Monday, April 7, 2008

Who are those guys?

In case you've so far been focusing on either your local team or your fantasy team, you might have missed something interesting: the Kansas City Royals are off to their best start since 2004, going 4-2, including a sweep of the Tigers.  Now, even though the internet is international, it's pretty clear so far that most of our readers are from the east coast (though we've had hits from Tennessee, Texas, and even England).  So I'm guessing that most of us are not that familiar with the boys in blue.  Consequently, here are five things everyone should know about this year's Royals.
  1. Starting 3B Alex Gordon finished his first MLB season in 2007 with a .725 OPS, but failed to get a single vote for Rookie of the Year.  He's hitting 7th in the lineup, and is so far hitting .269 with 2 HR and 6 RBI.

  2. The Royals will be returning to the powder blue uniforms beginning this Saturday 4/12.  ESPN's "Uni Watch" covered this one some time ago, calling it a half-hearted attempt at retro.

  3. Closer Joakim Soria has three saves, 7 SO, and has given up only two hits and walked no one.  The only closer with a better record based on WHIP and saves is Mariano Rivera.  Nevertheless, he's still only owned by 82% of the owners in CBS Sportsline Fantasy baseball.  Buster Olney covered this interesting comparison on ESPN Sunday (subscription required).

  4. New manager Trey Hillman led the Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japanese Pacific League to back-to-back pennants in 2006 and 2007.  Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy described him on XM Radio's "The Show" as someone who would "bring the best of Japanese Baseball" to America.

  5. The top blog covering the Royals, Royals Review, is written by Will MacDonald, a PhD candidate in English at the University of Iowa specializing in 18th and 19th century literature.
Their hot start may not continue -- but I'm willing to bet they finish this season with a better record than 63-93.


Kevin said...

Lifelong Royals fan here! Thanks for noticing --- I am confident we will be playoff competative in the next 2-3 years.

Ed said...

Thanks for noticing as well. The Royals are one of a handful of teams that fly under the radar of the national media, and I'm not sure they should. I'll be paying closer attention this season.

Ed said...

No gloating from your friendly blogmeister, but the Royals just closed out their home opener against the Yankees 5-2. Certainly the Yanks didn't help themselves with the three-inning-and-87 pitch performance of Hughes, but the Royals get the W. Interesting to see Hillman empty his bullpen, but they do a nice job going a combined four innings with a no earned runs 1 walk, and five Ks. We'll see how the rest of the series goes.