Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring Training Notes #4

If you haven't picked up on the fact that 2008 is going to be about fundamentals for the Royals, the latest article by Bob Dutton in the Star ought to convince you. Yesterday Trey Hillman spent more than an hour yelling out situations as a rotation of Royals took the batter's box and the field. At one point, David DeJesus failed to swing at inside pitch on a hit-and-run and Hillman had a little talk with him afterward. Hillman has picked up on what many Royals fans have known for years--this team doesn't have much power and it lacks the fundamentals to play small ball.

Let's look at the numbers from last season. Here's where the Royals ranked in MLB in the following categories:

27th 23rd 30th 22nd 26th 29th 29th

So, we didn't hit for power or average, and we didn't walk much. According to Hillman, this season is all about “OBP,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer. OBP, then drive them in. On-base percentage before average. Take your walks because you are aggressively disciplined in the strike zone. But take your walks." Let's hope this new brand of baseball takes hold with the players. I seem to remember Buddy Bell calling for more walks last spring as well.

Changing directions a bit, Hillman doesn't expect Mark Grudzielanek or Jose Guillen to play in spring games until March 8th or 9th. He says that they are veterans who know their bodies and they know what it takes to get ready. Grud is happy about the news, saying that playing so early last year may have led to his knee problems. And Hillman is complimentary of Guillen saying that he is one of the first players to show up every day--which is nice to hear.

The Royals play their first Cactus League game this afternoon against the Rangers. Here is the projected lineup for the Royals:

CF DeJesus

2B German

LF Teahen

DH Shealy

3B Gordon

1B Butler

RF Costa

C Buck

SS Pena


SP Bale

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