2006 Finish: 62-100, 5th place, 34 games back
Manager: Buddy Bell, start of 2nd complete season
I am not going to go into great detail with the Royals. Just when you think this team is beginning to get out of a rut and start building, they go out and give $55 million to Gil Meche. Why do you give that kind of money to a pitcher that will not help you not finish last? This team has way to many holes to give around a fourth of your payroll to one player. This team has some exciting young players, three I will preview below. Mark Teahan had a breakout year hitting .290/.357/.517. He will move from third to right to open up room for Alex Gordon. What in the world are they doing to Justin Huber? This guy can hit and all they do is bring him up to let him sit the bench. They have brought in some interesting minor league arms and hopefully things will start to look up for our friends from across the state.
Prospects: Alex Gordon-3B-The only player to ever win Baseball America’s College Player of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year. Has overtaken Delmon Young as the top minor league prospect in baseball. Second overall pick of the 2005 First Year Player Draft, all he has done is rake. In 2006 he hit .325/.427/.588 with 29 HRs and 101 RBIs at Double A Wichita. He doesn’t have fabulous speed, but he is a very good baserunner stealing 22 bases and only being caught 3 times. The third base job is his to lose.
Billy Butler-OF/DH-Even though his position is up in the air, there is no doubt about his hitting ability. MVP of the 2006 Futures Game as a 20 year old. Has hit .344/.417/.564 in 314 minor league games. Hit .331 with 15 HRs and 96 RBIs in Double A last year. He has the arm for right field but he has below average speed so he could end up at first or spend his career as a DH.
Luke Hochevar-RHP-The number 1 overall pick of the 2006 First Year Player Draft after failing to sign with the Dodgers the previous year. Has a four seamer with lots of movement that hits 95. Has a late breaking curveball that is a strikeout pitch and may be already major league ready. Looks like he will start the year at Double A.
Analysis: So years of poor play has gotten them 3 tremendous talents in their minor league system. The good news is they have the second overall pick in this year’s First Year Player Draft and will have the opportunity to draft LHP David Price of Vanderbilt or C Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech. This team is playing in the deepest division in baseball with four of the five teams in the AL Central with a chance of going to the World Series and this is not one of them. The good news is that should have a high draft pick in the 2008 draft.