My (Complete) Midseason Grades

To steal from a common sportswriter and SBnation theme (and not to steal from the readership of the fine editors doing something similar, I mean clearly there's no intent), here are my grades for the 2013 Royals so far.



Catchers All_star_game_baseball-07a1a_medium


Salvador Perez: .284/.314/.396, 4 HR, 16 2B, 2 3B (!!!), 38 RBI, 11 BB, 38 SO Salvador, to me, was the crown jewel of the prospects that debuted in 2011. His defense provides unbelievable value, in terms of the runners he's caught stealing (33%) and the ability to block and frame pitches. He is a top 5 catcher in the game, even though his hitting is not up to the standards he set in his first two seasons. My grade: A-

George Kottaras: .179/.352/.446, 4 HR, 3 2B, 15 BB, 26 SO Kottaras is the new Greek God of Walks. Billy Beane simply wanted an upgrade at the C position, bringing in John Jaso who walks a lot but is a major defensive upgrade on Kottaras. This is Dayton's seemingly first adventure into this type of player, and I suspect Dayton still does not appreciate what Kottaras can do. That said, his defense is pretty bad, and teams run at will without Salvy in the game. My grade: B

Infielders 940x_medium


Eric Hosmer: .285/.332/.427, 9 HR, 18 2B, 2 3B, 40 RBI, 25 BB, 51 SO After Hosmer spent much of April in 2012 form, but with more patience (.250/.337/.306), he began to make more solid contact, often the other way. In June, 2011 Eric Hosmer returned, hitting .303/.347/.541. July has seen that production continue, hitting .327/.345/.509. He has hit 8 of his 9 homers since June 1. Hopefully this continues, but as a total body of work in 2013, he's merely been an above average hitter (108 OPS+), and at 1B, you need to do more. His defense has noticeably improved as well, with less flamboyant pick attempts resulting in more actual picks of errant throws. My grade: B/B+

Billy Butler: .271/.371/.402, 8HR, 18 2B, 49 RBI, 50 BB, 61 SO Much has been made of Billy's lack of power this year, but he has shown a recent uptick in homers and doubles. He was in the top 5 in the AL in walks as recently as three weeks ago, but has seen those totals slip of late, taking him off the pace of becoming the first Royal to walk 100 times, maybe ever. Billy has always been somewhat streaky with the power numbers, often putting together months worth of homer production into a couple of series. As long as the sun rises in the east, Billy will hit. A 113 OPS+ would be his lowest since 2008, but he's still a feared hitter. No panic needed. My grade: B

Chris Getz: .214/.276/.286, 1 HR, 5 2B, 1 3B, 12 BB, 18 SO He is in Omaha now. He was terrible, and it appeared the HR went to his head. He hit more fly balls than usual, and they just don't go anywhere. Pitchers began using the tactic I long advocated when facing Getz, down the middle, belt high, let him hit it in the air. His defense was better than usual this year, but still wildly overrated by those with opinions that matter. My grade: F

Miguel Tejada: .278/.307/.371, 2 HR, 3 2B, 12 RBI, 3 BB, 19 SO Miguel has been a pleasant surprise, but his uptick in playing time since Getz's demotion has seen his production steadily drop. His defense has been somewhat better than Betancourt-level, though at times he takes the Dorn approach to fielding hard-hit grounders, giving the old Ole. For two weeks in May, he was the only Royal to homer (yes, that happened). I don't necessarily value leadership, in this case, for a guy who relentlessly lied about his age, got huge money for it, and was heavily involved with known dopers Giambi and Palmeiro. But apparently, those are the qualities the Royals wanted. My grade: B

Elliot Johnson: .210/.248/.283, 2 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, 12 SB, 0 CS, 7 BB, 40 SO I like Elliot Johnson, he's just not very good. He's a classic utility player, plays all positions, and actually better than you'd think, with a SS arm. He's played brilliantly defensively at 2b. Against Tampa Bay, he's 2005 Albert Pujols, maybe better. Against everyone else, he's a switch-hitting Tony Pena Jr. My grade: C-

Johnny Giavotella: .206/.289/.265, 0 HR, 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 SO, 38 PA Johnny just recently got called up, and he's still not receiving the everyday treatment we were promised. However, he hasn't exactly motivated Ned to give him that either, looking very overmatched for much of his time here. After 3 hits in his debut, he went hitless for a week. His defense is markedly improved, from the small sample size we've seen. He still just needs to play. Grade: D+/Incomplete

Alcides Escobar: .246/.277/.328, 3 HR, 14 2B, 3 3B, 32 RBI, 14 BB, 47 SO Alcides is a guy who is starting to feel the heat, and it's not all his fault. While he has been genuinely terrible this season at the plate, he is still an outstanding shortstop. Ned Yost continues to bat him second, squeezing as many outs into the front end of our order as possible. Oh yeah, he bunts in early innings too much too. Alcides needs to rebound quickly or the scrutiny will add up here, which is not good for a guy who is signed here affordably long-term. My grade: C

Mike Moustakas: .215/.271/.327, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 13 2B, 19 BB, 39 SO Moose is hurting right now. Though he has hit better since June 1, his numbers are truly killing this team. Unfortunately, for 6 weeks, it appeared to be affecting his defense as well. More revealing is that Moose is apparently in need of some sports psychologists, given his all-time worst hitting with RISP (.061), which would seem to indicate some regression to the mean is due. Otherwise, clutch actually is a thing, and Moose is the least clutch guy in the history of the game. Something has got to give with Moustakas. My grade: F

Outfielders 940x_medium


Alex Gordon: .283/.355/.417, 9 HR, 16 2B, 2 3B, 49 RBI, 37 BB, 85 SO, 5 SB A1 is having another Gold Glove caliber year in LF and is proving that he is one of the best all-around outfielders in the game. He made his first All-Star team, though he was more deserving in at least 2011, probably 2012 too. He is a constant, the guy that makes things go for this team. My grade: A-

Lorenzo Cain: .259/.320/.374, 4 HR, 17 2B, 2 3B, 36 RBI, 10 SB, 4 CS, 24 BB, 68 SO Lo-Cain has been pretty inconsistent this year. Ned has protected him with numerous off days to rest his legs, but the benefits haven't really shown up at the plate, with a very high SO%. The power shows itself intermittently with Lo-Cain, like the time he resuscitated the season with the home run off of Valverde to tie a rubber match game with division leading Detroit (probably the best game this season). His defense has been spectacular most of the season, but sometimes he has hiccups running in on balls. My grade: B

Jarrod Dyson: .247/310/.455, 2 HR, 6 2B, 2 3B, 12 SB, 2 CS, 7 BB, 13 SO, 85 PA Jarrod has improved in nearly every aspect of his game. His SLG has spiked to a point where it nearly leads the team. His SO%, a huge problem in his past, is improved. An injury derailed him right as he was ready to end Francouer's career once and for all. He now enjoys a platoon with Cain and Lough. He still struggles to field ground balls off the grass in the outfield, but otherwise profiles as an elite defender. This may be the peak of Jarrod Dyson's baseball career, as he has moved slightly beyond being a coveted toy. My grade: B

Jeff Francouer: .208/.249/.322, 3 HR, 8 2B, 2 3B, 13 RBI, 8 BB, 49 SO He now is playing for San Francisco. He was possibly the worst player in the AL this season (Moose has given this a challenge) before being released, which makes me wonder how awesome his agent must be to get another team to sign him for anything more than a bag of baseballs. Enough has been made of the Frenchman on this site; there's nothing new to add. My grade: F

David Lough: .294/.310/.447, 3 HR, 11 2B, 3 3B, 16 RBI, 2 SB, 3 BB, 25 SO Lough appears to be the clearest Dayton Moore type prospect to emerge yet. With no plate discipline yet fascinating athleticism and hustle. He is capable of astounding plays in the outfield and Damon-esque throwing gaffes. He is a poor-man's David Dejesus, but really is just getting started, with a small sample size. He has a 106 OPS+, so his production has been a noticeable improvement from the previous alternatives... He's easy to root for, but keep in mind he hasn't really hit that adjustment phase yet. Only 3 BB in 174 PA is alarming, no matter the other production. My grade: B+

Starting Pitchers 121212231857-shields-davis-single-image-cut_display_image_medium


James Shields: 4-6, 134.2 IP, 116 SO, 125 H, 40 BB, 3.21 ERA, 1.225 WHIP Juego has struggled with run support this season, but what struggles he has gotten there are equalized by the benefits his defense has given him. His K/BB ratio (2.9) this season would be the worst since his rookie season in 2006. Generally, however, he is still a top tier starter in the AL. He has had growing problems controlling his fastball, and has allowed a run in the first inning in almost 90% of his starts this year. His ERA has climbed each month this season, and sits at 4.67 for July. It is not yet panic time or anything for James, but his peak value is now if we are to move him. Waiting too long could lead to an expensive and ineffective final season for Shields in KC. If we're out of it, and really, we are, Juego has "got to go." My grade: B+

Ervin "Magic" Santana: 5-6, 123.0 IP, 98 SO, 110 H, 27 BB, 3.37 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 16 HRA Santana is having the bounce back season we were hoping for when we traded Brandon Sisk (who had TJ surgery promptly). He has controlled his home runs this season for the most part, and his ERA is higher than his body of work should show, given his 8 R outing in New York last week. He is a prime trade target, if we are selling (why do we have to say if?). He is a FA after this year, but he has been worth the price and some so far in 2013. My grade: A

Jeremy Guthrie: 8-7, 120.2 IP, 58 SO, 124 H, 43 BB, 4.25 ERA, 1.384 WHIP, 22 HRA Guthrie has had a roller coaster season. He struggled early, then caught fire through late May. He has struggled since then. Something I've noticed is his slider usage. The pitch has seemed to flatten out when he is not pitching well, leading him to abandon it. Without it, he really does not have a swing-and-miss pitch. His defense has helped him maybe more than any pitcher in the AL this season, and, like Bruce Chen, that last year on his contract is looking sketchy awfully early in his deal. My grade: C

Wade Davis: 4-8, 94.2 IP, 87 SO, 125 H, 41 BB, 5.89 ERA, 1.754 WHIP, 13 HRA Davis has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this year, and it starts and ends with the hits he allows. Opposing hitters are hitting .321/.387/.479 against him, better than any hitter we have. 125 hits in only 94 innings. His cutter has at times been dominant, but even when he is on, he tends to be very inefficient. A trip back to the bullpen seems to be in his future, but will Dayton essentially admit failure on the TRADE so soon, with Davis being such a key piece? We know the answer. My grade: F

Luis Mendoza: 2-5, 81.1 IP, 52 SO, 87 H, 36 BB, 4.87 ERA, 1.512 WHIP Mendoza had a hot stretch in late May and early June, but his implosion was as spectacular as it was predictable, given his winter league and WBC innings load for Mexico. The Royals even hinted that they expected him to tire so soon, which is maddening given they have to have some kind of influence over his off-season pitching decisions. The man with the best hair in baseball (BHIB) had his sinker fail him often in June, and he lost his job. My grade: D

Bruce Chen: 3-0, 39.2 IP (6.0 as starter), 28 SO, 37 H, 14 BB, 2.04 ERA, 1.286 WHIP C'mon Chen! His first and only start of the season was a resounding success, allowing only 1 hit in 6 shutout innings of work against Cleveland last Friday. Of course, no decision and a loss. His usage in the bullpen was puzzling at best, often brought in when the team needed a strikeout or a groundball (he's on the extreme end of fly ball pitchers), not the typical "long man" role Chen was more suited for. Additionally, he was tried a couple times in a LOOGY situation, which is senseless given his career splits. His season ERA is fantastic, but inherited runners scored at an alarming rate against him, as of June 27 (I believe his last relief outing), 11 of the 12 runners he inherited scored. His success as a reliever was modest at best. My grade: B-

Relief Pitchers



Greg Holland: 22/24 SV/OPP, 2-1, 35 IP, 1.80 ERA, 60 SO (!!!), 21 H, 11 BB Holland has had a phenomenal season so far, but as his April can attest, relief pitchers are pretty fickle. He struggled with walks a lot early in the season, but since May 1, he has been the best reliever in the game. He has struck out a historically great 45% of the batters he has faced, while using his fastball more as a weapon than just as a get-ahead pitch. Hopefully he stays healthy and a Royal for some time (though trading closers can be a lucrative business, almost like blood diamonds for those who get a kick out of exploitation). My grade: A

Aaron Crow: 6-3, 29.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 26 SO, 32 H, 11 BB Crow has had his worst season as a major-leaguer this year. He is not missing bats as he used to, as his slider has lost a lot of its consistency, to the point where lately he is using his curveball more. He has lost his 8th inning role three times by my count, but continues to be foisted into those situations. His ERA is deceptive much the same as Chen's. He is a useful player, just not as much right now. BTW, 9 freaking decisions!!!! My grade: C

Tim Collins: 2-5, 33.1 IP, 41 appearances, 4.86 ERA, 31 SO, 30 H, 20 BB Collins' issues are many this season. He was used nearly every day in June, leading to the period of ineffectiveness in which he currently resides. He has walked more than 5 per 9 innings this season, while still getting used in very high leverage situations. When he is on, he is still phenomenal. But that is occurring with less frequency right now. Relievers are fickle, and Collins is having the worst year of his career so far. My grade: D

Kelvin Herrera: 3-5, 2 S, 27.2 IP, 5.20 ERA, 33 SO, 25 H, 15 BB, 8 HRA Herrera entered the year as the presumptive set-up man and closer-in-waiting. He actually was kind of the closer during Holland's early season struggles. But walks and the long ball have doomed Herrera this season as they never have in his professional career. The Royals say he was tipping his pitches, which is believable. His confidence is probably shaken, too. But his stuff is too filthy to fail the way it is epically failing this season. He is in Omaha currently, with some open discussion of rejoining the team soon. He has to be running out of options, the way he's abused I-29 this season. My grade: F

Luke Hochevar: 2-1, 34.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 36 SO, 21 H, 10 BB, 4 HRA While Hochevar has been much better this year, how much better is certainly up for debate. He has only allowed 5 of the 16 runners he inherited to score, but the first 5 he inherited did score. This is the tale of possible improvement, or possibly just another Luke turning the corner moment. He was verbally installed as the 8th inning guy, but nothing has come of that. There have also been a couple meltdowns by Luke, as to be expected. My grade: B

J.C. Gutierrez: 0-1, 29.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 17 SO, 30 H, 8 BB, 2 HRA First of all, Gutierrez's appearance on the opening day roster was puzzling given Louis Coleman's performance in spring training. Coleman continued that dominance in AAA this year, while Gutierrez put up numbers eerily similar to Aaron Crow's, but with less strikeouts. He was a fill-in, a flyer, and we had enough, even though the production wasn't all bad. He was DFA last week. My grade: C

Left off for small sample sizes: Will Smith, Donnie Joseph, Everett Teaford, Louis Coleman, and Adam Moore

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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