Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Minor League Verdict.

“[Eric Hosmer] is just a small part of why the Royals have the best minor-league system in the game.”

- Kevin Goldstein, July 5th.

As closely as I have followed the minor league system this year, and as magical as this season has been for Royals prospects, I never really thought that the Royals had the best farm system in the game. Top five, certainly, maybe top three. But the Rays have Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings just waiting for a chance, and a bunch of high-profile arms behind them. The Rangers always seem to be loaded with prospects. The Braves are a player-development machine. The Red Sox are probably the most aggressive team in baseball in the draft, and it shows. Surely some team out there has a better, deeper system.

“You'd never know it by the big league club, but no organization is having a better year in the minor leagues than the Kansas City Royals.”

- J.J. Cooper, Baseball America Prospects Blog, July 19th.

I mean sure, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer would both be candidates for Minor League Comeback Player of the Year if there was such a thing. And Mike Montgomery might have been the best left-handed pitcher in the minors before he went on the DL – and that crown might now be worn by John Lamb. But really – the #1 farm system in baseball?

“Ben (Leland Grove): Better overall farm system - Braves or Royals?

Jim Callis: Royals. I haven't sat down and tried to compare all the systems to each other, but the Royals might be No. 1.”

- Baseball America Chat, July 21st.

I mean, going into the season the Royals looked like they had a nice collection of talent, but there wasn’t even a consensus that they had an above-average farm system. Keith Law ranked the Royals’ farm system #9 overall, and Kevin Goldstein ranked them #10, but Baseball America ranked the Royals #16 out of 30 teams.

“Ben (Leland Grove): If you had to pick one team's farm system as the most impressive overall at present, who would it be and why?

Matthew Eddy: I'm really coming around on the Royals. I liked Moustakas, Hosmer, Myers and Lamb perhaps more than most coming into the year, and they certainly have done nothing to extinguish that flame this year. The Braves and Phillies would also have to be in the discussion, but what separates the Royals is the two elite hitters at the upper levels.”

- Baseball America Chat, July 23rd.

Certainly, I appreciated the success of the guys mentioned above, and breakout seasons for Chris Dwyer and Derrick Robinson, and a bounceback season from Kila Ka’aihue, and the addition of Christian Colon, and the solid progression of a dozen other guys. I thought that it all added up to one of the best farm systems in baseball. But to say that the Royals, who going into the 2008 season had one of the 10 worst farm systems in baseball, have the best collection of minor league talent in baseball? I may be a fan, but I’m not a fanboy. Only a Royals’ fan with blinders on would say such a thing. Only Ben from Leland Grove would even dare to ask the question.

Or…maybe some of the most respected minor league experts in the country would all independently agree that the Royals’ farm system is in a class of its own.

As I write this, the Royals have just lost three consecutive games by the score of 12-6, 19-1, and 11-2. The 19-1 loss ties the record for the biggest blowout in franchise history. The 42 runs and 53 hits allowed are both the most the Royals have ever surrendered in a three-game span. And I hardly care.

I’m more interested to see what happened in Wilmington last night, where Danny Duffy continued to pitch like he never left, striking out 7 in 5 innings. Eric Hosmer’s clutch go-ahead three-run homer in the 8th last night is as exciting as any home run the Royals might hit. I’m more concerned about when Moustakas will start hitting in Omaha than whether Yuniesky Betancourt ever will in Kansas City. Ka’aihue’s 22nd and 23rd homers of the season the last two nights mean more to me than whether Jason Kendall will ever hit his first.

Being a Royals fan, for as long as I can remember, has always been more about substituting the dreams of the future for the reality of the present. And for nearly 20 years we’ve been fed the same line, that the Royals are 2 or 3 years away from contention, but that Johnny Damon and Michael Tucker/Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles/Runelvys Hernandez and Jeremy Affeldt/Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are going to lead the Royals back to the playoffs. And I’ll admit, after 20 years it’s easy to think that they’re just crying wolf again. We’ve been lied to before.

After the 1994 season, the Royals were named Baseball America’s Organization of the Year. After the season, in the Bill James Player Ratings Book 1995, Bill James himself wrote, “As a Royals fan, I am more excited about this organization now than I have been in a decade.” What James did not know – what none of us knew – was that the Royals, who had been bobbing in a pool of mediocrity since they won the World Series a decade before, were about to drown.

So it’s easy to be cynical regarding all the growing hype about the system. It’s easy to be distrustful about whether Dayton Moore and the front office is really capable of molding a contending team after all these years. But I’ve decided to jump on board the bandwagon anyway. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, guys. And this time, it really does feel different.

The Royals have had potential stars in their farm system in the past. Baseball America has all their Top 100 Prospects lists going back to 1990 archived online, and using that data, here are the years when the Royals had more than one prospect among the Top 40.

1993: Johnny Damon (#22), Jim Pittsley (#32), Michael Tucker (#40).

1994: Jeff Granger (#19), Michael Tucker (#25), Johnny Damon (#31).

1995: Johnny Damon (#9), Michael Tucker (#32), Jim Pittsley (#39).

1999: Carlos Beltran (#14), Carlos Febles (#30).

2000: Dee Brown (#11), Chris George (#40).

2006: Alex Gordon (#13), Billy Butler (#29).

2007: Alex Gordon (#2), Billy Butler (#25), Luke Hochevar (#32).

2009: Mike Moustakas (#13), Eric Hosmer (#24).

2010: Mike Montgomery (#39), Aaron Crow (#40).

From that list, you can see how the farm system crested a little following the Royals’ fantastic 1992 draft, from which they got Damon, Pittsley, and Tucker with their first three picks. You can see how they got a little bump again at the turn of the millennium, and then went into another drought until recent years. And you can also see how, with the exceptions of Damon, Beltran, and Butler, not one other player on the list really lived up to expectations.

But at this moment, the Royals don’t have 2 or 3 of the top 40 prospects in baseball. They have, by general consensus, 5 of them.

Baseball America recently did their mid-season Top 25 prospect rankings, and Moustakas, Hosmer, and Montgomery (sore arm and all) made the list. In a chat session later, John Manuel acknowledged that Wil Myers was #26, and John Lamb was listed as an honorable mention. In his own list of the top 10 prospects left in the minors, Kevin Goldstein listed only Moustakas, but had Hosmer, Montgomery, Myers, and Lamb all listed from #11 to #20.

And it’s important to note that none of those guys are listed simply because they were drafted very high last season, as someone like Jeff Granger was above. All five guys have earned their place based on their performance as a pro, not on their pedigree.

It’s not just that the Royals have roughly twice as many Grade A prospects as they’ve had in the last 20 years. It’s that behind those guys are something like a dozen Grade B prospects. Those prospects run the gamut from the disappointing (Aaron Crow) to the brand-new (Christian Colon) to the guy who’s been ready for the major leagues for two years (Kila Ka’aihue) to the breakout toolsy guy (Derrick Robinson) to the live arm that’s starting to figure things out (Tyler Sample). The Royals’ farm system isn’t just loaded at the top. It’s loaded, period.

So one last time, I feel it’s necessary to once again make the case that Dayton Moore, for all his mistakes, has not received nearly enough credit for what he has done with the farm system. He was hired with a mandate to focus on one thing – build a player development machine in Kansas City – and he has done so in the span of about three drafts.

Moore took over as GM right after the 2006 draft. Going into the 2007 season, the Royals had three premium prospects – Butler, Gordon, and Hochevar. Butler was a very nice mid-first-round find in a weak draft, but the other two had just been taken #2 and #1 overall in the previous two drafts, which is to say it didn’t take a whole lot of scouting acumen to identify their talents.

You know who was the #4 prospect in the system according to Baseball America? Chris Lubanski. Tyler Lumsden – who Moore acquired for Mike MacDougal, then later traded for Jordan Parraz – was #5. Mitch Maier was #6, and Brian Bannister – who Moore acquired for Ambiorix Burgos – was #7. Joakim Soria, just plucked in the Rule 5 draft, was #13. The only other players in the Top 30 worth mentioning are Billy Buckner (#9) – and only because he would be traded straight-up for Alberto Callaspo – Jeff Bianchi (#11), Blake Wood (#14), Carlos Rosa (#19), and Derrick Robinson (#21). After the top three, the farm system was incredibly weak, and would have been even weaker had Moore not already made a series of savvy trades.

Three years later, the Royals have the best farm system in baseball. When Moore was hired, I compared him (with my usual optimism) to Dave Dombrowski, who had engineered one of the most impressive turnarounds in baseball history in Detroit, taking a team from 43-119 to the AL pennant in three years. Moore hasn’t done anything of the sort at the major-league level, but in the minors, the Royals’ turnaround is nearly as impressive.

And I want to ask a question, and I hope it’s a rhetorical question: Can you really call Dayton Moore the worst GM in baseball, or even one of the worst GMs in baseball, when he’s built the #1 farm system in the game in three years?

One of the core principles of baseball analysis is that talent beats preparation. A team that gets on base and hits for power is going to beat a team that moves the runner over and executes the suicide squeeze well. In a sense, baseball analysis exists to remind teams not to sweat the details too much. Yes, it’s important to run the bases well and make productive outs and all that. But when teams get too focused on the details, they run the risk of thinking that effort and fundamentals can somehow substitute for having good players. They can’t.

By the same token, though, I think that when you evaluate Dayton Moore’s tenure with the Royals, there’s a risk of sweating the details too much and missing the big picture. There’s a lot of small stuff that looks terrible, to be certain. Trading for Yuniesky Betancourt; signing Jason Kendall and letting John Buck go; spending millions on Juan Cruz and Horacio Ramirez and Willie Bloomquist; falling in love with Roman Colon.

And there are certainly some not-so-small stuff to be upset about. Trading Leo Nunez for Mike Jacobs was a dumb move from the moment it was made. Giving Jose Guillen 3 years and $36 million was a pure panic move from a GM that should have known better.

The worst move of the Dayton Moore era, as I’ve written before, is that the Royals callously and inexplicably allowed Gil Meche’s shoulder to blow out, a decision that we were reminded of once again yesterday when we learned that Meche would have to undergo exploratory surgery. Actually, we all learned that months ago – it just took until now for the Royals to learn it.

But let me turn this around a little and ask: in the four years that Moore has been the GM of the Royals, who is the best player that he’s given away? As best as I can tell, your choices are between Leo Nunez and J.P. Howell – a pair of fine relievers, but they’re just that, relievers. (You could also argue for John Buck, even though he had just one season left before free agency.) In Texas, Jon Daniels once gave up Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka, which is a trade 10 times worse than any that Moore has made. In San Francisco, Brian Sabean made perhaps the worst trade of the last decade when he gave up Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser, and Francisco Liriano for A.J. Pierzynski – who was so odious in San Francisco that he was released after one season.

Both Daniels and Sabean have pretty good job security at the moment, and they should – because the Rangers are in first place, and the Giants hold the lead on the wild card. Even good GMs (and I’m not saying Sabean is a good GM) make bad decisions, but one or two bad decisions will not cripple a franchise.

What will cripple a franchise is having a farm system that doesn’t produce good ballplayers for the better part of two decades. That is why the Royals are where they are, not because Moore made a dumb trade for Mike Jacobs.

Here’s the big picture: Dayton Moore was hired because of his track record in player development. He was hired with a mandate to use that track record to build a perennial contender in Kansas City in the only way possible: by building a farm system that would produce cheap major league talent year after year. From his first draft, Moore made it clear he was taking the long-term approach, favoring high school players over college guys. In his first two drafts, the Royals had 15 picks in the first 7 rounds, and used 13 of those picks on high school players.

The long-term road has a few speed bumps along the way, and this time last year it looked like the Royals erred greatly in selecting Moustakas and Hosmer. Today, it’s hard to fault the Royals for either pick. In fact, if you look at every pick the Royals have made in the first five rounds since 2007, there are only three picks that the Royals might want back: their second and fourth-rounders in 2007 (Sam Runion and Mitch Hodge), and possibly their first-round pick of Aaron Crow last year. (And the jury is still out on that one.)

I’m not arguing that Moore is one of the top five, or even the top ten, GMs in the game today. But I think that the coverage of his moves has become a caricature of itself. When David DeJesus ran into a wall and tore up his thumb last week, the blogosphere and Twitter was alight with people mocking Moore for not trading DeJesus when he had the chance – as if Moore should have known that DeJesus was about to suffer a traumatic injury. Meanwhile, when Ben Sheets went on the DL with a sore elbow a few days later (and an elbow injury to Sheets is a hell of a lot more predictable than what happened to David), there wasn’t a peep about how Billy Beane screwed up.

This weekend, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Royals and Mets were having trade discussions, and the names that were thrown out included Gil Meche, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jose Guillen from the Royals – and Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, and Jeff Francoeur from the Mets. It was the perfect trade vortex of suck, and it gave a lot of people an opportunity to once again have fun ripping on Moore as one of the worst GMs in the game.

Never mind that the rumors almost certainly came from the Mets, who had incentive to make it sound like the Royals had more interest than they did. Never mind that the Royals need Luis Castillo like a fish needs a bicycle. And never mind that the Royals privately laughed at the rumors. It’s so easy to connect Moore with Francoeur – hey, I’ve done it – that no one stopped to think that Francoeur was the best player the Royals would acquire.

I’m not trying to be a Moore apologist, although I will certainly be accused of such. I’m trying to be a Moore realist. Warts and all, but not all warts. Moore might find a way to screw this up, in which case I’ll be at the front of the line demanding that he be fired. But right now, I think he’s earned the opportunity to see this rebuild through. The house hasn’t been built yet, but the foundation is something to behold.

Look for my list of the Top 25 prospects in the system tonight or tomorrow.

49 comments:

Jacko said...

Great post Rany. Dayton has been taken to the woodshed for no reason at all. He's turning us around faster than a record. Everybody wants to hate on Guillen, but nobody produces like him on offense. Nobody else has even smashed double digit HR's like him. And it isn't Moore's fault that Hillman tore up Meche's shoulder. Let's give the guy a chance.

http://jackosroyalsblog.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Great post on the farm system Rany. There is much hope. As for the majors, why do I get the feeling that the Royals, if potential for a bench-clearing confrontation ever came up, would have NO ONE even leave the bench? Where's the fighting spirit?

Walter Fulbright said...

I think my biggest disagreement is giving him credit primarily for having a lot of money to spend.

A bad general manager gets nothing for something. A good general manager can spin straw into gold (Allard Baird was underrated in this regard, a couple of key trades that were probably forced notwithstanding).

Getting something on par with your investment makes you average, which is probably where Dayton Moore is right now in regards to minor league development. And the Major League decisions are still so haphazard and foolish that it still can't help but push him down into the bottom third.

"Not as bad as you think" isn't going to be good enough for the payroll he'll have to work with.

MoreHRsAndLesNorman said...

Rany,

Better rotation TODAY: Greinke, Banny, Davies, Chen, O'Sully --or-- Montgomery, Lamb, Duffy, Dwyer, Crow ???

Can you compare our AA rotation to other great minor league rotations? Has to be the best in baseball today. I would like to see some silly comparisons!

Anonymous said...

Rany- explain why Bryan Bullington got called up today over Holland, Hardy, and Coleman. Standard Dayton Moore. Always goes with the vet, even if the vet sucks. What makes you think any of these guys are ever gonna get a chance? Look at Kila. And today's move is just another example of Daytons ineptitude.

Dayton has built a good farm. Call me when having a good farm gets you a championship banner. His decisions at the major league level are so poor it's not going to matter.

Anonymous said...

Pythag of 97 losses in year FOUR! Seriously, why the fuck does this guy get a free pass for the abortion at the Major league level?

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Rany. Sometimes it can be really hard to not get sucked into the day to day doldrums of the major league club. But you make a good point, following the minor league affiliates since Dayton Moore has taken over has been a breath of fresh air. I think one of the key things you wrote in this post is that "Moore has built a farm system to supply the Royals year after year with cheap talent" That really does look to the be the case, and if so the Royals will start to reap dividends from it, hopefully soon.


Jeff

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous-

Blaine Hardy might have a gripe about not getting called up, but not Coleman. Coleman has pitched WELL, but he still has more to prove at AAA.

And do you really want guys of the future to come pitch for this TRAIN WRECK of a team right now? I'd prefer to let Bullington come up and get knocked around rather than somebody I see as an important piece of of our future bullpen.

If I had to guess Hardy and Coleman will both pitch about 5-6 innings in September. There's no rush.

Jeff

Nathan said...

Outstanding post. I agree with it entirely, except that we would probably also rather have drafted Tim Lincecum than Luke Hochevar. :)

Jacko said...

Nice one Anonymous. Not. You're being a silly goose. You can't just have a good farm system. You have to have good veterans too to show a ballclub how to win. Otherwise they just don't know how to win. It's a fact Jack. That's why you'll always have the need for guys like Kendall or Guillen to smash homeruns and show the kids how to be big leaguers.

Anonymous said...

Jacko- how are those veterans helping the 2010 Royals? How are they doing this year? How has Kendall molded a pitching staff ranking 13th in the AL? Bloomquist sure is helping right? Please..... Argue all you want but the win loss record is all the argument I need.

Anonymous said...

Dayton Moore, so bad...he's good?

Chief said...

Saw the Naturals in Tulsa last night. Despite an abysmal end to the game we have some solid reasons to hope. Hosmer is the real deal. Smooth stroke and easy power.

Daniel Wesley said...

@Anonymouse: We're about to lose 100 games in year four of DM's tenure because THE ORGANIZATION HAS BEEN BONE DRY SINCE 1995. I don't think most Royals fans realize just how AWFUL or system has been since the days of John Schuerholz. I mean run absolutely into the ground... it's going to take some time to get things turned around.

Daniel Wesley said...

Oops... make that 'anonymous' and 'our'. Stupid typos.

Jim said...

Even if ALL the can't miss position prospects pan out, which we know won't happen (see Gordon, Alex) - AND they actually let all the guys play, there will still be holes that need to be filled by trade or through FA signings. Moore has shown a blatant inability to properly value players at the major league level. There is no reason to expect this to change in the future just because they potentially have better players to build around.

I also think you have to question how well the players will develop in such an environment that does not properly encourage and reward the things that truly drive value, even simple concepts like on-base percentage.

I'm very willing to credit Moore with building a great farm system. He has done a fantastic job there. I just don't want to see him around to ruin it at the major league level.

Jacko said...

I don't think so MacGruber. How are the vets helping this year? Ummm I don't know. How about leading the league in hitting? How about Guillen leads the team in smashing HR. No one else even is in double digits. Kendall is a calming veteran presence. I'd prefer to have kept Olivo because he was a complete bada** who would smash an opponent and smashed HR's too. But Kendall is a solid veteran. Just think of where they'd be without him. Farnsy is a dominant reliever. Bloomquist helps out all over the ballpark. Betimit has been a godsend. Chen almost had a perfect game when he's not loafing it. Plus he solidified the rotation. Podsednik has been one of our best players and most teams would love to have him lead off. But, I'm sure you would rather us bring up guys that have proven they can't hit in the bigs like Gordon and Kila. Gordon strikes out all the time and everyone knows he's a cancer to the clubhouse. Is it a coincidence we've stunk since he was recalled? No. Everyone would rather be anywhere else. Kila is no more than the next Kit Pellow. Just send him back to Japan already. When DMGM's new boys all come up, we just need to supplement them with quality guys like Scotty Podsy and Farnsy and Guillen to round out the team. Then we'll be sitting awfully pretty.

Paul said...

Be gentle on these rankings everyone. Moose tore up AA, but is really struggling in Omaha.
Hosmer was pretty bad last year, but good this year. If the years were reversed, you wouldn't feel so great would you?
Monty (to my knowledge) hasn't pitched in 2 months. Am I the only one concerned?
Hochevar was supposed to miss 1 or 2 starts, but hasn't pitched in 3 months. Anyone else alarmed?
Crow isn't tearing it up.
Billy has not power.
Kila doens't even get a shot.

I would say we are gonna be pretty terrible in 2011 (worse than this year)
And you better pray that ALL of these studs turn into STUDS (which won't happen) because DM has shown NO ABILITY TO JUDGE MAJOR LEAGUE TALENT!
Yuni, Kendall, Jacobs, Ankiel, Guillen, etc etc

Chris said...

Jacko

Please read the following:

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/07/19/diary-of-a-losing-team-batting-champs/

You have some minor evidence for your Guillen love, but Kendall is worthless and I can't see any reason that you would like him. What exactly has he given the Royals? We are inexplicably batting him 2nd in the lineup (my only Yost gripe) when he can barely hit anything to the outfield and he's on pace to start more games than any catcher since the 70s.

You can talk all you want about all the intangible nonsense, but at some point you would think we'd see a difference on the field. As it stands, he is a bellow average hitter and our pitching staff is ranked 13th in the AL.

Please also explain how Alex Gordon is responsible for Greinke imploding the other day?

George said...

I'd say the worst trade was Jeff Keppinger for Haltiwanger. Keppinger would have been a great, cheap guy on the 25 man roster and he was given away for someone who wasn't even an organizational arm. Completely inexplicable.

Jacko said...

Unfortunately, he just doesn't understand Royals baseball very well. He seems to think it's a bad thing to lead the league in batting average. I'd agree that we need to smash some homers, but he's being a silly goose here. He's the same guy that wants us to trade away Jose Guillen who is the only guy on our team that is smashing any HR's baby. Say what you want about his demeanor, but he's just trying to get the best out of the club and is nailing some HR's in the process. And you want him gone? I don't think so MacGruber.

Oh and Alex probably made 4 errors in the game and Zack knew that noone else would play hard as long as Alex was in the lineup so he didn't even try. I don't blame him. He may have been one of the worst hitters we've ever produced and some people want to see more of him just because he's playing a new position. I won't even call him a silly goose. He's just a bad goose.

Anonymous said...

Jacko- how have the vets influenced the win loss record for the Royals this year. Enough talk about presence and stability and outdated stats: what is the teams winning percentage?

D. Sanford said...

Excellent post, Rany.

Anonymous said...

What gives me fear of growing old with second division losing records. Alex Gordon........sure thing.

Anonymous said...

Rany think about this: honestly do you really think Dayton is just going to start making good decisions at the Major league level? Just because the farm is good doesn't mean we just stop signing free agents. Every team has to. Do you really think Dayton Moore can all the sudden get smart at that? Ridiculous.

What's the definition of insanity again?

I can't wait for Ranys next flip flop. What a spineless coward you are.

RoyalPug said...

Rany you ask simply if we can call Moore the worst GM in Baseball when he has improved the minors so much.

The answer is yes.

The reason has nothing to do with the players.

The fact is that we would have expected drastic improvement from the Royals farm system from nothing more than the high draft picks the Royals have gotten.

You cannot judge Moore on the prospects we've drafted. Everyone knows the draft is quite a bit of a crapshoot. While celebrating Dayton's "Aquisition" of Moose and Hoz and Myers and Monty can we ignore the failings of Crow,(maybe) Hochevar, Runion, and Taylor? Can we brag about '08 4th rounder Sample without pointing out '07 4th rounder Nielsen is practically invisible?

What Moore has done is spend money. Something any GM could do. Should we really credit him for being smart enough to realize that the guys who are asking alot who fall several rounds are good players?

I will credit Moore when he starts to bring talent in through trades, not just the draft.

As far as I can tell he is the worst GM at Major league acquisitions, the worst at giving out contracts, Below average with trades, and okay at drafting.

Does that make him the worst GM? Maybe not. But it puts him damn close.

Subrata Sircar said...

The general point - that Moore has stocked the farm with talent - is certainly true. However, his job is to produce a winning major-league baseball team. Acquiring talent is the most important part of that job, but there are two other parts (at least):
* Organization support for that talent (player development)
* Major-league support for the team (staff and player acquisition)

The Royals have clearly improved their scouting and have funneled talent in. It is not at all clear to me that the organizational support to turn prodigal talent into impact players exists (otherwise they'd have more luck with "fixing" Alex Gordon, etc.).

If they can manage to turn Crow around, that would speak to this point. A good organization would be able to answer questions like "Has he changed his mechanics? are his old mechanics not holding up? was his stuff just not as good as we thought? is he tipping pitches? is he hurt?", and have the support needed to try solutions as needed (e.g. send him to ASMI, sit with the pitching coaches for high-speed video evaluation, complete MRI on elbows and shoulders, etc.).

The final piece is to deploy the right management and training staff, and have a good organizational picture of what the big club needs (e.g. can we take on payroll? what do we want if someone becomes available? what do we need and should be seeking out?). That last part has been a disaster. It might be looking up depending on how you feel about Yost and company.

Fish enough players out of the top 0.1% bin (as all these guys are, even the failures) and you'll eventually find talent, especially when you get high draft picks. It's turning that talent into players who can win games that's the real trick.

Michael said...

The Royals have been getting high draft picks for 20 years guys. No other GM before Dayton has had the same track record as he has with those picks. Jeff Austin, anyone? How about Colt Griffin? Chris Lubanski?

And you complain that all he has done is spend money in the draft. Well, Allard Baird couldn't get David Glass to do that. Dayton did. That has to count for something, right?

When Dayton started out on this job, he knew (and we should have too) that it wasn't going to be fixed overnight. This was going to take a few years, building up first from the minor leagues and then eventually get those kids to the majors.

Look at Minnesota. They NEVER bring in any high quality free agents. They ALWAYS bring up home grown talent, players that they either drafted or traded for as prospects (which Dayton has done a decent job of doing). And yet they are perennial winners. That is the mold that we are trying to get our organization into, and that's the correct action we should be taking.

The Minnesota "Process" started in 1994. They didn't start winning till 2000. Dayton Moore's "Process" started in 2006 (midseason). Give it another couple years, and we should be in the same category as Minnesota is now.

Anonymous said...

The dude is the bomb. He is so much fun to read.

Carl said...

It seems like there is a happy medium to be found amid all these comments.

Moore deserves praise for our minor league system, even taking the amount of money he had to spend into account. It's true that the money is a difference maker, but probably between six and ten teams spend as much in the draft, and aren't getting the kind of results that the Royals are in the minors.

And Moore deserve eternal damnation for what he has done to the major league roster. He ruined a perfectly good 2008 bullpen for Jacobs and Crisp, thinks Yuni has value, brought in Guillen...

These are two undeniable trends: competent drafting, and incompetent major league trading. As good as Moore is at evaluating talent, he has no idea how to evaluate value.

This means that when the current wave of talent hits the bigs, we can expect marginal improvement... and that's it. Some of our prospects will pan out, and we'll have a much better base around which to build. But even the Twins need to bring in free agents like Orlando Hudson, Carl Pavano and others to complete their major league roster. Dayton Moore has shown no ability to do such a thing, unless you count the first two years of Gil Meche.

2013 prediction, assuming no major roster blowups: 84-78. A good core means a lot, but it probably won't get you to the playoffs. Unless you're the Rays. And we're not the Rays.

Anonymous said...

Jacko=duche. Seriously, Joe F-ing Posnanski "doesn't know Royals baseball". You do realize he is a KC writer that works for SI. And is widely considered one of the greatest sports writers around. You're a moron

Fast Eddie said...

Breaking News: Dodgers acquire Scott Podsednik for 2 minor leaguers. I wonder if they'll be in the top 25 minor leaguers?

Anonymous said...

Royals acquire catcher Lucas May and RHP Elisaul Pimentel from the Dodgers for Scott Podsednik. May was USA Baseball catcher last year.

Anonymous said...

I like the optimism but the proof is in the pudding. Solid farm system, I get it. But unless we see KK get a good long look THIS season and Ned gets an extension (like yesterday!) Dayton is still suspect. I think Dayton deserves another 2 years at the minimum, but skepticism is due by the product he’s put on the field in Kansas City during his tenure.

Anonymous said...

"That is why the Royals are where they are, not because Moore made a dumb trade for Mike Jacobs." -Rany

The problem with the Jacobs move is that: (1) It was absurdly dumb. Virtually everyone outside of the Royals organization thought it was a stupid move, and (2) it showed a continued preference for veterans. Perhaps it was the right move considering Kila may not have been ready and has now made himself an uber-patient baseball-murdering machine--but I am concerned because THAT is not why DM kept him down. He just seems to trust a veteran. The only way this team will win is by using the giant young talent with minimal vet presence. Signing Kendall to a 2-year deal last year? Maybe with this trade, he is finally getting it.

But I doubt it.

ps - I enjoyed the image of Gloria Steinem analyzing the Royals.

Michael said...

This whole notion of "Dayton trusts veterans over rookies" is absurd. He trusts the guys who can play. In his estimation, Kila doesn't have what it takes to be a big league regular. He thought Jacobs did, found out he was wrong, and he was let go.

But there are a few young guys who have flourished at the big league level under Dayton Moore. Billy Butler, Joakim Soria (who was closing games his ROOKIE year), and Mike Aviles, for examples. Some others have not faired so well, like Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier.

Dayton is showing these young kids that you have to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are ready for the big leagues before you get your shot now. The Allard Baird days of being rushed to the Majors because you put together a couple good months in AA are over.

Bradley said...

Ummm, most minor league systems would be great too if teams kept half of our major league talent in the minors. If Mr. Moore keeps leaving legitimate players in the minors for an extra two years or so, then he will consistently have one of the top systems in the league.

Of course, the major league squad won't ever make it to .500, but you can't have everything.

Anonymous said...

Let's say that Moore does the decent thing and trades or torpedos Guillen and Betancourt by Spring Training next year (with Podsednik and Callaspo now gone). How amusing would it be if the Opening lineup were to be: May, Moustakas, Colon, Aviles, Butler (Kile at DH), Gordon, DeJesus, and Hosmer. Now that would be a team to root for, pitching staff notwithstanding.

Mr. Blogger II said...

Rany, love the contrast between GMDM and Beane. Two things stick out in my mind about GMDM. First,his work with the major league roster has been dealing from a position of weakness. I don't think anyone can judge how he will trade and sign FA's when he only has a few gaps to fill based upon what he has done up to this point, any more than you can judge his handling of the minors by it. When he has a team players might actually want to come to and players that have some trade value he won't have to overpay and reach for the Guillen's of the world and he won't have to trade trash for trash (see, Betancourt, Yunie). Second, I have said since the day Baird was fired that the Royals need a GREAT GM. His first trade told me that GMDM probably wasn't that guy and nothing he has done since has swayed me from that position. Hopefully I will be proven wrong.

I remember when Sal Fasano, Joe Vitello and Larry Sutton were winning minor league MVP's and my hopes for the future were bright. I won't be convinced that this time is different until I see these guys perform at high levels at AAA. As for the pitchers, we all know that some will be taken out by injury and attrition. Lets just hope not all.

For me a big test of GMDM will be how he handles the outfield going forward. He has several guys who may be average-ish major league outfielders: Lough, Parraz, Tim Smith, Orlando, Dyson, Robinson, etc. What we don't have is anyone who appears to be above average. It will be telling to see if Myers and/or Hosmer are switched or if he trades some of that pitching for a superstar-in-wait outfielder.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm a big Moore fan and appreciate some dap thrown his way.

Anonymous said...

Rany you Jew hating mongloid mouth breathing sack of shit. You fucking promised us an article on top prospects. The fuck is it? You probably skewering BA right now to come up with some blurbs as we know your Osama Bin Laden loving ass don't know shit about the minor leagues. Stick with your accutane, pimpleman.

You deserve a kick in the nuts you Benedict Arnold fat ass terrorist looking mother fucker.

Terry said...

Wow, well after that rant from the 6th grader snickering behind the keyboard, I will offer something of real value. The following is a snipet from a KS Star article that came out this morning.

"
Moore indicated the club expects to clear playing time for Omaha first baseman Kila Ka'aihue in the near future. That points to heightened efforts to trade outfielder/designated hitter José Guillen prior to Saturday’s nonwaiver deadline.

“It’s important to get Kila on our club and create opportunities,” Moore said. “I’m not saying it going to happen (today), but we expect it to happen very shortly.”

Good news for those of the majority of us that have been calling for this for a very, very long time.

Fast Eddie said...

It's not good news until it happens....

Anonymous said...

How does Daddy Daytons dick taste, Rany?

Charles said...

Rany,
I don't know why you allow anaon to keep commenting... His comments keep getting worse.

Anonymous said...

So many like to hammer on DM, like what he is doing is so easy everyone on the street knows more then he does. It's so easy to be critical, but the point of the article is that the farm system has been stocked to the point that it is one of the best. DM deserves credit for that. Now nobody including DM claims that the job is done, so lets not judge the final product until these prospects reach the Major Leagues and have a chance to suceed or fail. It's apparent to me that DM has been treading water with the Major League team until he can start stocking it with talent from the minors. Sure, he's taken a risk along the way when he felt there could be a chance for success, and has not been rewarded to a large degree when he has (Jacobs). But on the major league level not many want to play here, so we have to overpay to get even those that will consider it. When trading DM doesn't want to give up prime Minor talent because he's stocking the system, so we get people like a Mike Jacobs. The point is, it's easy to find fault with others, but this was a tough job, and while DM hasn't been perfect, he has something to hang his hat on and that is the Minors. He can build from there and he is well on his way to turning this thing around. Some day soon those of you that are critical will have something new to be critical about, and that is when will we ever get over the hump of just winning our division and start winning World Series. I can't wait to hear those complaints.

Michael said...

And then douche bag anonymous commenter will still be asking how Dayton's dick tastes. His cries for attention are absurd. Maybe his mother didn't hug him enough as a child, I don't know...

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