And that means, it's time to look longingly to the minors for hope. (Royals fans would be absolute suckers for Obama and his message, don't ya think?)
I'm looking at 3 Omaha guys today:
Maier: 341/376/512 129 ABs 9 BBs 17 Ks. He's too old now to be considered a prospect, but he looks like he could easily be a contributing 4th OF - especially on a team like the Royals. Unfortunately, he bats left handed, just like 75% of the current OFs. His numbers are aided by a BABIP of 371, which is unsustainable. Another negative is the low walk rate - but the K rate is actually decent. He is a good defensive player, and could play all 3 positions, so in my mind, he makes including Gathright in a trade a viable option.
Aviles: 335/367/608 209 ABs 10 BB 23Ks. He's also too old now to be considered a prospect, but don't we owe it to ourselves to look at him as a potential utility man? On the negative side, that walk total is low, but the K rate is low as well, the BABIP is only a bit high at 348, and the power is off the charts for a middle infielder. Sure, it may be a career year, but shouldn't we find out how much would translate to the bigs? I know he lacks the range for SS, but supposedly would be OK as backup at both 2B and 3B. Why not let him play 3B against lefties, moving Gordon to 1B or on the occasional day off Gordon needs? The skinny is he has always been an "overachiever" type - you know, the kind of player that keeps stinging the Royals in every series we play.
Lubanski: 258/333/461 128 ABs 15 BBs 37 Ks. Despite being seemingly written off by the organization, this guy is still making (albeit slow) progress at every level. After a horrific start at Omaha, he has his numbers up to the point where we should take him serious again. (Remember his penchant for starting slow at every stop, and then improving - isn't that what you're looking for in a big leaguer?) On the positive side, the walk rate is not bad at all. Isolated Power looks acceptable as well. Negatives are the K rate, and the batting avg. His BABIP is probably sustainable at 325. If you ask me, if he can continue to improve on these stats, it makes trading either DDJ or Teahen viable. Unfortunately, he is yet another lefthanded bat (an apparent prerequisite for being an OF in the Royals minor league system)