Wow, I hate to say this, because I love the site, but this article is an almost complete swing and miss. Especially the lack of research/insight into the Royals international player signings since Moore came on board. Of course the highlight of these is Noel Arguelles, who wasn’t mentioned at all, but it goes much deeper than just him. Cheslor Cuthbert is another big signing with immense potential and then there is the soon to be announced signing of Paul Carlixte, Yowill Espinal, etc. I know it has become fashionable to kick the Royals, and especially Moore, based on their poor decisions and results at the major league level in the last two years, but I don’t think that is license to write an article based on assumptions and not bother to look up any facts. The Royals minor league system has depth and quality now that it has lacked for most of the last 3 decades. I’m not a fan of the Moustakas pick, but Hosmer has barely played and apparently dealt with a broken finger and vision problems. I will reserve my judgement on Moore until we see how the wave of talent at High A and AA pans out. I don’t expect you to reserve your judgement, that’s what your here to do, but it would be nice if that judgement were based on better, or at least more complete, research.
“True, but it is a completely different process when acquiring Cuban players (as I think you were implying). I actually am really intrigued by their international ineptitude.”
What the hell does this mean? Sorry Bryan, that doesn’t make any sense. You wrote the following in your article:
“This is also a team that simply must begin to plunge into foreign waters…Dayton Moore, who was second in-command of an organization with a top-notch international scouting department, should know better.”
When Dayton Moore took over the reins of the organization, the Royals’ international signing bonus record was about $100 K, given to Rene Oriental. The Royals’ academy in Salcedo, in fact, had only recently been reopened, and it was pretty dilapidated. So what has Dayton done since?
Well, first off, they opened a new academy. I think the plans for the new, modernized academy were in place prior to DM’s arrival, but the point is that they’ve now got one of the finest academies in the D.R.
Moore brought along Rene Francisco, the same guy who built that “top-notch international scouting department” you mentioned in Atlanta, to the Royals.
And Moore began spending serious money. Whereas a six-figure bonus to a 16-year old international free agent was a rare sight prior to Moore’s arrival, it’s commonplace now. You seem to be under the assumption that Arguelles and his $7 million bonus is the lone standout. He’s not. Cuthbert out of Nicaragua got seven figures. Jin-Ho Shin out of S. Korea got $600K. Carlixte is getting big money. That’s four high profile, high dollar guys right there in the span of just one year. Beyond that, there’s the Herreras, the Fortunas, the Perezs, the Bonillas, and a number of Moore’s other international signings who populate the Royals’ top prospect lists.
The truth of the matter is that there aren’t many teams in baseball who currently spend more on the international free agent market, and the fact that you don’t seem to know that doesn’t say much for your credibility when writing about the organization.
They got out of that market with Allard Baird and its tough to develop international talent in 2-3 yrs that GMDM has been there. They’ve made some lesser known international signings. My favorite Royal pitching prospect is Kelvin Herrera a Dominican Republic ’06 signee. Lots of polish with a very good arm who hasn’t had any troubles at the Dom, Rookie or Class A levels(limited appearances) yet but he had arm probs last season. The positional prospects have been slow to move and the only possible international signee to possibly make it is Carlos Rosa who was signed back in ’01.
The guy below explains the international signings much better
Brettfan: I’m sorry the article was a disappointment to you. My goal with these pieces are not to name every commodity possessed by these teams, but to talk about the top-end talent that the system has in place. While I see you feel the system is in the best place in 30 years, I simply don’t. Nor do the other members of the FanGraphs community that came up with these rankings. Yes, they do have some depth that I couldn’t get into because of space reasons. And I specifically complimented Dayton’s reinvestment in the farm system with Myers, Melville and more.
Every team is in the international market. I didn’t imply the Royals weren’t. I implied they weren’t good at it. Hopefully the people Dayton have entrusted do a better job than the previous regime, because I do think Kansas City is too good a baseball town to have this kind of incompetence.
Comment by Bryan Smith — March 15, 2010 @ 11:27 pm
Chris: As I said above, I’m certainly not aiming to name every prospect in these pieces. Marc Hulet did some fantastic heavy lifting on this site in the winter ranking prospects, and I’ll refer everyone to his work there. Yes, I probably don’t like Duffy as much as others, but yes, him and Lamb are just too more players part of the solid pitching depth they possess.
Robinson and Giovatella, not so much.
Comment by Bryan Smith — March 15, 2010 @ 11:29 pm
You are missing the point of the series and focusing on one admittedly throw-away line in the piece.
This series is about organizational health. It is about the chances of an organization winning in the near future. Yes, I’m concerned with the process, but so far as it concerns winning in a somewhat reasonable time frame.
I should not have said Dayton should know better. I’ll retract that sentiment. I’ll go as far to re-highlight the notion that it’s encouraging he’s reinvesting in the farm system … both in the draft’s middle rounds and with the players you mention.
But 16-year-old signings aren’t going to help the Royals win soon. I do believe the process has improved in Kansas City — as I said in the piece — but not nearly enough for this organization to be anywhere but 29.
Comment by Bryan Smith — March 15, 2010 @ 11:34 pm
Good post on the Royals farm system. They are a tough system to gauge b/c they have tons of intriguing prospects, but they’ve gotten burned by a few prospects up to this point. I’m a fan of a few of their mid-level prospects. I think David Lough can fill in nicely if they need another outfielder this season, and Danny Duffy should help out in the rotation next year.
What is the Royals’ long-term plan w/ their young players at the corner infield positions? It seems like they are going to eventually have to make a move with Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Kia’hue.
Could they get much in return for Kia’hue if they tried to trade him? He seems like a good fit for a rebuilding team with an unclear first base situation (maybe Pittsburgh). Or the White Sox could possibly use him off their bench this season.
Comment by Brad O'Neill — March 16, 2010 @ 2:33 am
I don’t particularly care where you’ve got the Royals’ organization ranked. My problem with the piece, as noted above, was on your complete dismissal of the Royals’ international efforts. Those efforts — along with the organization’s over-slot draft bonuses, which you did reference — are pretty much the best things about DM’s regime so far. Frankly, the Royals’ international operation and the speed at which it’s gotten to this point after years of neglect is a great story and will likely serve as a road map for other organizations that are behind in Latin America.
That’s why I was so snippy about your article. You claim it was a “throw-away line” when in fact your contention that the Royals “simply must begin” spending internationally seems to be of your only two criticisms of this supposedly terrible organization. They were, as far as I can tell:
1) The Royals don’t develop hitters
2) The Royals don’t spend internationally
That’s like half of your argument! You should do better than that.
That’s just bad grammar: while the signing of Carlixte may be “expected,” Yowill Espinal has been in the system since 2007, signed along with Guelin Beltre, who also has some upside with the bat. Korean catcher Shin Jin-ho, signed last year but had to stay to finish up school, is also supposed to be a good international prospect. They are all young and will take time to develop (if they will-once the Royals actually start developing the position player talent they acquire, I’ll be more encouraged by their future), but the organization is starting to make up for years of neglect in the international market.
“This is also a team that simply must begin to plunge into foreign waters.”
Yeah, I don’t see how anyone could read that and take away from it any implication that the Royals weren’t in the international market. I mean, how could anyone read a statement like that and not think you were saying that the Royals were in the international market? What kind of dunderhead would read it that way? Maybe it was the word “begin” that confused them. I don’t know.