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First Half Grades: The Pitchers

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Its wonderful when you view the Royals active roster and see... no Joe Mays, no J.P. Howell, no Runelyvs, no Greinke, no Bautista, no Bobby Keppel, no Kyle Snyder, etc.. But through it all, there is good old Affeldt. Continuing in the grades tradition:

(click here for the position player grades)

Scott Elarton (3-9, 5.38 ERA): Last season he struck out 103 and walked 48. This season he's already walked 49 men, and has just 47 strikeouts. So, he's doubled his walks and cut his strikeouts in half, and wasn't terribly good to begin with? SOunds about right. Well, we'll always cherish the two seasons of mid 4.00's ERA he gave Cleveland. Its difficult not to be hard on him, considering we sought out this guy. Elarton's also already allowed 24 home runs: D+

Mark Redman (6-4, 5.27 ERA): Whats to say about Redman that hasn't been written three times over already since his shocking All-Star appearance. Like Elarton, his strikeouts and walks are running neck and neck (32-32), horribly out of line from his 2005 rates. Unlike Elarton, he's managed to avoid getting killed with the long ball: C

What are the Royals doing?

2005 Elarton (Cle): 48 walks, 103 strikeouts
2006 Elarton (1/2 season in KC): 49 walks, 47 strikeouts

2005 Redman (Pit): 56 walks, 101 strikeouts
2006 Redman (1/2 season in KC): 32 walks, 32 strikeouts

I'm starting to see why Greinke went insane.

Mike Wood (3-3, 5.66 ERA): Overvalued by guys like me who enjoy cheap league average performance, undervalued by those who want more. Before hitting the DL, Wood made seven starts, and had come out of the 'pen fourteen times. Hey, at least he's struck out (28) more than he's walked (23). Wood's been killed during the day (10.02 ERA, in 20.2 innings) for what its worth: C-

Brandon Duckworth (1-2, 5.40 ERA): Are we cloning these guys? Lets get this out of the way: modest strikeout (20) to walk (14) numbers, but he's only allowed two homers in his six starts. So he's somewhere between Wood and Redman. Considering he was called in off the street and has been capable of showing up every five days, he's been a revelation: B-

Luke Hudson (2-3, 5.79 ERA): Made eight relief appearances in April, and was sent down with a 8.74 ERA. Two months later, he's replacing a DL'ed Wood in the rotation for no real reason. In his three appearances since returning from the minors, he's allowed only one run in 7.1 IP: C

Jimmy Gobble (3-2, 4.32 ERA): Yea, they're certainly cloning these guys. The only problem is that Gobble's broken out of his programming, actually striking people out (41 in 50 innings) and avoiding too many walks (18). Another data-point in the argument that any starting pitcher could probably be an effective reliever. Nevertheless, Gobble raised his ERA from 3.67 to 4.32 after just two starts, so its tough to say if something's been found, or only if something greater has been lost. Still, its a credit to Bell that he was able to get good work out of Gobble. A discredit to him for all the failures however: B

Jeremy Affeldt (4-5, 6.09 ERA): I'm not clear how we got to this point with Affeldt. But it's obvious that the master plan drawn up years ago of jerking this guy around endlessly has paid off. Sure, he had a 7.80 ERA when he was demoted to relief work, but he'd also faced the Yankees twice, the White Sox twice, Cleveland three times and Detroit once. Thats a tough road for any pitcher, especially with no Orioles or Devil Rays mixed in. Still, he's walked 41 against only 21 strikeouts, and number that has Elarton laughing. For a guy who just turned 27, the Royals have done their damnedest to repeatedly give up on him. At this point it would be better for everyone involved if the Royals just traded him for a C prospect and moved on: C-

Elmer Dessens (4-7, 3.97 ERA): Probably the MVP of the pitching staff in the first half, "Everyday Elmer" has been there time and time again for Buddy Bell in the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. Looking at Elmer's game log, he's had two developments this season. First, there was the early success; after a scoreless inning against the Cardinals on May 20th, Elmer's ERA was 2.74. Two outings and seven runs against the Tigers later, he was at 5.25. Since then, the ERA's dropped with nearly every start, getting back down to its current 3.97. He's no friend to the scorekeeper, who's credited Elmer with a blown save four times. As far as I can tell none of these were classic "1 run up in the 9th, Elmer blows it" situations, and at least two ocurred when he lost a 7th inning lead. Silly rule. Shockingly, Elmer's been a true bright spot: A-

Joel Peralta (1-1, 4.40 ERA): Buddy won't use him for a week, then, out of nowhere, Peralta will appear in six days out of eight. As such, I'm not sure what the team wants to do with him. In 6 April innings he posted a 1.50 ERA, and has been in the high 4.00s every other month. Like Gobble, he's shown a modest ability to strike people out (29 Ks, 43 IP) but is a little homer-prone (5): B-

Ambiorix Burgos (2-3, 5.98 ERA): A classic fringe closer in the MacDougal mode, everyone seems to understand Burgos' problems, yet insist that he be the last man standing out of the 'pen at the end of games. Burgos' ERA in May was 9.98, but for no real reason, the club stuck with him, and he posted a 4.63 ERA in June and has a 2.70 running in July. Complete with his insanely early promotion, the Royals have signalled this is someone they believe in, and as such they will give him 15 chances to fail. What are the odds on any given night that Burgos and MacDougal both manage scoreless innings? Maybe 65%? C+

Andy Sisco (0-2, 7.23 ERA): Just killer. The Royals aren't good enough to have their best reliever transform into their worst overnight. His strikeout rate is similar to last season, and the walks are up only a tad; the real problem is that he's allowing a .297 batting average, and has already matched his homers allowed total from last season (6). Worth watching in the second half, if only to settle the matter of what he did to deserve this curse: D.

Todd Wellemeyer (0-2, 4.66 ERA): In 15 innings with the Royals he's managed a 3.52 ERA, which is OK, if random. Like so many others, his strikeouts and walks are running neck and neck, as the Royals attempt a never before tried approach to pitching: C+

Denny Bautista (0-2, 5.66 ERA): Becoming more and more a waste of everyone's time. He's thrown 100.1 big league innings, and has a career ERA of 6.55. Sure, he's nominally 26, and might get it some day. But how many guys do you hear that about who ever actually do? D

Joe Mays (0-4, 10.27 ERA as a Royal): I miss him already. Luckily, he's still helping my HACKING MASS team thanks to the Reds. Someone should really make a poster honoring the 2005 off-season signees by Allard Baird and co.: Mays! Bako! Elarton! Prepare to be suprised: as a Royal Mays walked more (14) than he struck out (9).

Runelyvs Hernandez (1-4, 7.44 ERA): Ahh, this is a fun one. Sent to the minors because he was too fat, Runelyvs made his glorious return on April 26 against the Twins, allowing just two hits and one run in 7 innings. The ERA was at 1.29, and life was good. In six May starts, Run' ran that ERA up to 7.44 (9.12 on the month) and saw his walks and strikeouts flatten out to equality. in fairness, the Royals did play a brutal May, but a ERA in the 9's doesn't cut it for anybody. SO where do we go from here with Run'? I know, lets randomly call him up and send him down after three more starts! A free agent after the season, it'll be interesting to see what the market for him is: D