FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Midterm Report

So during the All-Star game respite I thought I'd give an assessment of both the Royals and Cubs.

Royals (31-54 15.5 games out in the central)
After starting 4-2 its all been down hill... The poor performances of Anderson and May in the starting rotation and the lackluster hitting by everyone except Ken Harvey and Carlos Beltran quickly sunk any hope the Royals had to contend in a weak AL Central. The only bright spot has been rookie Zack Grienke who will start the 2nd half tomorrow night against the Twins has a 3.86 ERA (56 IP, 49 H, 12 BB) in 9 starts. Lack of run support has led to his 1-6 record. His only weakness thus far has been a tendency to give up the long ball (9 so far). Once it was clear the Royals had no hope they unloaded Curtis Leskanic, Jason Grimsley, and Carlos Beltran. I would look for Joe Randa and Matt Stairs to be next and perhaps Scott Sullivan.

Injuries have also played a big part in the disaster - 10 players are currently on the disabled list including Juan Gonzales, Benito Santiago (60 day DL), Jeremy Affeldt, Aaron Guiel, and Joe Randa - all players the Royals had hoped would contribute. This isn't to mention the pitchers Kyle Snyder, Kevin Appier, Miguel Asencio, Mike MacDougal, and Runelvys Hernandez, all of whom it was thought would contribute this year. In fact, other than Sweeney, Berroa, and Harvey, none of the projected starters will likely contribute much more this season. It doesn't make sense to play Gonzales or Santiago anymore this season either even though Santiago has another year on his contract. Hopefully he'll retire after the season.

Things to look forward to in the second half are seeing if David DeJesus can take over the centerfield job, seeing if newly acquired John Buck can actually hit at the major league level (he's looked overmatched thus far), and hoping that the Royals can finally make an assessment as to whether Dee Brown will actually have a major league career. They're also going to give former prospect Ruben Mateo some extended time to see what he can do although when Aaron Guiel comes back soon they'll have to split time amongst the four. On the pitching side Mike Wood (also obtained in the Beltra deal) so far doesn't look too promising and everyone else other than Grienke and Affeldt are just spare parts.

As I've said before I think the Royals front office did a fine job last winter. What's gone wrong (with the exception of trying to make Affeldt a starter) has largely been out of their control. Recently David Glass said that he expected the payroll to remain in the $50M range. And so with Beltran's salary freed up as well as that of Gonzales, Stairs, Randa, Grimsely, and Leskanic, the Royals should have some money to work with to try and sign a young pitcher perhaps or a corner outfielder.

Cubs (47-40, 7 games out in the NL Central, 1 game out in the Wild Card)
The story of the first half for the Cubs has been injures and unexpected contributions. In terms of injuries Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Mark Grudzielanek, Mark Remlinger, Sammy Sosa, Alex Gonzales, and Joe Borowski have all been or are still on the disabled list. Aramis Ramirez is also now injured although not on the DL. Where this has hurt the Cubs the most is at shortstop where they've been forced to play Rey Ordonez and Ramon Martinez. Rumors are flying that the Cubs are working a deal for Nomar Garciapara, which would certainly help the struggling offense.

However, they've gotten great contributions from Todd Hollandsworth, Tom Goodwin, Jose Macias, Glendon Rusch (4-1 4.06) and particularly Todd Walker (.863 OPS) off the bench. Walker's contribution was so vital that I question putting Grudzielanek back in the lineup. At least they should be platooned with Walker taking most of the at bats and perhaps playing third when Ramirez sits. Other starters including Moises Alou (.839 OPS) and Ramirez (.924 OPS) particularly have picked up the slack as well. Derrek Lee (.891 OPS) and Corey Patterson (.772 OPS), after slow starts are now hitting as well.

Overall the outlook for the second half is all good. With the big 5 in the rotation the Cubs should be able to look forward to not having to score that many runs thankfully and still be competitive night in and night out. I don't hold out great hopes for winning the NL Central although Cardinals pitchers Suppan and Carpenter are vulnerable for let downs. A key for the Cubs in the 2nd half is being able to beat the Brewers and based on the 3 game sweep they endured last week it might be an uphill battle. With their right-handed dominated lineup they're are vulnerable to hard throwing right-handers like Ben Sheets. The Cubs start the second half in Chicago tomorrow night with Prior against Doug Davis. Can't wait.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do you know Pirates of the Burning Sea Gold. And do you want to know? You can get potbs gold here. And welcome to our website, here you can play games, and you will get potbs Doubloon to play game. I know potbs money, and it is very interesting.Do you want a try, come and view our website, and you will learn how to buy potbs Doubloon. Come and join with us. We are waiting for your coming.