Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Thu, 3/29
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 29 2012 8:05PM
At the start of camp, many were wondering where Royals 2011 first-round pick Bubba Starling would end up, but the smart money was on him landing in extended spring training where he could refine his baseball skills, which are very raw; after all, this is the first time Starling, a three-sport athlete who had a chance to play quarterback at Nebraska, has ever had an opportunity to focus on baseball exclusively. The Royals seem to feel that Starling is talented enough to play at Low-A Kane County, but they also want him to get plenty of pre-game early work to improve his skill set, and it’s hard to do that in April and May at Kane County, when the weather is usually cold and unpredictable. By keeping Starling in Arizona, the Royals can ensure he’ll get plenty of reps every day. Expect to see Starling in Kane County once the weather warms.
Although Starling tweeted yesterday that he would start the year in extended, it was made official today with the Royals releasing all of their minor-league assignments. There will be some changes, especially at the upper levels (AAA Omaha only has 20 players listed on their roster as they await Major League cuts). The starting pitchers to watch in Omaha will be Mike Montgomery, whose command needs to improve, and Will Smith, who looked good in spots when he was in big league camp after a strong finish to 2011 at AA Northwest Arkansas. Nate Adcock and Vin Mazzaro will also be in Omaha’s rotation with Sean O’Sullivan joining them, provided that he clears waivers once he’s reassigned from the big league club (O’Sullivan is out of options). 2010 first-round pick, shortstop Christian Colon, and 2009 third-round pick, outfielder Wil Myers, will start at Northwest Arkansas for a second straight year, where they’ll be joined by pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Chris Dwyer. All four could be in Omaha by the middle of the year with strong performances and I don’t think it’s out of the question that Odorizzi could be in the Majors before the year is out. None of the high school players the Royals drafted last year will begin the year with a full-season club, which may be seen by some as a conservative approach, but it’s easier to be conservative with prospects when your system has the depth the Royals’ system has.