What the Royals Gave Up
The Royals gave up a couple longshots, a decent pitching prospect and a real stud in the trade.
Patrick Leonard – The Royals 5th round pick in 2011 showed plenty of power in his lone season with the club tying for Appy League HR title. ¬†Leonard along with Mike Montgomery is the biggest longshot in this deal but his right-handed power along with his decent athleticism that should allow him to stick at the hot corner. ¬†There were plenty of mixed reviews by talent evaluators on that Royals team, some said Bubba was a future star, while others thought Humberto Arteaga could be a sure thing and even a few believe Leonard is the best player in the future among a pretty solid group.
Final evaluation – It isn’t shocking to see the Royals give up on a player that showed decent plate discipline in his time with the team but it is surprising they would give up right-handed power which is becoming a commodity in baseball. ¬†This is a nice “throw in” piece for the Rays and just another example of why they do so well.
Mike Montgomery – I doubt there are many scouts who have seen Mike as much as I have the past two years. ¬†I have seen him at his best (spring of ’11) and I have seen him at his worst. ¬†There were severe trust issues between the Royals staff and Montgomery from the people I have talked to and that is a major problem. ¬†Obviously Montgomery has plenty to work on from finding control/command to discovering a breaking ball that is workable. ¬†Even with those two major pieces of the puzzle Monty has a couple of things that are hard to teach, ¬†a fastball that can go 92-96 and an average to more change-up. ¬†This is a brilliant move by the Rays. ¬†The Rays like to teach pitchers the split-finger fastball which for a guy who can throw as hard as Montgomery could be the difference to make his fastball harder to sit on since he lacks an average breaking ball. ¬†That pitch combined with his ground ball ways could be all that is needed to make Mike a solid #3 in the bigs.
Final Evaluation – The Royals weren’t going to get what they needed or wanted out of Montgomery which is the reason they are having to make this trade in the first place. ¬†Whether you like this trade or not if the Rays are able to fix Montgomery and make him a solid big league starter then people with the Royals will need to lose their job.
Jake Odorizzi – I had Odorizzi as the Royals #3 prospect based on nothing more than a lack of a floor meaning I believe he ¬†is a safer bet than Yordano, Adalberto, Bubba and others. ¬†If I were to base it on talent alone then I would have placed him somewhere in the bottom half of the Top 10. ¬†The best pitch Odorizzi works with is his fastball which he tries to put all around the zone in, out, up and down. ¬† From there he works with a solid average curve a useable cutter and change-up that are fringy if not below average grade pitches. ¬†His fastball isn’t a burner working in the 92-94 range but I believe his athleticism will allow that to play up as I’m sure his ¬†command and control can get better. ¬†The Royals best possible scenario for Odorizzi as I’ve said before is probably Jeremy Guthrie as a guy with a good fastball and average to below breaking stuff that can give a #3 level performance.
Final Evaluation – I like Odorizzi but don’t believe he has a big ceiling and with Royals problems of developing pitchers probably wouldn’t have become what we had hoped. ¬†This is a good trade for Jake like Montgomery because the Rays don’t have a problem with the cutter and an improvement on that pitch could help him get to that Guthrie like level.
Wil Myers – For those that read my blog at 14for77.blogspot.com you know that I have said since seeing Myers in 2009 at Burlington that he is the best of the big three. ¬†He has the plate discipline we were hoping Hosmer would have combined with a great hitting tool and power that showed up faster than most expected. ¬†No matter how you want to spin his “prospect” status he is either the first or second best hitting prospect in all of baseball. ¬†Take a quick look at the top 2 hitting prospects of the last nine years.
2011 Bryce Harper, Mike Trout
2010 Jason Heyward Mike Stanton
2009 Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus
2008 Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria
2007 Alex Gordon, Young
2006 Demon Young, Justin Upton
2005 Joe Mauer, Young
2004 Mauer, Upton
2003 Mark Teixeira, Rocco Baldelli
2002 Hank Blalock, Sean Burroughs
Basically Royals fans we are hoping Myers becomes Blalock, Burroughs, Baldelli or Young. ¬†That isn’t the best list in the world and shows again that hitting prospects are much safer choices than pitching prospects. ¬†There is some word swirling around that the Royals didn’t like his attitude and the fact he wasn’t the most teachable kid in the org.
Final Evaluation – The Royals in my opinion have traded a cornerstone player who has the talent to become a Ryan Braun level MVP. ¬†His hitting acumen is rivaled only by Billy Butler in the organization. ¬†This kid hit, hit and hit. ¬†He hit at Burlington where Moose struggled at first and Hosmer never got it together, he hit at Wilmington from day one something Moustakas never did. ¬†He struggled at NW Arkansas thanks to an injury but put up similar power numbers to Moose and Hos in his second year despite that park being much more favorable to lefties. ¬†He brings a plan to at bats and yes he can get fooled by good breaking stuff just like every other hitter that has ever played the game but he unlike the majority of ball players is working with uncommon bat speed to crush good pitches and bad ones.
My Final Evaluation of the Trade – Those who read my stuff earlier this offseason know that I don’t think this move makes the difference needed to contend in 2013. ¬†The key to this trade and the Royals future now lies within Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. ¬†Those two HAVE to be MVP type candidates if the Royals are to challenge for a playoff berth over the next couple of seasons. ¬†I’m sure some of you are saying what about Moustakas? ¬†Well we’ve seen Mike improve his defense but have never seen him improve that plate discipline, a player with those constraints has a tough time ever being anything other than slightly above average and that type of player doesn’t carry a team to the playoffs.
Some (Jayson Stark) think this is poor analysis but I do believe this is about nothing more than job security. ¬†IF it wasn’t then why are the Royals becoming the first team EVER to trade away Baseball America’s Player of the Year before he ever played a game with the team. ¬†I hope I’m wrong but I believe trading away Myers will become the legacy of the GMDM era. ¬†Hope I’m wrong and we’re celebrating a playoff berth in October.
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