Cleat Geeks

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals had a strong performance last week winning five of their seven games. They started the week at home against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals won the series 2-1. The weekend series was also at home against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals won the series 3-1. The Royals avoided reaching the 100-loss mark this week. They currently have a record of 52-97.

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Photo by; Zimbio

Adalberto Mondesi had another good performance last week. He had a .419 batting average, two home runs and five stolen bases. Mondesi has been one of the Royals best offensive performers in the second half. He has 19 stolen bases since the All-Star break, which is tied with teammate Whit Merrifield for the most in the American League. Mondesi has developed into one of the Royals top young players and will be an important part of the rebuilding process.

Ryan O’Hearn has had a strong start to his major league career. He has a .270 batting average and 10 home runs in 115 at bats. O’Hearn could compete for the Royals starting first base job next season. He was an eight round pick by the Royals in the 2014 MLB draft. O’Hearn provides the Royals with power and consistency at the first base position.

Image result for the lexington legendsThe Lexington Legends won the South Atlantic League Championship this week. The Legends are the class A affiliate of the Royals. It was their first league championship since 2001. The Legends have a lot of the Royals top prospects on their roster. Four of the Royals top ten prospects are currently with the Legends. A lot of the players are still a few years from making the Royals roster but the championship will be a big part of their development.

The Royals will start their final road trip of season this week. They will start against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are 74-74 this season. Brad Keller is scheduled to pitch on Monday and is the player to watch in the series. The Royals rookie has a 1.29 ERA in the month of September. The weekend series will be against the Tigers in Detroit. Salvador Perez will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .333 batting average and two home runs in eight games against the Tigers this season. The Royals only have two more weeks in the 2018 season and these final games will be important in the progression of young players.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled last week winning two of their six games. The week started on the road against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals won the first game in the series but lost the last two. The weekend series was against the Twins in Minnesota. The Royals only won one game of the three game series. The Royals are 47-95 this season. They could reach 100 losses this week. It would be their first 100-loss season since 2006.

Rookie pitcher Jorge Lopez had a perfect game through eight innings before losing it in the ninth inning on Saturday night against the Minnesota Twins. He ended the game with four strikeouts and one earned run in eight innings pitched. The Royals acquired Lopez in the Mike Moustakas trade earlier this season. Lopez has a 4.40 ERA and a record of 2-3 with the Royals this season. Jorge Lopez showed his potential on Saturday and could be a big part of the Royals rebuilding process.

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Photo by; The Sporting News

The Royals shut down pitcher Danny Duffy for the season after he re-injured his shoulder in the start on Tuesday. Duffy was placed on the disabled list in August because of the shoulder injury. He had a down season with a 4.88 ERA and a record of 8-12. Danny Duffy should return healthy next season and be a big part of the starting rotation.

Whit Merrifield is tied for the most steals in the American League with 31. Merrifield led the American League in steals last season with 34. If he repeats this season he would be the first back-to-back stolen base leader in the American League since Jose Altuve in 2014-2015. Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the best base runners in the American League.

The Royals will start a seven game home stand on Monday. The first series of the week will be against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals are 6-10 against the White Sox this season. Alex Gordon will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .263 batting average and three home runs in 16 games against the White Sox this season. The weekend series will be against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals are 7-7 against the Twins this season. Adalberto Mondesi will be a player to watch in the series. He has a batting average of .292 and five stolen bases in seven games against the Twins this season. The Royals will face two division opponents in their home stand this week.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals had their best week of the season winning all of their five games this week. The first series of the week was at home against the Detroit Tigers. The Royals swept the two game series. The weekend series was also at home against the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals swept the three game series. The offense was outstanding averaging more than seven runs per game. The Royals have a record of 45-91, the second worst in baseball.

There were some big roster changes at the waiver trade deadline this year. Backup catcher Drew Butera and first baseman Lucas Duda were both traded to teams in the playoff hunt. Butera was traded to the Colorado Rockies for minor league left handed pitcher Jerry Vasto and cash. Vasto played with the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes this season. He had a 3.16 ERA and a record of 2-1 with the Isotopes. Vasto was sent to the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers. Duda was traded to the Atlanta Braves for cash. Both of the trades were used to make room on the 40-man roster and get a return on veteran players in the last year of their contract.

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Two minor league catchers were called up to the Royals this week. Cam Gallagher was called up from AAA Omaha after the Butera trade and Meibrys Viloria was called up from the Single-A Wilmington Blue Rocks after Salvador Perez suffered an injured thumb. The Royals were able to call up Viloria without losing a player because of the rosters expanding to 40 this week. The Royals could have more minor league players on the roster after the minor league season ends on Monday.

Next week the Royals will face two opponents on the road. They start the week against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are 4-8 against the Indians this season. Indians pitcher Corey Kluber will be a player to watch in the series. The Royals had five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against Kluber in their last matchup. Kluber has an ERA of 2.80 and a record of 17-7 this season. He was the American League Cy Young winner last season and is one of the favorites to win the award again this season. The Royals will face Kluber on Wednesday. The weekend series will be against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals are 6-6 against the Twins this season. Outfielder Max Kepler will be a player to watch on the Twins. Kepler has a .293 batting average and two home runs against the Royals in 41 at bats this season. The Royals will have two matchups against division opponents this week.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled to start the week but finished it strong. The first series of the week was on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals were swept by the Rays in the four game series. The weekend series was at home against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals won the first two games in the series but lost the final game. It was their first series win since July. The Royals are the second worst team in baseball with a record of 40-91.

Danny Duffy returned from the disabled list last week. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the month with a shoulder injury. He was activated on Thursday before his start. Glenn Sparkman was sent down to AAA Omaha to make room on the roster. Duffy did not get the decision in his first game back. He gave up two runs in five innings and had seven strikeouts. In his first start after the injury Danny Duffy showed some positive signs.

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Whit Merrifield had a 12-game hit streak end against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. It was his third 12-game hitting streak this season, which is the most in the American League. He currently has a batting average of .306. Merrifield has also been good on the base paths this season. He has 28 stolen bases, second most in the American League. Whit Merrifield has been the most consistent offensive player for the Royals this season.

The Royals roster will expand on Saturday for September call-ups. It will be a chance to give minor league players on the 40-man roster more opportunities. The Royals top prospects are not on the 40-man roster and are not expected to be a part of September call-ups. The Royals rebuilding process is progressing but their top players still need time to develop in the minor leagues.

Next week will be a five game home stand for the Royals. They start the week against the Detroit Tigers. The Royals are 7-6 against the Tigers this season. Nick Castellanos will be a Tigers player to watch in the series. He leads the Tigers in batting average, home runs, hits, RBI’s, OBP, slugging and OPS this season. The weekend series will be against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles have the worst record in baseball. The Royals are 1-2 against the Orioles this season. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones will be a player to watch in the series. He has a batting average of .280, which is the best among qualified Orioles hitters. The Royals will have two winnable matchups this week.

MIchael Kopech’s MLB Debut

The day has finally arrived. On Tuesday night, White Sox’s top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech, finally made his MLB debut against the Minnesota Twins.

Kopech, who spent the past two years in the White Sox minor league system, was only able to go two innings due to the 50 minute rain delay that occurred during the bottom half of the 2nd inning. Although he only pitched two innings, he left many White Sox fans, who were in attendance, speechless with his performance.

Here’s Michael Kopech’s final stat line for his MLB debut: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 Ks. (Kopech did hit a batter in the 2nd inning)

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Photo by; Post Sumo

I think it’s safe to say that many White Sox fans, including myself, were waiting on this day for so long. Now I’ve watched Kopech pitch on TV many times and I also had an opportunity to watch him live during a minor league game in Indiana. However, this was different. This was Michael Kopech’s MLB debut and it definitely did not disappoint.

Kopech threw 52 pitches (35 for strikes) throughout the two innings which may sound alarming to some, however, did you see his stuff? Do me a favor and go watch his highlights. Kopech’s fastball was an average of 98 mph with flashes of great off-speed pitches. The best part of his performance? The moment didn’t seem big for the 22 year old.

Let’s be honest here. Being the 2nd ranked prospect in your organization, 13th overall in MLB, and having high expectations from media and many fans, isn’t the easiest thing to handle. Yet, Kopech seemed relaxed and hungry. I could see it in his eyes, he is a competitor. He wants to be the best. Kopech is a firm believer that he will be a hall of fame player. Now, I know it’s a bit early to be talking “hall of fame” for Kopech but the sky is the limit for this young pitcher. Only time will tell what kind of player he will be. All I know, he is going to be special.

Just imagine if the rain delay never occurred, how far could Kopech have gone? We can only speculate at this point.

Kopech is scheduled to make his next start in Detroit on Sunday against the Tigers. After watching his two innings tonight, I just can’t wait to see him get back on the mound.

The Good & Bad Of The 2018 White Sox Season

With the big news on Sunday afternoon of Michael Kopech being called up to the White Sox, I figured it was the right time to come back and write an article again.

No, I wasn’t gone because the White Sox haven’t been playing well, rather I had no way to access this awesome website that you are reading this article from.

Anyways, let’s address the elephant in the room, the White Sox have the 3rd worst record in MLB. The last time I wrote an article, the White Sox were 10-29. Now, their record is 46-77 with 39 games left in the season. It’s easy to look at their record and say, “Well, they must be a horrible team” and of course many people can say that. However, this “horrible” team has a lot of bright sides to it and many are not looking at this side.

Yes, it’s easy to sit here and bash the young White Sox team, but that’s not the approach we will take here. We will be addressing the bright sides of the 2018 Chicago White Sox season and give every fan a reason to be content with the season.

 

Carlos Rodón

Image result for Carlos Rodón white soxCarlos Rodón made his 2018 debut against the Boston Red Sox on June 9th and showed the league that he was ready to take the league by storm. Rodón went 5 innings, only allowing 4 runs (two of those were earned runs) while striking out 7 batters. From there on, Rodón made four more starts in the month of June in which he accumulated for a 1-3 record with a 4.55 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 29 1/3 innings. Although his numbers in June aren’t flashy, they’ve gotten better in the next two months. In July, Rodón’s ERA drastically changed as his ERA for the month was 1.88 while going 2-0 in  4 four starts, striking out 27 in 28 2/3 innings. Then, his ERA has gotten lower as he has an ERA of 1.23 for the month of August.

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Photo by; Southside Showdown

So far for the season, Carlos Rodón is 4-3 with an ERA of 2.69 in 12 starts. Although Rodón hasn’t been here all season, it’s been exciting to see him develop and improving with each of his starts. The young 25 year old “Southpaw” is becoming the ace that the White Sox were hoping for when he was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in 2014.

Daniel Palka

I’m adding Palka to this list because he’s been a surprise for many. Daniel was called up to the White Sox in April and has given the team many reasons why he deserves to be up in the Majors. In just his rookie year, Palka is hitting .238 with 18 HRs, 49 RBIs and a OPS of .759. These numbers may not be the best in the league, however, we need to remember that Palka is not a everyday player in the lineup. Palka has only played in 88 games which makes his numbers a bit impressive. Just imagine if Palka was the everyday starting Right Fielder or even the DH, what kind of numbers would he have? Yes, I understand he is striking out a lot but that’s a common theme with Image result for jose abreu 2018rookies. (Just look at Moncada for a second. We will talk about Moncada in a bit) Palka has shown that he can be a good player, it’s just the matter of seeing him developing and improving with each game.

Jose Abreu

How could you not add Abreu to this list? The 2018 AL All-Star is having his typical “Jose Abreu” season. Batting .269 with 22 HRs and 76 RBIs, Abreu is on pace for another 25+ HRs and 100+ RBIs season which he has been consistent with since his arrival to the Majors in 2014. Is there anything else we really need to discuss about here? He leads the team in batting average, HRs, RBIs, Runs, OBP, SLG, OPS, Hits and doubles. C’mon now. Jose Abreu is a consistent player and one of the best first basemen in MLB. If Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds is going to get NL MVP votes, Jose Abreu should be getting some AL MVP votes. Enough said.

 

Honorable Mentions: Reynaldo Lopez & Jace Fry

Now that we discussed some of the bright sides of the 2018 White Sox season, let’s discuss about some of the disappointment of the season

Avisail Garcia

Can I just say how I wish Avisail was healthy for the beginning of the 2018 season. I really like Avi. I think Avisail Garcia can be part of the White Sox rebuild. That’s right, I said it.

Listen, you can say all you want about Garcia’s 2017 season being a fluke but he has shown in 2018 that he can play great ball. However, his season has been derailed by hamstring injuries. He missed all of May with his right hamstring injury and I believe it’s still bothering him. Garcia is only batting .234 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs but before his August slump (in which Avi is hitting .117) Avi was hitting the ball very well in the month of June and July. In June, Avi returned from the DL and in just 11 games was hitting .270 with 3 homers and 5 RBIs. Then in the month of July, Avi hit for an average of .320 with 7 homers and 15 RBIs. I am a firm believer that Avisail would’ve put great numbers had he stayed healthy and could’ve possibly been an All-Star.

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Photo by; Chicago Tribune

Yoan Moncada

OK, this one is gonna hurt. It’s unfair to do this but I’m gonna do it.

Moncada has been a disappointment but I am not losing faith with him. Moncada has been batting .217 with 15 HRs and 46 RBIs for the year. For some fans, its been frustrating to watch Moncada especially with his high number of strikeouts (176) and I honestly don’t blame them. Yes, we all wish Moncada had better numbers but honestly you can’t really blame Yoyo.

Cut him some slack, he is playing for one of the worst teams in baseball. Sometimes it’s hard to play for a team that isn’t playing for anything besides a high draft pick. Also, he has had all the pressure in the world on him. From experts calling him the next phenom, to fans having high expectations for him because he was the main attraction in the Chris Sale deal back in 2016, it’s gotta be hard to be playing with all this pressure. Remember, he is only 23 years old! Not every player breaks out right away. It takes time for players to develop and some take even longer to do so.

Remember this Sox fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds gave up on Paul Konerko when he was hitting below .220 for both teams, do you really want to quit on Moncada right away?

Lucas Giolito

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Photo by; Chat Sports

Another player that I don’t want to put on this list but I must. Lucas Giolito has been struggling all year and it’s been no secret. Giolito is 8-9 with an ERA of 6.15 which has been alarming for many Sox fans. However, Giolito has shown glimpses that he can be a great pitcher. Take a look in Giolito’s August stats. In 3 starts, Giolito has an ERA of 5.50 (18 innings pitch) in August but that’s due to his start vs the Yankees in which he gave up 7 runs in 5 innings. If we take away that Yankees start, Giolito has given up 4 runs in 13 innings which gives him an era of 2.77.

Lucas Giolito has had 11 quality starts which is more than the following notable names: Jose Quintana, Jon Gray, Gio Gonzalez, Danny Duffy and Felix Hernandez. Don’t let the stats fool you, Giolito has lots of potential and the fact that he is learning at the MLB level makes it a bit intriguing to keep watching Giolito develop in the next few seasons. Only time will tell what kind of player Giolito will be.

Dishonorable Mentions: James Shields & Welington Castillo

It’s been a long season for the White Sox but the future is still bright.

Michael Kopech is set to make his MLB debut on Tuesday, August 21. Expect Guaranteed Rate Field to be packed and loud as White Sox fans welcome the 22 year old right-hander to the South Side of Chicago. Fans are also waiting for Eloy Jimenez to be called up but we will have to wait on that news. Until then, Sox fans should be excited to see many more prospects get called up for the month of September.

 

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals had mixed results last week winning three of their seven games. They started the week at home against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals won two games and split the series with the Blue Jays. The weekend series was on the road against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals only won one game in the three game series. They currently have a record of 38-86, the second worst in baseball.

Right-handed pitcher Jorge Lopez made his Royals debut on Wednesday. Lopez gave up six earned runs in 4.2 innings. He struggled in his first Royals start but could be given more time to show his potential. Lopez was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade last month. He pitched in 10 games for the Brewers this season for an ERA of 2.75. The Royals could keep Lopez as a starter or move him back to the bullpen where he has had more success over his career.

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Photo by; The Kansas City Star

The Royals starting rotation is a big part of their rebuilding process. The rotation currently consists of Jake Junis, Brad Keller, Heath Fillmyer, Jorge Lopez and Glenn Sparkman. Every pitcher in the rotation is 26 years old or younger. Giving inexperienced pitchers time in the rotation could help them improve and show the Royals who has potential. Not all of the pitchers will work out in the future but giving them experience will help the Royals in the rebuilding process.

Alex Gordon had a strong offensive performance last week. He had three home runs in 23 at bats. His home run on Saturday was a big part of the Royals win over the White Sox. Gordon has struggled this season with a batting average of .238 and nine home runs. His batting average is still concerning but he showed more power last week.

The Royals will continue their road trip against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals are 0-3 against the Rays this season. Mallex Smith will be a player to watch in the series. The Rays centerfielder has a .298 batting average and 26 stolen bases this season. The weekend series will be back in Kansas City against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are 2-7 against the division leading Indians this season. Third baseman Jose Ramirez will be a player to watch on the Indians in the series. Ramirez has a .300 batting average, 27 stolen bases and 37 home runs. Ramirez is in the top 10 in the American League in batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, home runs, RBI’s, runs, stolen bases, walks and WAR. Ramirez should be a MVP candidate at the end of the season. The Royals will have two more matchups against American League opponents next week.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals played poorly last week losing five of their six games. The week started at home against the Chicago Cubs. The Royals lost the first two games in the series but avoided a sweep by winning the third game. The weekend series was also at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals were swept in the series. Royals pitching struggled in the series giving up over seven runs per game. The Royals are currently 35-82 this season. Their record guarantees they will have a losing season for the second year in a row.

Heath Fillmyer has played well despite the struggles with the pitching staff this season. He has an ERA of 3.13 and a record of 1-1 since being called up in late June. Fillmyer was traded to the Royals from the A’s this last off-season. He earned the only win for the Royals last week on Wednesday when he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Cubs. Fillmyer has shown a lot of potential in his short time with the Royals.

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Adalberto Mondesi has improved as a hitter this season. He was batting .200 at the end of June but had an impressive month of July and improved his average to .310. He has struggled a bit in August and his batting average is currently .260. Mondesi was a top prospect for the Royals but averaged .170 or under in 2016 and 2017. Mondesi has played better but still has areas to work on as a hitter. He has a walk rate of 1.6%, which is the second worst in baseball of hitters with 120 or more plate appearances. Mondesi has shown his potential this season and could be even better in the future if he improves his plate discipline.

The Royals will wrap up their 10-game home stand this week against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals are 0-3 against the Blue Jays this season. Alcides Escobar will be a player to watch in the series. Escobar has a .300 average and one home run in 10 at bats against the Blue Jays this year. The weekend series will be against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals are 5-8 against the White Sox this season. Daniel Palka will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .500 average and three home runs in 26 at bats against the Royals this season. The Royals will have two tough matchups this week with teams they have struggled against this season.

Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Impactful Rookies

Last season the Kansas City Chiefs had one of the top rookies in the NFL. Kareem Hunt was the starting running back week #1 after Spencer Ware suffered a knee injury in the preseason. Hunt went on to lead the NFL in rushing yards. Last season Hunt had 1,327 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. The Chiefs are looking for another rookie to make a big impact in his first year in the NFL.

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Photo by; AP News

Tremon Smith is a cornerback that could see some playing time on defense and in special teams. Smith was a sixth round pick out of Central Arkansas. The Chiefs have a weak secondary and Smith could see playing time if other players play poorly or get injured. He could also be in consideration on punt and kick returns. Smith has elite speed and he could get a chance to showcase it as a returner. Tremon Smith could be used in many different roles with the Chiefs this season.

Second round pick Breeland Speaks is another player that could see early playing time. Speaks was drafted out of Ole Miss. Speaks is an outside linebacker that is currently listed behind Justin Houston on the depth chart. Houston has only played in 20 games over the last two seasons. Dee Ford is the other starting outside linebacker and he only played in six games last season. Injuries are a big concern at outside linebacker and if Houston and Ford do not stay healthy Breeland Speaks could see a lot of playing time.

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Photo by; ESPN.com

Derrick Nnadi could also make a big impact in his rookie season. Nnadi is a nose tackle that was drafted in the third round from Florida State. Xavier Williams is ahead of him on the depth chart. Williams played in 11 games with the Cardinals last season. Derrick Nnadi could see some playing time in certain packages and potentially share time with Williams.

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The inexperience on the defense could give Chiefs rookies the chance to make a big impact early. The offense appears to be set and it does not seem likely that a rookie will make a big impact this season. On defense there is the potential for a few different players to become starters if injuries occur or they out perform the current starters. Tremon Smith, Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi appear to be the three that are in the best position to see a lot of playing time in their first year in the league.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled last week winning two of their six games. The week started on the road against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals won the first two games but lost the third game in the series. The weekend series was also on the road against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals were swept in the series. Their record is 34-77, second worst in baseball.

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Photo by; Huntsville Item

Ryan O’Hearn had a great start to his MLB career on Tuesday. He had a home run in his first major league game. O’Hearn has a .125 batting average in 16 at bats. O’Hearn was an eight round draft pick by the Royals in the 2014 MLB Draft. He spent the first part of 2018 in AAA Omaha where he had a .232 batting average and 11 home runs in 100 games. O’Hearn could see a lot of playing time at first base for the remainder of the season. He is likely not the long-term solution at the position but he will provide the team depth on the roster.

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Photo by; Kansas City Star

Brett Phillips is another up and coming player that has made an immediate impact for the Royals. Phillips was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Mike Moustakas trade. He only has a .227 batting average as a Royal but has made a big impact as a fielder. On Thursday he threw 100 mph from center field to throw out White Sox Leury Garcia at home plate. Phillips still needs time to develop as a MLB hitter but has already shown potential as an elite fielder.

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Photo by; Kings of Kaufman

Whit Merrifield continues to be the Royals best offensive weapon this season. Last week Merrifield had a .478 batting average, two home runs and three stolen bases. The Royals decided not to trade him at the deadline this season. Merrifield could be a potential trade option in the off-season or be a player the Royals decide to build around in the future.

The Royals will start a 10 game home stand on Monday against the Chicago Cubs. It will be the first time the Royals have faced the Cubs since 2015. Former Royals prospect Mike Montgomery will be a player to watch in the series. Montgomery was drafted by the Royals in the first round of the 2008 MLB draft and was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in the James Shields/Wade Davis trade. Montgomery has a 3.90 ERA and a record of 3-4 this season. He is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs on Tuesday. The weekend series will be against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals are 2-1 against the Cardinals this season. Alex Gordon will be a player to watch in the series. He has a .455 batting average and one home run against the Cardinals this season. The Royals will have two match-ups against National League Central teams this week.

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