Cactus League Game 17 - Open Thread

Eric Hosmer plays today as well as Team USA takes on Canada. - Christian Petersen

The boys are back for another.....who are we kidding? Back for another win.

After blasting the Giants yesterday, the Royals now turn their attention to the Angels. Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen continue to piggyback their way through the competition for the number five starter spot. The lineup for the juggernauts:

Alex Gordon LF

Alcides Escobar SS

Billy Butler DH

Mike Moustakas 3B

Jeff Francoeur RF

Lorenzo Cain CF

Max Ramirez 1B

George Kottaras C

Chris Getz 2B

Word is scouts, SCOUTS mind you, will be in attendance to watch both Hochevar and Chen in anticipation of the Royals looking to move some of their pitching depth. Of course, with Wade Davis currently on the shelf with a sore arm, club officials are not sure they can afford to move anyone.

For some other notes, here's a comparison - no a listing - of the top eight starters for each American League Central combatant. Pick you favorite stat or group of stats; and draw your conclusions (can you tell my Royals v. the AL Central comparison series has failed to hold my interest?). There are a lot of different ways to analyze starting pitchers and as long as you are not using won-loss records, I can see the logic in most of them. By the way, the bulk of these lists are straight from the depth charts on the MLB club sites, with some liberties/guesses taken as you get down to the 7th and 8th guys.


Chicago Cleveland Detroit Kansas City Minnesota
Starter #1

Chris Sale

LH - 24 yrs

Justin Masterson

RH - 28 yrs

Justin Verlander

RH - 30 yrs

James Shields

RH - 31 yrs

Scott Diamond

LH - 27 yrs

Starter #2

Jake Peavy

RH - 32 yrs

Ubaldo Jimenez

RH - 29 yrs

Doug Fister

RH - 29 yrs

Jeremy Guthrie

RH - 34 yrs

Kevin Correia

RH - 33 yrs

Starter #3

John Danks

LH - 28 yrs

Brett Myers

RH - 32 yrs

Anibal Sanchez

RH - 29 yrs

Ervin Santana

RH - 30 yrs

Vance Worley

RH - 25 yrs

Starter #4

Gavin Floyd

RH - 30 yrs

Zach McAllister

RH - 25 yrs

Max Scherzer

RH - 29 yrs

Wade Davis

RH - 27 yrs

Liam Hendriks

RH - 24 yrs

Starter #5

Jose Quintana

LH - 24 yrs

Carlos Carrasco

RH - 26 yrs

Rick Porcello

RH - 24 yrs

Luke Hochevar

RH - 29 yrs

Mike Pelfrey

RH - 25 yrs

Starter #6

Hector Santiago

LH - 25 yrs

Trevor Bauer

RH - 22 yrs

Drew Smyly

LH - 24 yrs

Bruce Chen

LH - 36 yrs

Cole De Vries

RH - 28 yrs

Starter #7

Dylan Axelrod

RH - 28 yrs

Corey Kluber

RH - 27 yrs

Casey Crosby

LH - 24 yrs

Luis Mendoza

RH - 29 yrs

Brian Duensing

LH - 30 yrs

Starter #8

Simon Castro

RH - 25 yrs

David Huff

LH - 28 yrs

Kyle Lobstein

LH - 24 yrs

Will Smith

LH - 24 yrs

Kyle Gibson

RH - 25 yrs

Did you know the Royals had the oldest starting rotation in the division? Did you know the Tigers are way better than everyone else? Actually, you likely did or at least should have.

Now, the plus side for the Royals is that a timely and effective mid-season return by Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino could really energize the rotation. Among the long list of things that need to go right for the Royals to truly contend this year would be having one or both of those guys come back strong by early July AND have to struggle to find a place to put them. It's kind of fun to think about, especially if you are wearing your rose colored glasses and drinking substantially.

Speaking of starters, Yordano Ventura not only pitched three hitless innings yesterday, but also drew raves....from the home plate umpire. According to Bob Dutton, umpire Ron Kulpa called Ventura 'some kind of nasty.' That compliment and a cup of coffee gets you a cup of coffee, but it's fun and encouraging to hear. Yordano topped out at 99 mph yesterday and worked consistently in the 95-96 mph range.

Big days were common for KC yesterday, but perhaps the most noteworthy after Ventura was Louis Coleman. After being a staple in the 2011 pen, Coleman has become something of a longshot to even make the team this spring, but sent down Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Belt in order in his only inning of work.

You want a darkhorse to make the Opening Day roster? This name won't be a surprise to many around here, but lefty reliever Donnie Joseph is scheduled to pitch on both Tuesday and Thursday this coming week after being tagged for his first run of the spring on Saturday. He is pitching on the same schedule as Greg Holland (an obvious lock) and J.C. Gutierrez (who many believe has the inside track to make the squad). Not every reliever is getting such a steady diet of work.

Party on....

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