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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Calvin a Free Man

Well, the Royals trimmed their roster to 25 for next Monday's opener in Detroit. Two somewhat surprisingly developments include the additions of Calvin Pickering and Emil Brown. These come at the expense of 2004 All-Star Ken Harvey, 2003 surprise Aaron Guiel and the self-proclaimed "5-tool" Abraham Nunez. Guiel and Harvey will report to Omaha while Nunez will be placed on waivers.

Readers of this blog know that I've been arguing for Calvin's chance to play since early last season. More recently, I argued that even if Ken Harvey made the team Pickering should as well since a productive left-handed bat off the bench is worth more than either another utility infielder or the 12th man in the bullpen. However, it's nice that despite Pickering's struggles this spring (he hit .208 with 1 homerun ) Tony Pena recognized that he can contribute with his plate discipline and power:

"I will use Pickering against right-handed pitchers. The thing we have seen in Pickering is that he is a threat. He worked the count better than anybody, he puts his bat in position to hit, and he supplies power"

Now all of us stat-geeks can keep quiet and hope that Pickering doesn't disappoint.

Emil Brown on the other hand is not a guy anyone would have expected to make the club and certainly not the type of player that sabermetrically-oriented fans fall in love with. There was a nice profile of him in the KC Star a week or so ago. He spent a long time in the Pirates organization and his career .200/.289/.302 line in 442 career plate appearances is not a cause for optimism. To me he seems like a classic tweener. He's not particularly fast, he doesn't have much power, he's not patient, and I don't think he's known as a great defender. At ages 27-29 he has had solid seasons at AAA. However, at 30 he's likely not going to get any better and projects as a worse Terrance Long without the advantage of being left-handed.

Still, even though Guiel probably has more upside, Brown is a guy you like to root for and he tore the cover off the ball in spring training (the day we saw him play in Surprise he had 3 hits including a homerun) and it seems the Royals were serious that there was a real competition going on for the final outfield spot.

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