42: Rangers 5 @ Royals 4 – boxscore

The Royals promoted highly-touted prospect Danny Duffy and immediately inserted him in the rotation. His first start wasn’t as good as he’s used to in triple-A, but he held his own against Major League hitters as he struck out four in four innings while surrendering two runs. The game was tied going into the ninth inning when an Elvis Andrus single scored Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry to take a one-run lead. It was a short-lived lead as Eric Hosmer hit the very first pitch in the bottom of the ninth into the right field seats for a home-run. A wild pair of extra-innings ensued as the Royals had two consecutive players walk and get picked off at first base. The Rangers scored a pair in the top of the 11th and the Royals could only muster one in the bottom off the inning as they lost the opener to the Rangers.

Game 43: Rangers 1 @ Royals 2 – boxscore

The Royals needed an ace-like start from Luke Hochevar to stop their losing skid, and that’s exactly what they got. Hochevar went 8.2 innings and allowed only a single run while striking out four. It was barely enough as the Royals tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on a Mike Aviles single. In what should be very familiar to Royals fans this season, there were more extra innings. This time it only took one when Jeff Francoeur singled home Melky Cabrera on another walk-off victory for the Royals.

Game 44: Cardinals 0 @ Royals 3 – boxscore

Veteran starter Jeff Francis wasn’t about to let Luke Hochevar hog all of the glory as he held the Cardinals scoreless over 7.2 innings while striking out 6. A three run 7th was a team effort as four different players got hits and one got a walk. It was all the run support needed as relievers Aaron Crow and Joakim Soria held the team across the state scoreless to complete the shutout.

Game 45: Cardinals 3 @ Royals 0 – boxscore

The Cardinals must have been thinking that turnabout was fair play as their staff held the Royals scoreless and they put up three runs to produce a mirror image of the previous night’s game. Spot starter Nate Adcock held his own for five scoreless innings, but the normally stingy bullpen allowed three runs in the last inning and two thirds. No Royal had more than a single hit and none of the five hits they did get went for extra bases. It wasn’t a recipe for success as the Royals dropped the second game of the series.

Game 46: Cardinals 9 @ Royals 8

The Royals were in a six run hole going into the bottom of the 5th inning thanks to a very tight strike zone and another start by Sean O’Sullivan where he wasn’t able to strike any one out. This Royals team, however seems to always believe they can come back and they chipped away at the lead. They scored one in the 5th, three in the 6th and two in the 7th to tie the ball game at seven. The scoring parade was lead by two home runs by Wilson Betemit and one by both Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon. It’s beginning to be repetitive, but the Royals went to extra innings, again. This time, it benefitted the Cardinals as they plated a pair in the top of the 10th and the Royals could only muster one.

Position player of the week: Eric Hosmer

Hosmer hit .333/.355/.533 last week and lead the team in hits and total bases. He did however, strike out eight times and walk only once. It's likely that opposing pitchers are going to start throwing more balls out of the zone and make him chase. How Hosmer responds and adjusts will be very telling.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

The off-season free agent continues to impress. In his one start this week against the hot-hitting St. Louis Cardinals, Francis threw 7.2 scoreless innings while striking out six and walking only two.

Relief pitcher of the week: Aaron Crow

Just another ho-hum week for Aaron Crow. He threw 3.1 innings while allowing no runs and striking out five. Crow has a 0.79 ERA on the season and has averaged more than a strikeout per inning.

On the farm:

Clint Robinson (1B) has been white-hot recently as he's hit .419/.479/.698 in his last 10 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). He's now hitting .352/.434/.630 on the season.

Mike Montgomery (LHP) had a very nice start for Omaha last week as he threw seven innings and struck out seven with only two walks. On the season he has 40 strikeouts to 27 walks in 49.1 innings.

John Lamb (LHP) left his last start for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA) after getting only one out with elbow discomfort. He was placed on the disabled list as the team was trying to assess the problem.

Salvador Perez (C) has been on a hot streak in Northwest Arkansas. He's hit .324/.359/.459 in his last 10 games with a home run and two doubles.

Carlo Testa (LF) is hitting .405/.476/.676 in his last 10 games for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+). \

Jake Odorizzi (RHP) is sporting a 2.28 ERA with 59 strikeouts and only 9 walks for Wilmington. He was acquired this past off-season as part of the Zack Greinke trade.

Sugar Ray Marimon (RHP) combined with Chas Byrne (RHP) to throw a no-hitter last week for the Kane County Cougars (A-).

Blue Valley Northwest graduate Jason Adam (RHP) has had a fine start to his professional career. In his last start he threw 8 innings while striking out six and walking none for Kane County.

The week to come:

The Royals hit the road this week as they visit Baltimore and Texas for a pair of three-game series. Danny Duffy is slated to get two starts and how he continues to adapt to the highest level will be quite interesting. Since the Royals are 8 games out of first, watching what the first place Indians are doing isn't of much importance this week. It's up to the Royals to win a bunch of games if they want to hang in the race regardless of what any other team does.

5/24-5/26 @ Baltimore

5/27-5/29 @ Texas

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Dany Duffy’s Royals debut comes in a wild game

One of my favorite moments in baseball is watching a player's debut at the Major League. It's a once in a lifetime moment that the player has likely dreamed of for nearly his entire life. Many debuts are brief and most are uneventful. The vast majority of players get their first taste of the big leagues as a relief pitcher or a position player, so the debut consists of a brief inning or a handful of at bats. Last night was the somewhat rare occurrence of a player getting his first shot as a starting pitcher as Danny Duffy made his highly anticipated appearance in a Kansas City Royals uniform.

It's something that has been more rare, it seems for the Royals than for other clubs. The last Royals player to make his debut as a starter was J.P. Howell on June 11th 2005 in Arizona. The last Royal to make his debut as a starting pitcher an do so in Kauffman Stadium was Jimmy Serrano on August, 4th 2004. It's unlikely that there will be that long of a time between the next pitcher to debut as a starter, however it was a rather unique moment and the game that was played matched the uniqueness.

Duffy's first pitch was a 95 mph called strike to Rangers hitter Endy Chavez and the crowd cheered the big moment for the young pitcher. His second pitch was a 96 mph fastball which was swung on and missed. Duffy is known to have a very nice fastball, but 96 seemed to be a bit fast.

It looked as if he was over-throwing a bit and was falling off the mound pretty hard as he followed through. I'd imagine that Duffy had a little extra adrenaline flowing in that first inning, which combined with every players desire to prove that they belong was enough to put him just a tad out of his comfort zone. After the game he was asked if he was a little amped up more than usual.

"Absolutely, I think anytime in a situation like that you're going to be pumped, but I need to learn to control that."

I asked him if he felt he was over-throwing in the first inning.

"I felt like I was really under control, it was jumping out of my hand....I was amped."

The ball was jumping out of his hands as he hit 96 a few times in the first and didn't hit it again the rest of the game. He also didn't have great command of his off-speed pitches. That resulted in a couple of singles and a walk, but a double play and a weak popfly let him escape without damage other than an elevated pitch count.

As the game moved on, Duffy seemed to settle down a bit and his control and off-speed stuff returned to him. All three outs in the second were strikeouts, although he did walk Mike Napoli. It's significant because one of Duffy's biggest issues surfaced immediately when Napoli stole second base, which was his first of the season. The Rangers ended up stealing four bases on Duffy. When asked about it, manager Ned Yost said after the game:

"One of the things we're going to have tow work on is duffy containing the running game, he's a little long at times and allowed runners to go from first to second and second to third.....that's something were going to continue to work on with him, but its something we can clean up."

He ended up throwing four innings and gave up six walks while striking out four. His stuff looked very good and as he settled down he got even better. The rest of the game was a crazy series of opportunities followed by mis-steps on both sides, with neither team really doing anything to earn the win but rather seeing which team was going to lose.

It seemed to be in the Royals hands as Eric Hosmer crushed a game tying home run on the first pitch of the 9th inning against Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. Then back to back Royals batters walked and were picked off and the game went to extra innings. The Royals seemed to feel that Feliz was balking as he was throwing to first, which caught the runners off the bag. However, it's only a balk if the umpire says it is and he was silent. If Feliz does have as Ned Yost termed it "a balk move", then I can see the first player getting caught, but there's little excuse for the second.

In the end, it was a hard-fought but sloppy game. The Royals stayed in it with the defending American League champions. However staying in games isn't enough as Danny Duffy said after the game:

"I didn't come up here to keep my team in the game, I came up here to win. It's a bummer."

A bummer indeed, but staying in games is the first step. Winning, with this group of players seems almost inevitable. It didn't happen last night, but it will.

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/16/2011

Last week’s road trip for the Kansas City Royals wasn’t exactly perfect, however it was significantly better than their last foray in the field. They started off nicely by taking a series in the Bronx, which they haven’t done since 1999. However they faltered once they took their talents to Detroit to face the Tigers. This latest road trip seemed to be the mirror image of the last one in that the starting rotation showed up and the bats were relatively quiet.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Tigers -3.5

3 Royals -5.0

4 White Sox -9.0

5 Twins -12.5

Game 35: Royals 1 @ Yankees 3 – boxscore

Royals starting pitcher Kyle Davies gave up three runs in five innings pitched against the New York Yankees on seven hits, however he continued to limit the free-passes by only walking one. The three runs were all the Yankees needed as the Royals scored only one run on a Melky Cabrera solo home run in his first game against his former team.

Game 36: Royals 4 @ Yankees 3 – boxscore

The Yankees took an early lead by putting up a pair of runs on starter Vin Mazzaro who was making his debut in a Royals uniform. The Royals battled back with two runs of their own, one of which came on Eric Hosmer’s first Major League home run. With the game knotted at two, they went to extra innings. The Royals struck first by scoring in the top of the tenth, but closer Joakim Soria couldn’t convert in the bottom of the tenth and surrendered a run. In the top of the eleventh, the Royals took another lead on an Eric Hosmer sacrifice fly. Louis Coleman came in and held the Yankees scoreless for the win.

Game 37: Royals 11 @ Yankees 5 – boxscore

In the series finale, there wasn’t near as much drama but it was just as fun. The Royals scored early and often by putting up six runs in a parade of hits in the second inning. Eric Hosmer hit his second career home run and Melky Cabrera hit his second of the series. Royals starter Sean O’Sullivan didn’t have to be perfect, and he wasn’t as he gave up four earned runs and again struck out no batters. The Yankees scored a few more, but were never really in the game and the Royals won their first series in the Bronx since 1999.

Game 38: Royals 1 @ Tigers 3 – boxscore

The Detroit Tigers have one of the best starting rotations in the American League and it was on display in this series. Tigers starter Justin Verlander held the Royals hitless through five innings. However in the sixth the Royals busted through with a run scoring triple from Melky Cabrera. Unfortunately, it was the only run they would score. Royals starter Luke Hochevar put together another quality start as he held the Tigers potent offense to three runs in six innings.

Game 48: Royals 0 @ Tigers 3 – boxscore

Royals starter Jeff Francis got off to a wobbly start as he surrendered three runs in the first inning, however he found his groove and gave up no more runs and pitched a complete game. The Royals offense was again stifled by a Tigers starter, only this time it was Brad Penny. They will have to settle for an 0-2 series as the finale was postponed due to rain.

Position player of the week: Melky Cabrera

It was a prettly light week in terms of offensive performances, but Cabrera hit .200/.333/.650 with two home runs, four walks, a double and a triple. He must have found that little something extra to show his old team that he is still worth something.

Starting pitcher of the week: Jeff Francis

Francis pitched more innings than any other starter this week and struck out more batters as well. He got touched up for a few runs in his first inning, but then cruised to a complete game.

Relief pitcher of the week: Louis Coleman

The bullpen continues to dominate the opposition and Louis Coleman was no exception. He threw 2.2 innings, struck out four and didn't allow a hit or a walk. He also earned a save in extra innings in New York. Not bad for a rookie.

On the farm:

Lorenzo Cain (CF) hit for the cycle and had a grand slam on Saturday for the Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA). He's now hitting .296/.377/.481 on the season.

Mike Moustakas (3B) hit two home runs last week and has a season line of .262/.340/.477 to go with seven home runs for the Storm Chasers.

Wil Myers (OF) re-aggravated his bruised left knee on Thursday and was held out for the rest of the weekend series for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).

Starting pitcher John Lamb had a really nice outing this week as he went six innings while giving up one earned run and striking out four for the Naturals.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks' Whit Merrifield (OF) has been on fire as of late. He's hitting .349/.391/.442 in his last ten games.

Stat of the week:

Last week, the Royals bullpen threw 14.1 innings last week and gave up only one earned run.

The week to come:

Things don't get much easier for the Royals as they start a long home stand. They play the Indians, Rangers and Cardinals this week without any off-days. They will need to continue their torrid pace at home to keep up with the division leading Indians and suddenly surging Detroit Tigers.

5/17-5/18 vs Cleveland Indians

5/19-5/20 vs Texas Rangers

5/21-5/23 vs St. Louis Cardinals

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Kansas City Royals week in review: 5/9/2011

The Kansas City Royals essentially held serve last week. They went 3-3 overall against two non-divisional opponents. They didn’t make up any ground in the American League Central race, however they didn’t lose any either as they remain 4.5 games behind division leading Cleveland. The story of the week was the promotion of top-prospect Eric Hosmer and the demotion of Kila Ka’aihue.

Standings:

1 Indians

2 Royals -4.5

3 Tigers -6.0

4 Twins -9.5

5 White Sox -10.0

Game 29: Orioles 5 @ Royals 6boxscore

Starting pitcher Jeff Francis struggled again, giving up 5 earned runs in 5.2 innings. Fortunately the bullpen did what they do and held the Orioles scoreless for the remainder of the game. Jeff Francoeur continued to hit the ball well as he hit a solo home run to tie the game in the sixth inning. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth to score the winning run.

Game 30: Orioles 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

Kyle Davies threw his third Quality Start in his last four games as he held the Orioles to three runs in 6.1 innings. It was the extent of the runs the Royals would give up, but it was one too many as the Royals could only plate two runs. One of those runs came on a Jeff Francoeur home run and the other on a Melky Cabrera ground out.

Game 31: Orioles 1 @ Royals 9boxscore

The Royals took hold of the game in the first inning by scoring four runs on Orioles starter Chris Tillman. They continued to pile on as they eventually scored nine runs. It was more than enough as starter Bruce Chen continued to pitch extremely well and gave up one earned run in seven innings. Melky Cabrera was the offensive star of the game by going three-for-four with a home run.

Game 32: Athletics 3 @ Royals 2boxscore

The Royals took an early lead on an Alex Gordon home run and an RBI triple by Mike Aviles. Starter Sean O’Sullivan went 8 innings and gave up 3 earned runs. It sounds like a recipe for a win, but on this day it wasn’t. The Royals couldn’t put more than the two runs across the board and dropped the first game in the series with the Athletics.

Game 33: Athletics 3 @ Royals 4boxscore

Royals starter Luke Hochevar put together his best start of the season by going 7 innings and giving up only on earned run. Reliever Aaron Crow finally showed he was human by giving up his first runs of the season when he surrendered a 3 run home run to Cliff Pennington in the eighth inning. The game was tied going into the bottom of the ninth and a now familiar set of events transpired. Butler single, Dyson pinch run, Francoeur single moves Dyson to third, and then a sac fly by Aviles wins it.

Game 44: Athletics 5 @ Royals 2boxscore

Jeff Francis hasn’t pitched well lately, and in this game he wasn’t great but he kept the Royals in the game. Again, the lack of offense was the undoing of the team on this day. Eric Hosmer had his first multi-hit game of his career by going 2-for-4 with a double. The team as a whole only had six hits as the team could only muster two runs

Position player of the week: Jeff Francoeur

Jeff Francoeur hit .273/.320/.591/ last week and collected two home runs. He also seemed to always be in the middle of whatever was going on offensively for the Royals. So far, the off-season acquisition has been a gigantic help to the team. Whether or not he can continue to hit well is the million dollar question.

Starting pitcher of the week: Luke Hochevar

It easily could have been Bruce Chen for this week as well, but Hochevar gave allowed only four base runners in his seven inning stint. Both pitchers are worthy of recognition this week and they will have to continue to pitch well if the Royals have thoughts of staying in contention.

Relief pitcher of the week: Joakim Soria

After some wobbles early in the season, it seems that closer Joakim Soria is back to his old self. He only pitched two innings last week, but he struck out four, walked none and allowed only one hit.

On the farm:

In his last ten games Lorenzo Cain (OF) has hit .395/.489/.553 for the Omaha Storm Chaser s (AAA). Mike Moustakas (3B) has 12 hits and 11 RBI in his last ten games for Omaha. He’s now hitting .250/.333/.420 on the season with five homeruns.

Danny Duffy (SP) has struck out 41 batters and walked only 7 in his six starts this season for Omaha. In his last ten games, Christian Colon (SS) has hit .333/.381/.385 with three stolen bases for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA)

Whit Merrifield (OF) is now hitting .311/.390/.406 with six stolen bases on the season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (A+).

Jake Odorizzi (SP) has walked only five guys in 26 innings while striking out 38 and posting a 2.42 ERA for Wilmington.

The young Cuban defector Noel Arguelles (SP) has 19 strikeouts and one walk in five games started for Wilmington.

Gerard Hall (SS) has hit .333/.400/.487 in his last ten games for the Kane County Cougars (A-).

Stat of the week:

The Royals lead all of baseball with 15 wins at home.

The week to come:

The Royals embark on a difficult road trip this week. They begin with a three game set in Yankee Stadium against the American League East leading Yankees. After that they visit divisional rival Detroit for three games. In order to keep in contention, the Royals will have to take some of their home success and replicate it on the road. It’s too early to say that this week is make-or-break, but it’s going to be extremely important nonetheless.

5/10 - 5/12 @ New York Yankees

5/13 - 5/15 @ Detroit Tigers

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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The Royals have promoted Eric Hosmer

The Royals stand at 17-14 and occupy second place in the American League Central. They’ve done that while having a first baseman getting on-base at a .295 clip. To try and fill that void, the Royals have promoted top prospect Eric Hosmer from Omaha and optioned Kila Ka’aihue. The big athletic first baseman has been annihilating triple-A pitching for the first month of the season as he’s currently hitting .439/.525/.582 in his first 98 at bats.

The timing of the move is certainly surprising. Kila Ka’ihue was struggling at the plate, but he hit well in his last few games. He’s only been to the plate 96 times this season, which is hardly enough to tell you anything about a player. I’ve been asked a lot lately what I think the Royals should do with Kila, and I’ve been a staunch proponent of giving him more time to prove himself. Lots of great Major Leaguers including some Hall-of-Famers have had terrible starts to their career. A month just isn’t enough to make a judgment. But then the same logic applies for Hosmer – he’s clearly not going to hit .439 for the entire year.

The interesting thing about the move is what it says about the organization and their philosophy. Nobody is surprised that Eric Hosmer is viewed as the future first baseman. What’s shocking is how little time they committed to Kila. Either the Royals have a much smaller sample of games that they think is necessary to evaluate a player or they just viewed him as filler until Hosmer was ready. Since they’ve given so much time to guys like Kyle Davies and Alex Gordon, the latter seems the most likely scenario.

I don’t believe the Royals were in any way hoping for Kila to fail, nor did they think he was destined to fail. Had Kila been successful in his short stint this season, I am certain that he would still be in Kansas City, regardless of how well Eric Hosmer was hitting.

The situation was compounded by the fact that the Royals are in striking distance of first place. My prediction was that the Royals would wait until the All-Star break to decide they were contenders, but in reality they acted much quicker. This move signals that the organization believes this year’s team can stay in contention.

While what’s going on at the top of the division is important, what’s happening at the bottom of the standings may be the deciding factor. Any great team or athlete knows that when their opponent is staggering, it’s time to step on their throat. The Royals might see the Twins, White Sox and even Tigers, as wobbly boxers and Eric Hosmer as the haymaker that can put them on the canvas.

Eric Hosmer is just 21 years old and has only played a month above the double-A level. He’s not going to be able to play the role of haymaker all by himself and luckily, the way the team is hitting right now, he won’t have to. He’ll face a lot of scrutiny and big expectations that come with playing at the highest level, but from everything I know about Hosmer, he’s ready for it.

Regarding the timing, the move was made late enough that this year won’t count as a full season towards Hosmer’s free agency. However, if he remains with the club for the remainder of the season he will likely be eligible for a 4th year of arbitration under the “super two” rule. Translation -- the Royals will likely be spending roughly $10m more dollars on Hosmer before he is a free agent. It signals an organization willing to part with money if they think it benefits the team.

Even though it’s a little early to promote Hosmer, I’m extremely excited for the promotion. I’ve said all along that he probably makes the team better as soon as he’s called up. As for Kila his next shot at the Big Leagues will likely come in another uniform.

In the end, I’m conflicted. Snap judgments on players after a month are something smart baseball teams shouldn’t make a habit of doing. However, it’s promising to see the team make a move they believe in, regardless of the financial implication. The Royals rightfully believe the young prospects of the future will help this team win pennants, and the future starts now.

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Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Royals 2011 Season Preview Part IV - The Prospects

If you’ve been following the Royals at all recently, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that they have a really good farm system. It’s ranked the top system overall by every publication that follows the Minor Leagues. Staring down the barrel of what looks likely to be another rough season at the Major League level, many will shift their focus to the Minors early in the season. I thought I’d put together a small preview of who to keep an eye on in 2011.

I just got back from Surprise where I spent about 20 minutes watching the Major League team and somewhere around 20-30 hours watching the Minor League guys. I’ve laid eyes upon these guys , so my analysis is my own and it's supplemented with things I’ve heard first-hand. I’m not repeating things that I’ve read at other places. I think it’s important to form first-hand opinions on these guys when possible.

Salvador Perez (C) – He’s the hot pick to be the breakout player of 2011. He’s a catcher who gets rave reviews on his defense but can also handle the bat. I saw him hit two balls with bit time power in Spring Training. He’s going to likely start the season at AA Northwest Arkansas and he’s only 20 years old.

Wil Myers (OF) – He converted from catcher this offseason because he’s got a fantastic bat, he wasn’t a great catcher and the Royals have Sal Perez. He has plate discipline beyond his years and can drive the pitch that he eventually selects. I saw him take four walks this spring, which is rare in those games. He’ll also start at AA Northwest Arkansas.

Eric Hosmer (1B) – In my mind, he’s the best prospect in the Royals system. He is a well above average defensive first baseman and he has big time power. I posted a video of his homerun this Sunday on YouTube. He can also hit for average and likes to go opposite field when he can. He’s one of the best prospects in all of baseball. He’s likely going to start the season at AAA Omaha, and could be in a Royals uniform this September.

Mike Moustakas (3B) – He’s not as tall and athletic as Eric Hosmer is, but he has amazing bat speed. He can and will put the bat on the ball nearly anywhere in the strike zone. There are questions about his ability to stay at third base, but for now he’s holding his own. He’ll start at AAA Omaha, but will likely be in a Royals uniform sometime in June.

John Lamb (LHP) – Mike Montgomery (LHP) –Chris Dwyer (LHP) – Danny Duffy (LHP) – These four elite left-handed starting rotation candidates usually get lumped together and I’ll do the same here. Lamb has great control. Montgomery has a power fastball with a good changeup but has some injury concerns. Dwyer might be the most polished and most underrated. Duffy might be the best of the bunch. Any organization in baseball would love to have one of these guys, the Royals have an embarrassment of riches in that they have all four of them.

Jason Adam (RHP) – He was drafted out of high school in Overland Park, KS by the Royals in 2010. He’s been impressing people ever since. He was the buzz around Royals Spring Training and it’s well deserved. I watched him throw 94-96 and toss a curveball that he could command for strikes. At 19, that’s amazing. He’s the player I’d watch closest this season.

Other names to watch: Christian Colon (SS), Jake Odorizzi (RHP), Lorenzo Cain (CF), Cheslor Cuthbert (3B) and Johnny Giavotella (2B).

If you’d like to get a chance to see some of these players in person, then head to Kauffman Stadium on Saturday, April 2nd. The Royals are playing the Angels at 12:10 and following that game the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA) will play the Omaha Stormchasers (AAA) in an exhibition game. I've also posted some more detailed scouting reports from my trip at Royals Authority.

This collection of Minor League talent is unprecedented in recent Royals history and they will begin making their way to the Major League team this season. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to see these players in person and add me to the list of believers. The future is coming and it starts now.

Nick Scott is a contributor to Royals Authority and is the host of the Broken Bat Single Royals podcast, you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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