Rays-Royals Preview With Kings of Kauffman’s Mike Vamosi


Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk to Mike Vamosi, a staff writer for the esteemed Royals website Kings of Kauffman. I talked to Mike below about interesting story lines for the Royals this season and I also answered some questions about the Rays for Mike over at Kings of Kauffman here.

Robbie Knopf: Unbelievable the series of events that has happened for the Royals over the past 2 years. They signed Melky Cabrera to a cheap contract after he was non-tendered by Atlanta, saw him deliver a 200-hit season, and then flipped him for Jonathan Sanchez (and Ryan Verdugo) from the Giants. Sanchez completely imploded while Cabrera blossomed into one of the best hitters in the NL. But the Royals flipped Sanchez for Jeremy Guthrie who tossed no-hit ball into the 7th on Sunday for Kansas City, and now Melky has tested positive for steroids. What are your thoughts on this whole ridiculous situation?

Mike Vamosi: Given the need for pitching the Royals traded what seemed to be a surplus of outfielders having Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson having good seasons in triple-A Omaha in 2011 (the Storm Chasers won the PCL with both playing a part) so it looked like a good deal. Fan quickly soured after the first start Sanchez made in beating the Angels in Anaheim where he fell off the wagon. It took Guthrie a couple starts to get Coors Field out of his system but when the news came out I think KC fans are starting to feel better about not locking up the Melkman even with having Jeff Francoeur now locked up this year and next.

RK: Speaking of Guthrie, what was your thoughts on the play that broke up Guthrie’s no-hitter on Sunday, a relatively routine groundball to short that Alcides Escobar made a bad throw on and Eric Hosmer was unable to scoop? Do you think an error should have been charged on the play?

MV: Speaking of Guthrie, he seems to be working well with pitching coach Dave Eiland who’s in his first season in Kansas City. Even more helpful is working with Salvador Perez who’s one of the best young catchers in MLB and made his debut last year at the Trop against the Rays. I was at his Tuesday start against the A’s which he trumped on Sunday with 7 2/3 innings getting a no-decision. The play in question I really thought should’ve been ruled an error by the official scorer at Kauffman Stadium, Escobar and Hosmer have made that play before but the fact Paul Konerko was three steps from reaching makes me feel it was an error on someone. Sure the White Sox did get a hit making the point moot but being four outs to the teams first no-hitter since 1991 was rough given how hosting the All-Star Game has been one of the few highlights this season.

RK: Always loved the story of Jarrod Dyson, who has gone from 50th round pick to a solid centerfielder for the Royals, stealing 22 bases in 2012. What do you think about Dyson’s accent to a semi-regular player? How interesting is it to see a longshot like Dyson in the big leagues alongside former top prospects like Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Alcides Escobar?

MV: Dyson filled in admirabl7 when Cain was hurt the first week of the season in Oakland with a groin injury. Until this year he’s just been a pinch runner late in the game for KC but showed value playing in center during a large chunk of the season. He’s been a threat whenever he gets on base and actually got the go ahead run when he game in to run for Butler on Sunday. Your right in that it’s a great story making it to the majors given the fact he wasn’t one of the unheralded prospects. His value should continue to rise as the teams speed guy/fourth outfielder in the coming years.

RK: Luke Hochevar has never lived up to expectations since the Royals’ drafted him 1st overall in 2006, the year before the Rays selected ace David Price with the 1st overall pick. Hochevar has had his moments, including his great start against the Rays when they were in Kansas City, but has never managed an ERA below 4.80 any season in the big leagues and has his ERA at 5.24 this season. Hochevar still shows electric stuff but has simply never put it together for any significant stretch and turns 29 in September. How would you assess Hochevar’s time in Kansas City? Do you think there’s any hope for Hochevar in his final two seasons under contract with the Royals?

MV: Hochevar has been maddening inconsistent during his time with the Royals, the trend has been bad in the first half but better in the second half. This season it seems like he might be starting to figure it out and if he can it helps Kansas City’s need for starting pitching which hopefully becomes front of the rotation stuff. Hopefully he can become consistent so the twitter hashtag us KC fans use #HochevarMeltdownInning can finally be retired. His record is probably better than what it currently is but the ERA you addressed has actually done down since a rough April and May. He’ll be with the team given the lack of options but 2012 has shown that he might of turned some kind of a corner for the team.

Everyone at RCG would like to thank Mike for talking to us, and please check out Kings of Kauffman to get some information on the enemy as they come into Tampa Bay this weekend.