Posts Tagged ‘Omaha Royals’

The Z-Meter: 5/20/2009

The Z-meter tracks the story arcs of 25 top prospects (or players we just like) on their way to the bigs. It is named after current Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman, who made the transition from anchoring the University of Virginia to starring in MLB in one year.

Promoted:

Jordan Zimmermann: Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) to Washington Nationals (MLB)
Matt LaPorta: Columbus Clippers (AAA) to Cleveland Indians (MLB)
Daniel Bard: Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) to Boston Red Sox (MLB)
Mat Gamel: Nashville Sounds (AAA) to Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

Madison Bumgarner: San Jose Giants (A) to Connecticut Defenders (AA)

No movement so far this week. But some players have turned around slow starts in a big way this week. Omaha Royals slugger Kila Ka’aihue busted his slump big-time, going 8 for 15 and pushing his OPS over 1.000. Mets prospect Fernando Martinez hit .400 over his last five games and scored seven times.

Josh Vitters, at the Cubs’ A affiliate in Peoria, probably had the best week of all. He started off with a ridiculous showing in a double header against Quad Cities – he hit .333 in the top half, then 1.000 in the second. He blasted a home run in each of four games at Beloit to follow up, cobbling together a nice little .647 average over a six-day span, along with 9 runs and 8 RBIs.

That’s hot.


The top level. These prospects are in AAA in the prime of their youth, waiting for the call that will change their lives.

Andrew McCutchen, CF – Indianapolis Indians (Pirates): .292 AVG – 32 R – 1 HR – 13 RBI – 14 BB – 9 SB – .479 SLG – .838 OPS

Wade Davis, RHP – Durham Bulls (Rays): 8 Games – 4W – 1L – 3.10 ERA – 21 BB – 28 K

Kila Kaaihue, 1B – Omaha Royals – .285 – 30 R – 7 HR – 23 RBI – 38 BB – 0 SB – .561 SLG – 1.006 OPS

Alcides Escobar, SS – Nashville Sounds (Brewers): .273 – 29 R – 2 HR – 12 RBI – 11 BB – 18 SB – .360 SLG – .684 OPS

Carlos Carrasco, RHP – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies): 8 Starts – 0 W – 5 L – 6.31 ERA – 11 BB – 44 K

Ramiro Pena, SS – Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees: .263 – 7 R – 0 HR – 4 RBI – 4 BB – 1 SB – .333 SLG – .645 OPS

Matt Wieters, C – Norfolk Tides (Orioles): .282 AVG – 22 R – 4 HR – 21 RBI – 17 BB – 0 SB – .479 SLG – .849 OPS

Fernando Martinez, CF – Buffalo Bisons (Mets): .287 AVG – 20 R – 7 HR – 23 RBI – 11 BB – 2 SB – .552 SLG – .892 OPS

Austin Jackson, OF – Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees): .344 – 20 R – 0 HR – 14 RBI – 17 BB – 8 SB – .430 SLG – .855 OPS


These guys also have the potential to skip straight to the majors, but may get promoted to AAA first.

Antonio Bastardo, LHP – Reading Phillies (Phillies): 9 Games – 5 Starts – 2 W – 2 L – 2 SV – 1.82 ERA – 7 BB – 39 K

Lars Anderson, 1B – Portland SeaDogs (Red Sox): .229 AVG – 17 R – 4 HR – 19 RBI – 17 BB – 0 SB – .382 SLG – .697 OPS

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP – Tulsa Drillers (Rockies): 8 Starts – 3 W – 4 L – 3.77 ERA – 16 BB – 36 K

Carlos Santana, C – Akron Aeros (Indians): .294 AVG – 24 R – 6 HR – 24 RBI – 25 BB – 0 SB – .539 SLG – .970 OPS

Justin Smoak, 1B – Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers): .338 AVG – 22 R – 6 HR – 24 RBI – 29 BB – 0 SB – .534 SLG – .994 OPS
Madison Bumgarner, LHP – Connecticut Defenders (Giants): 2 Start – 2 W – 0 L – .75 ERA – 3 BB – 11 K

These guys have vast potential but need to work out some kinks in A-ball before they can advance.

Ian Gac, 1B – Bakersfield Blaze (Rangers): .222 AVG – 8 R – 3 HR – 14 RBI – 8 BB – 0 SB – .378 SLG – .658 OPS

Mike Moustakas, SS – Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals): .288 AVG – 25 R – 7 HR – 30 RBI – 7 BB – 2 SB – .496 SLG – .816 OPS

Pedro Alvarez, 3B – Lynchburg Hillcats (Pirates): .224 AVG – 20 R – 8 HR – 33 RBI – 24 BB – 0 SB – .433 SLG – .766 OPS

Che-Hsuan Lin, OF – Salem Red Sox: .195 AVG – 18 R – 1 HR – 12 RBI – 16 BB – 5 SB – .265 SLG – .571 OPS

Josh Vitters, 3B – Peoria Chiefs (Cubs): .371 AVG – 23 R – 7 HR – 21 RBI – 3 BB – 2 SB – .598 SLG – .998 OPS

Shooter Hunt, RHP – Beloit Snappers (Twins): 7 Games – 5 Starts – 0 W – 1 L – 10.70 ERA – 33 BB – 18 K

Collin Cowgill, OF – Visalia Rawhide (Diamondbacks): .299 AVG – 31 R – 5 HR – 26 RBI – 18 BB – 5 SB – .507 SLG – .897 OPS

Mauricio Robles, P – West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers): 7 Starts – 3 W – 1 L – 2.63 ERA – 14 BB – 52 K

Tim Beckham, SS – Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays): .277 AVG – 15 R – 2 HR – 23 RBI – 8 BB – 1 SB – .400 SLG – .717 OPS

Ezekiel Spruill, RHP – Rome Braves (Braves): 7 Games – 6 Starts – 6 W – 0 L – 1 SV – 1.91 ERA – 7 BB – 35 K


NCAA: Only used if a prospect in college shows really, truly, immensely, hugely inescapable potential.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP – San Diego State: 12 Starts – 12W – 0L – 1.34 ERA – 18 BB – 174 K

Visit SDSU’s Strasburg Central for more.


Prospects chosen from Diamond Cutter’s Top 25, Baseball America, and our trademark irrational sense of whimsy.

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Never Been to Rosenblatt? Act Quickly.

rosenblatt_stadium_panoramic_view

I have a friend from my college days in Kansas named Dave. He and I have been friends for about 20 years, and the basis of our relationship has gone through many phases. In college, enormous gin and tonics served in 32-oz. Big Gulp cups were the start of our bond. Later, food ruled the day, as we experimented with various “food highs” brought on by the overconsumption of ribs, pizza, hot dogs, or whatever we could find lying around. More recently, we share stories about our kids and our more moderate habits are on display.

Throughout that entire time, there has been one enduring constant – baseball. One of our big dreams is to take a buddy trip to the College World Series in Omaha. We never did it while we lived in the midwest and it would have been easy, so now we will have to work a little harder, as Dave would have to come from Denver, and I would have to travel from Virginia.

rosenblatt_statueBut the dream is still there, and the timetable is a bit accelerated now. Seems the Omaha Royals are building a new downtown stadium (who isn’t?) and the mayor of Omaha isn’t willing to keep venerable Rosenblatt stadium around just for the Series. Which makes sense – keeping something that big around for an event that happens one month out of the year is not economically sensible. But many, many people will miss the friendly confines of Rosenblatt.

So if, like Dave and I, you’ve always dreamed of taking in the CWS in its original glory, make your travel plans right now. I’m sure the new place will be nice, but Rosenblatt was built in 1948 and has a ton of history behind it. This is one of those things you don’t want to regret having never done.

A Stadium Dilemma in Omaha

This is one of those deals where you can’t make everyone happy. Omaha, Nebraska is the legendary home of the College World Series. Creaky Rosenblatt Stadium has had numerous face-lifts, but the NCAA has been hinting that they’d like a more high-end home for one of their signature events. In order to hold off other municipalities that would enjoy the reported $40 million in enhanced economic activity that the Series generates, the city has proposed a swanky new $100 million park that seats 24,000. Old-timers grumble, but time marches on, eh?

Well, they’re not the only ones who aren’t crazy about the new plan. The Omaha Royals, the triple-A counterparts to the Kansas City club, don’t exactly love the idea of playing in an echo chamber all year long:

The team averages fewer than 5,000 fans a game and would prefer a 7,500- to 10,000-seat facility to capture the intimacy that these games thrive on. At Rosenblatt — which is already too big, with a capacity of 23,145 — empty chairs at Royals games far outnumber fans.

Alan Stein, who with a partner owns 50% of the team (investor Warren Buffett and fellow Omahan Walter Scott each owns 25%), said he would prefer a ballpark with amenities popular elsewhere. Zephyr Field in New Orleans features a pool and two hot tubs. The ballpark in Jacksonville, Fla., has a putting green. “Those things go in the outfield,” said Mr. Stein, who also owns teams in Kentucky and Michigan. But in Omaha’s plan, he added, “the new stadium has seats there.”

If he doesn’t like it, Mr. Stein could leave. He is negotiating with Omaha but said at least four other municipalities would build him a ballpark if he chooses to move.

[Wall Street Journal]

It seems fairly certain that some modern facility will be built. The city of Omaha can’t let nostalgia push the future out of Nebraska. So all that remains is the question of appeasing the Royals. Can the Royals swallow the notion of a ballpark in which they are (as usual) second-class citizens? Is there another municipality of equivalent size that can spirit them away?

My humble opinion is that the Royals should stay put. I can’t imagine they’ll find a better home than they have in Omaha. Perhaps they can come up with a revised seating plan that keeps the asses to seats ratio in good proportion, and we can keep this midwestern baseball heaven humming right along.