Tag: Eric Hosmer

Chukars Notebook: Road tripping

chukars-extra-125x125

The Idaho Falls Chukars’ first-half road struggles could be largely explained by luck, or lack thereof. Their most recent road trip was different.

Close losses made up the bulk of the Chukars’ 7-12 first-half road record. The Chukars went 1-6 at the Billings Mustangs and Great Falls Voyagers from Aug. 4 through

Wednesday. They were outscored by 25 runs.

Diagnosing I.F.’s road woes is difficult if not counterproductive. Teams go through slumps. The fact that the Chukars’ slump was away from Melaleuca Field could be coincidental. But manager Justin Gemoll saw some signs that explain the road struggles.

The Chukars fell to 8-18 on the road for the season following the Montana trip. Through Friday, that record was tied for the second worst in the Pioneer League. Their home record, meanwhile, was a league-best 18-6.

Why the polarization?

“At home you’re more familiar with the surroundings, you’re in a routine, Gemoll said. “(On the road) some of it is they’re going to a new place and they don’t know where to eat. A lot of it’s unfamiliarity.”

Discomfort can carry over to the field. Gemoll said his players, mainly the hitters, tried to do to much on the recent trip. They’d often swing at pitches they’d normally take.

“I told the guys, ‘Hey, relax,’ Gemoll said. “Sometimes you try so hard, you try harder and harder, and you dig yourself into a hole.”

The results have reflected those impatient approaches, especially the last seven games. The Chukars averaged 3.1 runs on 7.3 hits on the road trip. They now average 6.0 runs per game on the road, compared to 8.5 at home (through Friday).

The pitching staff has been more consistent, at least from a run prevention standpoint. The Chukars allowed 6.2 runs at home and 6.4 on the road going into Saturday.

But these results don’t necessarily point to an overarching problem. Randomness is rampant over small samples, from three-game series to 76-game seasons. The Chukars haven’t played enough games to make definitive conclusions about performance. For instance, the Chukars went 1 for 25 with runners in scoring position in their three-game sweep at Billings. There’s little evidence to suggest that major league hitters perform better than their peers with runners in scoring position.

The Chukars, of course, are far away from the big leagues. Some are teenagers. Many are in their first professional seasons. Road trips likely affect them more than seasoned vets.

“Professional baseball takes a toll on your body and your mind,” Gemoll said. “It’s a long grind. Get them used to it now.”

CHUKARS IN THE INFIELD

The Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd published a story Monday about a good problem for the Kansas City Royals: they have a logjam at third base.

Former Chukar Chelsor Cuthbert currently resides at third. The rookie is hitting .301 with a .795 OPS and 10 home runs in 337 plate appearances through Saturday filling in for all-star Mike Moustakas (also a former Chukar), who is out for the year with a knee injury.

Moustakas has been Kansas City’s starting third baseman for the last five years and was a key piece of the 2014 and 2015 World Series teams. First baseman Eric Hosmer (another former Chukar) and shortstop Alcides Escobar have been equally, if not more, valuable. Second base is occupied by Kansas City’s top prospect and former Chukar Raul Mondesi.

Highly touted prospect Hunter Dozier (and, you guessed it, a former Chukar) is playing third base for Triple-A Omaha. Dozier has made starts at first base and in the outfield, according to Dodd, the Star’s Royals beat writer. The Royals also think Cuthbert can play multiple positions, including second base, per Dodd. Kansas City could stick one of their infielders at designated hitter next season, as well.

There are scenarios where Kansas City’s entire infield will be made up of former Chukars next season. That would involve moving on from Escobar, who the Royals have a team option on for 2017. Mondesi would then move to shortstop (his main position in the minors), and Cuthbert would transition to second. The new infield would look like this: Hosmer/Dozier at first, Cuthbert at second, Mondesi at short, Moustakas/Dozier at third and Salvador Perez (a 2008-2009 Chukar) at catcher.

These position decisions, of course, won’t be made until at least the offseason.

STANDINGS UPDATE

The Chukars are 4-9 in the second half, leaving them three games back of Pioneer League South leader Grand Junction. The Chukars have 25 games left in the half to make up the deficit.

If the Orem Owlz (5-8 second half) finish first in the division for the second half, the Chukars would need to come in second to make the playoffs.

WHO’S HOT?

OF Luke Willis

Willis has quietly been one of I.F.’s best hitters this season, in part because he doesn’t play everyday. Since July 28, his batting average has risen from .311 to .341. Willis has gone 14 for 32 (.438) with two walks and no extra-base hits in that span.

WHO’S NOT?

OF Nick Heath

Heath’s batting average reached .297 on Aug. 4. He has recorded one hit since.

The left-hander has gone 1 for 22 with two walks and five strikeouts in his last six games. His average now sits at .264.

Chukars Notebook: Q&A with Meibrys Viloria

Idaho Falls' Meibrys Viloria slides into third base with a triple against the Orem Owlz on June 24 at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls’ Meibrys Viloria slides into third base with a triple against the Orem Owlz on June 24 at Melaleuca Field. (Monte LaOrange / mlaorange@postregister.com)

Four years ago, professional baseball scout Rafael Miranda told Orlando Estevez to check out a 15 year-old catcher/shortstop from Cartagena, Colombia.

Estevez was, and still is, the Kansas City Royals’ coordinator of Latin American scouting. The 15-year-old was Meibrys Viloria.

Estevez was in Colombia when he got Miranda’s call, so he made a short trip to see Viloria. Viloria’s bat, athleticism and makeup impressed Estevez so much, the Royals signed Viloria to a minor league contract a year later.

Last season with Burlington, Viloria didn’t record an extra-base hit. He has 20 extra-baggers in 21 games for the Idaho Falls Chukars this season, his third in the Royals’ farm system. Going into Saturday, Viloria led the Pioneer League in batting average (.462), on-base percentage (.511), slugging percentage (.859), doubles (13) and RBIs (28).

Viloria sat down with the Post Register on Thursday to discuss his blazing start to the season.

Miguel Castellano, brother of Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano, translated for Viloria. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Have you done anything differently at the plate this year?

“One thing that has changed is that I’ve tried to swing more (than in previous seasons). Have better swings to whatever pitch is coming. Whatever I see in the zone, I’m swinging.”

Are you surprised you haven’t been promoted to Single-A Lexington or another level?

“I’m not surprised at all. I’m just trying to play very well and just wait and do my best. Whenever the time comes, I’m going to take it. But I’m not worried and I’m not waiting for it. I’m just going to do my best, and that’s it.”

How amazing did it feel to hit the walk-off grand slam against Ogden on July 5?

“It was a really good experience. I just waited for the right pitch and I swung. That’s what came.”

First walk-off home run in your career?

“The first walk-off in my life.”

You watched that ball for a few seconds. What explained that?

“(Smiles) It’s the last inning, so when you get a hit to make your team win, you feel amazing. You don’t know what to do. I was really excited because of the moment.”

On July 2, Grand Junction pitcher Heath Holder was ejected after hitting you in the back with a pitch. Why do you think he did that?

“It was because of the home run I hit earlier in the game. I stayed at home plate for a bit (and flipped my bat). It’s disrespectful to do that, so that’s why he did it.”

What was your reaction to getting hit?

“I knew that was going to happen at any time. I got up to the plate and knew it was coming.”

What can you improve on as a player?

“On defense, the throws to second base.”

Describe your life growing up in Cartagena.

“I was kind of poor. My mom always supported me to keep playing. When I got to travel to other cities (for baseball), my mom did everything possible to make it happen. When I got the chance to come here, I just took it.”

FROM CHUKARS TO ALL-STARS

Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez are two of the most famous former Chukars. They improved their resumes on Tuesday at theMLB All-Star Game in San Diego.

Both Hosmer and Perez hit home runs in the second inning. Those two blasts provided enough runs (three) to give the American League a victory over the National League.

The AL ultimately prevailed 4-2, and Hosmer, who went 2 for 3, was named the MVP of his first All-Star Game.

Hosmer, a first baseman, made 15 plate appearances for the Chukars as an 18-year-old in 2008.

Perez spent parts of two seasons with the Chukars. The catcher made 46 plate appearances for I.F. at the age of 18 in 2008 and made 259 plate appearances the following season.

BUTLER BACK

Oakland Athletics first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler made his near-annual trip to Idaho Falls this week as the MLB had it’s All-Star break.

Butler visited I.F. the same time last year and in previous years. The former Chukar lived in I.F. during the offseason from 2007 to 2011 and met his wife, Katie Hansen, there in 2004.

Butler played 74 games for the Chukars in 2004 and became an All-Star with the Royals.

STANDINGS UPDATE

The Chukars (16-12) sit a game behind first-Orem (17-11) in the Pioneer League South standings with 10 games left in the first half.

WHO’S HOT?

OF Yeison Melo

Melo has ridden waves of production this season. His batting average reached a season-high .357 on June 28 but fell to .275on July 6. Going into Saturday, Melo had gone 16 for 34 (.470 average) with a home run since, and his OPS rose from .711 to .850.

WHO’S NOT?

RHP Igol Feliz

Feliz had a 2.76 ERA through his first three starts. That number ballooned to 6.48 his last two starts.

So what went wrong? First off, he allowed 20 hits in 8.2 innings pitched, leading to 13 earned runs. He also allowed five walks and only struck out three. It’s hard to limit runs when you’re not missing bats and not throwing strikes.

Ex-Chukar update, July 7

Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (2004 Chukar) tied Bo Jackson with the 10th most home runs in Royals history June 28. The homer against the Minnesota Twins was the 109th of Butler’s career with the Royals, tying him with Jackson in the club’s history.

…First baseman Eric Hosmer (2008 Chukar) earned the Kansas City Royals’ player of the month award for June. After hitting one home run the first two months of the season, Hosmer jacked six homers in June while hitting .303 and driving in 17 runs. He is hitting .359 in the seventh inning or later, third best in the American League. Continue reading “Ex-Chukar update, July 7”

Duffy nearing MLB return; June 30 ex-Chukar update

The Kansas City Royals reinstated left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy (2010 Chukar) from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and he threw five shutout innings for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers, later in the day. He had made three previous rehab starts while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Duffy made 20 starts for Kansas City in 2011 and six starts for the Royals in 2012 before his injury.

… Right-handed pitcher Santiago Garrido (2009-10 Chukar) threw one scoreless inning for the North Division All-Stars on Tuesday in the Texas League All-Star Game. Garrido was the second pitcher of the night for the North Division and induced a ground ball, a fly ball and a lineout in nine pitches during a perfect inning.

Continue reading “Duffy nearing MLB return; June 30 ex-Chukar update”

Weekly ex-Chukar update

  • Journeyman RP David Pauley has finally found a home with the Seattle Mariners. The 2001 Idaho Falls Padre made brief appearances with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 and 2008. But it’s in Seattle that he’s really shined. Despite surrendering two runs and taking the loss Thursday, the right-handed reliever leads all Mariners pitchers in ERA, 2.06, and WHIP, 0.97, entering Saturday. He spent time with the Padres, Red Sox and Orioles before joining the Mariners in 2010.
  • The Kansas City Royals recalled SP Danny Duffy (2010) to the Major League club Tuesday to face the Chicago White Sox. Duffy responded and pitched seven innings for his second big league win, besting the White Sox’s SP Jake Peavy, a 1999 Idaho Falls Padre, to do it. To make room for Duffy, the Royals sent RP Everett Teaford (2006) back to Triple-A. In 17 appearances with the Royals this year, Teaford has a 2.25 ERA.

Continue reading “Weekly ex-Chukar update”

Ex-Chukar honored by Baseball America

Former Chukar catcher Wil Myers (2009) was named one of the Top 50 midseason prospects by Baseball America on Friday. Myers, who has since moved to the outfield, ranked 17th on the list.

The Royals are used to dominating these lists in recent years. But with the promotions of Eric Hosmer (2008) and Mike Moustakas (2007), there are fewer ex-Chukars near the top of the list.

Moose promoted to K.C.

With the Royals calling up third baseman Mike Moustakas (2007 Chukar) to the big leagues, that makes seven ex-Chukars on the MLB roster.

The seven includes: Moustakas, first baseman/designated hitter Billy Butler (2004 Chukar), first baseman Eric Hosmer (2008), left-handed starting pitcher Danny Duffy (2010), right-handed reliever Blake Wood (2006) and Greg Holland (2007), and left-handed reliever Everett Teaford (2006).

Another ex-Chukar joins Royals

The revolving door on the Kansas City Royals roster continues to benefit former Idaho Falls Chukars as the club called up right-handed reliever Greg Holland on Thursday.

This is the second trip to the majors for Holland, who made his professional debut in Idaho Falls as a closer in 2007. Holland, 25, threw 182/3 innings last summer with the Royals and posted a 6.75 ERA and 23 strikeouts.

Continue reading “Another ex-Chukar joins Royals”

Two ex-Chukars promoted to bigs

A pair of former Idaho Falls Chukars hit the big time Tuesday morning when the Kansas City Royals promoted both Danny Duffy and Everett Teaford to the big leagues to make their professional debuts.

Teaford, who appeared in 15 games as a starting pitcher for Idaho Falls in 2006, made his debut Tuesday, tossing 11/3 innings out of the bullpen. He gave up two hits, one of which was a solo home run to Cleveland’s Asdrubal Cabrera. He also walked a batter.

Continue reading “Two ex-Chukars promoted to bigs”

Royals call up Eric Hosmer (2008 Chukar)

With the way first baseman and 2008 Idaho Falls Chukar Eric Hosmer was hitting in Triple-A, the Kansas City Royals had no choice. It was time to call him up to the big leagues.

The Royals did just that Thursday, calling up the 2008 third-overall pick from the Omaha Storm Chasers and making him the third ex-Chukar on the Royals’ roster. To make room for him, the Royals sent first baseman Kila Ka’aihue down to AAA. Hosmer is expected to debut today.

Continue reading “Royals call up Eric Hosmer (2008 Chukar)”