I'd hoped to have had more than one update during the season, but the last month and a half have been crazy. By the time I checked back up on the B-Royals, there season had come to an ignominious end, as the team simply cancelled the final game of the season due to poor weather. Thus, the B-Royals finish 24-41, the worst record in the Appalachian League. Unlike the pitchers, who had some guys show promise (Kelvin Herrera, Sam Runion, Mike Lehmann, John Flanagan), “offensive” is a good description for the offense’s output, last in the league in nearly every category with a horrific line of .238/.300/.327/.627.
First, the guys who stuck it out the whole season:
C Miguel Moctezuma: “The Revenge,” this year’s 19th round pick from Central Oklahoma, hopefully had a good season behind the plate, for his skills at the plate redefined “Vortex of Suck.” Among regulars (31 games), his .158/.211/.218/.429 was easily the worst line on the team. His 31 Ks to 6 BBs did not help matters. Truly awful season in the lineup.
C Yenssi Reyes: Had 3rd catcher written all over him at the start of the season, seemed to live down to that billing. Appeared in only 16 games, hit.190/.261/.238/.499. Only Moctezuma’s horribleness made him look better.
1B Diego Cruz: Started the season as the starting 1B, wound up splitting time with David Wood when he got sent down from Wilmington. .267/.288/.333/.621 with a staggering 3 walks in 38 games.
3B Fernando Cruz: The highest-ceiling guy on the team (2007 6th rounder and still just 18 years old) had an unimpressive .237/ 260/.283/.543 with a little doubles power (no 3B or HR) and no plate discipline (43 Ks to the “Cruz” required 3 walks). Young and still possessing tools, but not yet showing any production, more short season ball may be in his future next year.
2B Angel Franco: The go-to guy in Burlington, NC, Franco appeared in a team-high 62 of the teams 65 games. Not bad for an allegedly all-glove middle infielder (he led the team with 11 errors—not too bad for the number of games played), he hit .257/.314/.321/.635 and led the team in walks (19) and stolen bases (14, CS 7—that percentage was also a team high for anyone with more than 2 attempts). I’d expect to see the 2006 Dominican free agent in Idaho Falls or Burlington, IA next year.
3B Jason Morales: 2008 24th rounder from UNC-Pembroke, Morales really underwhelmed in his role as backup infielder and DH. In 35 games, Morales hit a woeful .187/.279/.260/.539. He did have 13 walks, though.
RF Allen Caldwell: Showing that Mendoza Line who’s the boss, the 2008 12th round draft pick hit .201/.268/.327/.595 with 17 walks and 44 Ks in 54 games.
LF Julio Aparicio: Played 57 games as one of the primary outfielders for Burlington. He hit a pretty pedestrian .252/.307/.326/.632, but apparently still has some tools and upside.
Next, the guys who didn’t make it for opening day, but made it to Carolina just the same:
SS Yeldrys Molina: Molina finished his second year in Burlington (minus about two weeks to start the year in Idaho Falls) owning the team’s second best OPS in just 27 games, hitting .280/ .398/.439/.837. He had 16 walks to just 28 Ks to boot. Even though he was repeating a level, his numbers were just about the same for his 11 games for the Chukars. I can’t see a reason the Venezuelan doesn’t get to play a full season next year.
1B/LF David Wood: After purging the demons of his .156/.179/.188/.367 start in Wilmington, Wood, who was the ASL Player of the Year last year, went a respectable .289/.352/.409/.761 in Burlington for his first advanced rookie league season.
C Josh Vittek: A 2008 undrafted free agent, Vittek essentially was what David Wood was last year, an undrafted guy playing out of his mind. Replacing Salvador Perez, who was injured most of the year, as the other catcher, Vittek wound up going .297/.345/ .510/.855 with a team leading 8 HRs and 34 RsBI.
RF Warren McFadden: McFadden, another undrafted free agent, was an uninspiring .212/.305/.310/.614 (I have no idea how .305 + .310 = .614, but that’s what the official site says). Not a bad eye, he walked 13 times to just 24 Ks and was a perfect 2 for 2 in stolen bases.
Finally, the guys who have moved elsewhere on the food chain since starting the season in Burlington:
C Salvador Perez: An ankle injury limited him to just 13 games in Burlington, in which he posted a very nice .325/.404/.375/.779. He’s now finishing out the season in Idaho Falls.
IF Jorge Gutierrez: Another undrafted free agent, Guiterrez played in 38 games with a line of .233/.299/.250/.549. Apparently, thanks to the fact that Jason Smith had to rear his head in KC again, there is a shortage of underwhelming middle infielders in Omaha, as Gutierrez made is O-Royals debut tonight, making one unsuccessful at bat.
CF Hilton Richardson: As already documented elsewhere around here, Richardson rejoined the ASL Royals to start college classes. He pretty much went the distance in Burlington, playing in 54 games and hitting .229/.293/.327/.620. Last year, he had 66 Ks, this year, 61—I guess that’s progress. Essentially, a second disappointing season—here’s hoping the tools start to come around next year.
OF Carlo Testa: Played 7 games for Burlington before getting reassigned to Idaho Falls. His Burlington time was nothing special, but he’s been solid in the Pioneer League, going .305/.408/.468/.876.
SS Lifete Jose: After 11 nondescript games with Burlington to start the year, Lifete went back to Arizona for a second season, where he went .261/.343/.380/.723, an improvement across the board from 2007. Supposedly plays very good defense, he’ll hopefully actually maintain a move up the organization next year.
There was also some guy named Matt Olson who entered the Phillies organization in 2005 and played 4 unremarkable games in Burlington this year.
Well, better luck next year, B-Royals!