Jun 11

Vote Quimby — err, Omaha in the AAA All-Star Game!

Official Logo.jpgA commenter reminded me that voting is going on for the AAA All-Star team. As you probably know, he O-Royals are doing pretty well; if they win their series against Nashville this weekend, they’ll move into first place. And the roster boasts quite a few players that you could vote for without feeling TOO foolish. You can get to the AAA ballots here. Let’s look at our boys:

Who’s on the ballot / why you could vote for him:
Starting pitchers:
Luis Mendoza: Though Mendoza didn’t pan out at the big-league level, he’s been a reasonably good solution in Omaha’s rotation. He’s in the upper tier of PCL pitchers as far as limiting walks – he has only walked 6 thus far (1.6 BB/9). Mendoza hardly strikes out anybody, but he keeps the ball on the ground and has been pretty decent. Also, he seems like a very pleasant person.

Bryan Bullington: You know I don’t put much stock in ERA, but to have an ERA of 1.92 as a (mostly) starter, you have to be doing something right. Sure enough, Bryan Bullington keeps the ball on the ground and inside the park, and doesn’t walk a ton of batters. He also strikes out more per 9 innings than any of his rotation-mates, and hardly ever gives up home runs.

Anthony Lerew’s Sideburns: Firstly, Lerew is one of the most entertaining people in baseball, at least among the people I’ve met. Lerew and Bruce Chen NEED to have a TV show. On the mound, I wish I could say Lerew’s among the league leaders in a bunch of stuff, but the truth is, he doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, and he walks a pretty average number. He allows roughly a hit per inning, but the thing he does exceptionally well to keep runs off the board is avoid the long ball. Of PCL starters, Lerew’s 0.4 HR/9 is one of the best rates. 

Philip Humber: Like his teammate Mendoza, Humber is among the very best in the league at limiting walks – he’s walked just 1.4 per 9 innings thus far. It’s not clear when he’ll come back from his facial injury, but he was the workhorse of the staff up to that point. He threw more innings than any other Omaha pitcher, and sports a pretty good SO/BB ratio of 3.91 – that’s 20th-best in the league.  Not great, but certainly not bad. And come on, how can you not support a guy who took a line drive to the face? Have some compassion!

Blake Wood: Wood didn’t pitch enough AAA innings to show up on the baseball-reference leaderboards, but when you look at his numbers, a few things stand out from his time here. Wood is a groundball machine with a 53.8%  ground ball rate. And of course, he’s been a ray of light for the KC bullpen since his callup a month ago.

Victor Marte: True, Marte walked too many while he was with Omaha, but he kept the walks from being too costly by limiting home runs and striking out a decent number. Most of the hits he gave up were singles, which helped keep his FIP at 3.51.

Holland pitching 02.JPGGreg Holland: Holland is yet another O-Royal who keeps the ball in the park despite the seemingly perpetual wind blowing out at Rosenblatt. (Is it just me, or is it windy less often this year than it has been in the past few years? Maybe it’s just me.) Holland’s 25 strikeouts is the most in the Omaha pen. [That’s Holland pitching on the left there.]

Josh ‘Earl’ Rupe: Rupe’s success in the Majors was a mixed bag, but in Omaha he’s among the league leaders in hits/9 – no small feat in a hitter’s park like Rosenblatt. Rupe also strikes out more batters per 9 than any of his teammates, and has a killer moustache

Cody Clark: Oh, um…I have no real way to justify voting in the light-hitting catcher Clark. This is awkward. Let’s see: He…doesn’t strike out very often?

First base:
Kila Ka’aihue: Homerism aside, there is NO reason to vote for anyone besides Ka’aihue. He’s dominating the league – his .487 OBP is 2nd in the league, and the only man ahead of him is teammate Alex Gordon. Though Kila’s not mashing homers like he did in 2008, he’s still in the Top 10 in slugging and has the 4th-best OPS in the league. And of course, he’s walking more than anyone else – his 50 walks lead the league, and the rest of the top 10 (except Jack Cust) have played a TON more games than Hawaiian Punch. If Kila doesn’t get in to this game, the whole dang thing is a joke.

(By the way, did you see the beeramid Kila knocked over a few Thirsty Thursdays ago? Check it out.)

Second base:
Irving Falu: Falu is apparently the subject of a FanGraphs-wide mancrush. And why not? He’s super fast, and his .310/.355/.367 line is awfully good for an infielder, isn’t it? He has logged more PAs than any of his teammates, and more than all but two batters in the entire league.

Further, Falu is a fan’s man. Not a day goes by at Rosenblatt that I don’t see him going out of his way to dispense baseballs and autographs to young fans. Like one day, there were 4 dozen baseballs sitting by the dugout for the kids who were on the field during the National Anthem. Falu had a rare day off that day, so he got out a Sharpie and signed each and every one of those baseballs. Nobody asked him to do this. In other words: Make your kids become Irving Falu fans.

Marc Maddox: Two of Omaha’s 2nd basemen are on the ballot, so vote carefully. Maddox has had periods of struggle in his first season at this level, but has held his own overall. That said, if you’re voting for an O-Royal at 2nd base, Falu would probably be a more worthy selection this year. (Not that I don’t love Marc. But, y’know, the better of the two should get the votes!)

Wilson Betemit: Betemit is with the big club now, of course. But while he was here, he was good for about a hit per game, and had a little bit of power as well. In his 29 games here, Betemit put a very respectable .358 OBP.

Third base:

Ed Lucas: Lucas, in addition to just being a nice guy, seems to be able to handle spotty playing time pretty well. Around a few trips to the DL and a crowded infield, Lucas has put up a line of .308/.378/.446. Not too shabby. His OPS is actually one of the best on the team, too.


Jai Miller: Miller has been quite the addition for Omaha since joining the team this spring. As far as I can tell, his defense is quite good, and he’s put in time in both center and right. Even though he has to split playing time with like a dozen other outfielders, Miller is still in the top 20 in the league in doubles, and has homered 5 times as well. That adds up to a very nice .500 slugging percentage.
David Lough: My favorite defender – and seriously, he should be your favorite defender too – is also pretty decent at the plate, although his slow start to the year is still dragging down his overall slash stats. In May and June, Lough has hit with a lot more power than he did in April, and is one of the league leaders in triples.

Jordan Parraz: We’ve looked at what Parraz did to fix his April batting woes. June has been closer to Good-Parraz than Yucky-Parraz. This month hasn’t been quite as stunning as May was, but he hasn’t been getting as much playing time so that probably has a little to do with it.

Gordon batting 03.JPGAlex Gordon: Gordon is up there with – or ahead of – Kila Ka’aihue in just about every category. I don’t know who else could be voted as the best DH in the league, so just vote Gordon. Seriously, look at this line. .370/.497/.674/1.171.

[Seriously, I wish I could do proper photo captions on this blog. But, like many other seemingly normal features, that doesn’t exist here. Anywho – that’s Gordon batting. He has a very picturesque swing.]

Scott Thorman: Again, we have two O-Royals vying for one spot. But sadly for Thorman – who despite being a free-swinger is a pretty decent hitter – one option is clearly better than the other. Vote Gordon.

Again, here is the link to the ballot. And of course, if you feel there are better players out there, vote for them instead — the best players should get the votes, whether they’re on your favorite team or not. That said, a lot of our guys are legitimate candidates for the All-Star team, so let’s make it happen!

Related posts:

  1. The best AAA game I’ve seen all year
  2. All-Star Voting – Vote Brewers and Royals
  3. How to attend THE Alex Gordon Omaha Royals game.

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