Ball Star

Andy McCullough blogs about the Royals and baseball

Royals mailbag: Starting a franchise with Salvador Perez? Help at backup catcher?

07/11/2014 9:24 AM

07/11/2014 10:41 AM

All the good cheer from a winning Royals road trip washed away after Thursday night’s thumping at the hands of the Tigers. The Royals face their division overlords three more times before the first half ends with the All-Star break.

Until then, you have questions. Here are some answers. Let’s get to this week’s edition of the mailbag.

I feel like Sam answers some form of this query every “Twitter Tuesday.”

The answer is clear. But it was a worthwhile exercise to rank the team’s top 10.

1. Salvador Perez

Pros: Already the best catcher in the American League. Flashes power. Improving as a game-caller. Deters opponents from running. Enjoys interviewing teammates on television.

Cons: His contract is so club-friendly, it may inspire feelings of guilt.

2. Alex Gordon.

Pros: Beloved by advanced metrics and scouts alike. Can hit for power, and carried lineup at start of surge in June. A three-time Gold Glover in left field, and in line for his fourth. Runs the bases well.

Cons: Turned 30 in February. Goes through streaks. May decimate local broccoli population.

3. Alcides Escobar.

Pros: A good defender having the best offensive season of his career. Merited more serious All-Star consideration, at least based on FanGraphs’ version of WAR. An incredibly efficient, effective base stealer.

Cons: He’s less than a year removed from being the worst everyday hitter in baseball.

4. Yordano Ventura.

Pros: He has been wonderful in his first full season. Looked dominant on some nights. Even his rocky outings are still encouraging. He is 23.

Cons: Pitchers break.

5. James Shields.

Pros: The most accomplished player on the roster. Has thrown at least 200 innings every season since 2007, and averaged 223 innings per campaign. Has never been on the disabled list. Acknowledged clubhouse leader.

Cons: Turns 33 after this season. Suffered through rough patch these past two months. Unclear if he’ll age like Cliff Lee (meaning well) or like Roy Halladay (meaning less so).

6. Eric Hosmer.

Pros: Hit .323/.374/.479 during the final three months of 2013.

Cons: Hit .246/.288/.631 during the first three months of 2014.

7. Lorenzo Cain.

Pros: As a fielder, display both range and acrobatics. Useful runner. Emerging as a hitter. Plays an up-the-middle position with aplomb. Unafraid to sing in public.

Cons: Injury-prone. Lacks proven track record as a hitter in the majors. Addicted to Clash of Clans. Horrific singing voice.

8. Danny Duffy.

Pros: Throws 95 mph from the left side with a developing slurve. Enjoys competition. Team-oriented. Appears to know all the words to “Dilemma” by Nelly and Kelly Rowland.

Cons: Pitchers break, and he already has once. Hangs a photograph of Kobe Bryant in his locker, and may be devastated by Bryant’s eventual retirement.

9. Greg Holland.

Pros: 97-mph fastball, despicable slider, likewise splitter. May be the best closer in the American League.

Cons: One-inning reliever with accelerating salary.

10. Wade Davis.

Pros: 97-mph fastball, hard cutter, nasty knuckle curve. Can start, too, I suppose.

Cons: One-inning reliever with accelerating salary.

Ever? Good grief.

Perez’s home run doesn’t even meet your criteria for the events based around the left-field foul pole at Tropicana Field. Evan Longoria would like a word.

Also: The concept of momentum flushed away when the Tigers shellacked Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals bullpen on Thursday. But, of course, you already knew that.

A couple points:

1. Buck makes some sense, especially given his ties to the organization. But I was told recently the organization does not view upgrading at backup as a priority right now. The coaching staff “loves” Brett Hayes, I was told. So there is that.

2. Pierzynski didn’t exactly leave Boston in a blaze of glory. You can read more here.

I asked Dayton Moore about the other options after Chen.

“You don’t even think past it,” Moore said. “Because Bruce is the choice.”

There you have it. The hope is Vargas will only miss one start.

Not particularly. Justin Maxwell accepted his assignment and returned there on Thursday. Carlos Peguero has shown some power, but he was batting .250 heading into Thursday’s games.

Assistant general manager J.J. Picollo did offer some unprompted praise for Lane Adams this week. Adams was hitting .262/.346/.438 through 84 games in Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He impressed the big-league staff with his athleticism during the first few weeks of spring training.

“He runs the ball down in the outfield,” Picollo said. “He can run the bases. He can steal a base. He can throw. Is he going to play every day, and hit right now? Probably not.

“But could he go up there as a fourth outfielder for a month? Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s no question he could.”

The good: He has made 15 starts for Class A Wilmington. He leads the Blue Rocks’ rotation with 11.7 strikeouts per nine. He is still 22.

The bad: He’s been hittable, and had the usual troubles adjusting to professional hitters. This isn’t even “bad,” really. A year like this is quite typical, even for college prospects.

#Yes.

I’m covering the game in Minneapolis. Thank you for asking.

I feel like Omar Infante and I would get along pretty well.

“How’s it going, Omar?” I would say to him each morning, as I walked toward the beach to start a day of reading in the shade of a palm tree.

“What’s up, papa,” he would reply as he walked into the island’s training room to heat up his shoulder and back.

Pretty good vacation.

These guys REALLY want me to come to their softball games. I don’t know what to do.

Sigh. As a reporter, I feel obligated to listen to this record again before rendering my opinion. As a human being, I cannot sacrifice 75 minutes of my life listening to this thing again. Put it this way: When David Bowie appeared in the groove sequence of opening, titular track, I just wanted to listen to “Station to Station.” So I did. I don’t regret it.

Arcade Fire belongs in a strange subcategory: “Critically Acclaimed Bands Which Just Bore Me.” Others on that list include Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem and Parquet Courts. I would much rather listen to The Hotelier or Aaron West.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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