1 Total Update since June 9, 2011
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Three months ago, Mike Moustakas was called “the top prospect in the top minor league system in baseball.” That’s the sort of talk that gets absolutely everyone excited about the possibilities for the Kansas City Royals third baseman — national and local fans, front office personnel and certainly the manager, coaches and teammates. The only issue here is that Moustakas’ potential has a context, and the context isn’t ready.
Let me say this from the outset, however: this isn’t a horrific or frightening move bound to stymie Moustakas long-term process and nullify any chance the Royals to win in future seasons. That would be ridiculous. Moustakas will hit his 30 home runs from the power corner, become entrenched in the hearts of Royals’ fans and make good on most of the praise and potential lavished on him these last couple of minor league seasons.
But everything has its timing, or as Thom Yorke sings, “Everything in its right place.” Acquiring or drafting the right players is one thing; utilizing them is another thing entirely. The ascension of Mike Moustakas at age 22 is a bit of a head-scratcher in that it pulls up the best power prospect at the wrong time — on both Moustakas’ personal timeline and the major league club’s as well.
Moustakas has yet to play a full-season in AAA Omaha, with only 107 games played total. In roughly the same amount of at-bats last year, his strikeout rate has almost doubled and his slugging percentage has dropped 66 points (.564 to .498). In other words, it’s not as if AAA wasn’t challenging him anymore like you could have said of Eric Hosmer just one month ago.
On the major league level, Wilson Betemit is unseated in the process. If he’s going to be trade bait, why remove a chip from playing in the field before you move him — thus lowering his value in the process? Even if he’s moved to second base, it’s not his steady position and you mess with your infield defense. If nothing else, give Moustakas one more full month in the minors to work on a couple areas of weakness, and give the front office another month to work the phones to find a second baseman for Betemit, Melky Cabrera or other trade chips.
It’s clear that Moustakas was getting hot in the minors, however, so perhaps it’s worth bringing him up ASAP just to secure the line-up a bit more — one that has had issues scoring runs. I just think it wise to be cautious with the young products in house given how many top prospects have flamed out because of improper handling along the way.
almost 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Well the Royals defeated the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday afternoon, behind Luke Hochevar's good start (finally), but the biggest news of the day is the Royals have purchased the contract of Mike Moustakas from AAA Omaha and optioned Mike Aviles to the Stormchasers.
Starting with the game today, Kansas City received a seven inning performance from Hochevar who gave up two runs on eight hits in improving to 4-6, obtaining his first win since May 1st.
The Royals got things going in the bottom of the third inning, as the bottom third of the order came through when Matt Treanor led off the inning being hit by a Ricky Romero pitch, before Alcides Escobar singled. After two outs, Eric Hosmer singled to score Escobar two give the Royals a 1-0 lead. They added two more runs when Jeff Francoeur singled to drive in Melky Cabrera and Hosmer.
Toronto answered with two in top of the fourth when J.P. Arencibia tripled to score two.
Aaron Crow pitched the eighth and Joakim Soria entered to pitch the ninth, his first chance at a save since being reinstated as the closer. Soria was able to get the save, but not before Royals fans suffered another "not again" moment as the Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs. The save was the eighth of the season for Soria, as Kansas City won 3-2.
The full boxscore for Thursday can be seen here.
Kansas City closes the homestand with a series win over the Angels and a split with Toronto. Toronto sits at 32-31, while Kansas City improved to 27-36 as the team embarks on a nine game roadtrip.
By far the biggest new is the call up of third basemen Mike Moustakas. The 9th rated prospect by Baseball America, was batting .287/.347/.498 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI this season.
At 22 years old, Moustakas has put up career numbers of .282/.337/.503 in 439 minor league games that included 84 home runs and 335 RBI. Last season he tied Angels first basemen Mark Trumbo for the minor league lead with 36 home runs in split time between AA Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.
Clearly the timing is an oddity, that unlike Hosmer, "Moose" as he is called will be making his debut on the road, but for the Moustakas family it will certainly be a special moment tomorrow evening in Anaheim where the Royals will be facing the Angels. Moustakas is a Chatsworth, California native and he is very familiar with the Angels ballpark.
The Royals are clearly hoping that the most recent call-up will provide a spark to the rest of the team. The offense has been in a lull recently, as has the starting pitching staff for the majority of the year. All Hosmer has done since he has been called up is hit, and Kansas City is hoping for much the same from the young right-handed bat. While the team is still out of the race, this is now a shot of adrenaline for the ball club.
Moustakas will be the every day third basemen that is certain, much like Hosmer has been the guy patrolling first day in and day out. Chris Getz now is likely the everyday second basemen (most Royals fans say ugh), while Wilson Betemit likely will see decreased playing time. Betemit did start at second base twice last season, but has only done so 18 times in his career. His defense is a liability compared to Getz.
The events could spell a trade fast approaching for Betemit as he is hitting a solid .290/.350/.409, but make no mistake this move was all about Moustakas and allowing him to cut his teeth at the big league level and prepare the team to challenge in 2012, if the Royals can figure out their starting pitching.
Look for more coverage to continue in the upcoming days, as "Moose Watch" officially begins at the major league level tomorrow evening as the Royals head to Anaheim where Jeff Francis (2-6 4.52 ERA) will face Ervin Santana (3-5 4.30). Gametime is 9:05 CST.