Balfour equals Lloyd’s record for most wins by an Aussie

LloydWith his win over the Red Sox today Grant Balfour has equalled Graeme Lloyd’s record for the most wins by an Aussie with 30 wins.Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game Three

Graeme’s wins were over 10 yrs in the Majors [1993-2003] and 568 games.   His lifetime record is 30-36 and 4.04ERA.

Grant’s wins were also over 10yrs [2003-2014] and 518 games.   His record at the moment is 30-23 and 3.47ERA.

The big difference between the two is the number of saves.   Graeme finished his career with 17 whilst Grant, who has been a closer in recent years, currently has 83 in 105 opportunities.

Balfour gets a win – is he over the worst?

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Has Grant Balfour turned things around at last.

He came on in the 10th against Boston today and worked a scoreless inning for the win. He did give up a one-out single in the 10th to Christian Vazquez, but then picked off pinch-runner Jemile Weeks at first base.

Grant has looked better in his 3 outings against Boston, all being scoreless affairs and his velocity seems to risen a little as he has thrown a couple of 94mph fast balls which might suggest that he has worked out some kinks in his action.   Certainly one swallow does not a summer make – but it’s a start at least.

Video:- Balfour picks off Weeks

Hendriks to return to KC Tuesday

Hendriks was impressive according to his manager

Hendriks was impressive according to his manager.    “We’ll be using him.”

Liam Hendriks, who pitched brilliantly for seven innings Wednesday, will return to the big-league club Tuesday after being optioned to Northwest Arkansas last Wednesday in a procedural move.  . Northwest Arkansas’ season ends Monday.

KC Manager Ned Yost said he plans to use Hendriks in middle relief when he returns.

“He was impressive,” Yost said. “Kid comes in, throws strikes and he wasn’t scared. We’ll be using him.”

AAA – Kandilas makes his debut with the Sky Sox

kandilas1David Kandilas made his debut with the Rockies’ AAA team, The Colorado Springs Sky Sox, today against Omaha and went 1-5 whilst playing RF.

It’s David highest level in his 6yr career after spending the first 3 years at rookie level followed by 2 years at A ball before his promotion this year from Advanced A to AA.  Whilst he didn’t set the world on fire statistically, hitting .194 in 21 games with Tulsa, clearly he must have shown something to like which would warrant the promotion this week to AAA, just one step from the Majors.

AA – A scouting report on Warwick Saupold

Saupold8By Dan Weigel/minorleagueball.com

I hadn’t heard much about starter Warwick Saupold heading into the matchup and didn’t plan on writing about him, but his impressive outing prompted a report.

A righty with an average 6’1″, 195 pound frame, Saupold sat 89-92 with his fastball, showing good movement, control, and aggression in the zone with the pitch. His best offering was a sharp overhand curveball with 11-5 movement that generated a lot of swings and misses. He showed the ability to move the pitch around, throwing it for strikes and as a chase pitch in the dirt, and I was impressed at how the offering did not lose its shape when he threw it in the zone.

Saupold’s third offering was a changeup that was solid-average and generated a few swings and misses. It was not used as often as the fastball or the curve, but the offering featured similar arm side run to the fastball and was thrown with good arm speed and conviction, adding to the deception. Although it is tempting to throw him into the “just another righty pitcher at Double-A” category, last night’s look showed me that he could be more than that. He demonstrated a plus curveball and two other average pitches, a good feel for his craft and even plus #want when he induced a critical inning ending double play in the seventh to preserve the lead.

Based on this look, I grade Saupold as follows (present grade/future grade): Fastball 45/45; Curveball 60/60; Changeup 45/50; Command 55. That might not be enough to establish himself as a legitimate big league starting pitcher, but he is definitely more than an organizational guy.

Complete Aussie Player List

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Davie Kandilas has been promoted to AAA

He hasn’t played for them yet but the big news this week is the promotion of David Kandilas to AAA-Colorado Springs Sky Sox.   We will watch his games this week with added interest.

Whilst Liam Hendriks has been assigned to AA after his spot start for Kansas City we have kept him on the Major List as we assume the AA assignment is purely administrative as he will surely be added come Sept. 1st when Major League rosters expand.

A number of players remain on the DL. Tim Atherton, Connor MacDonald, Adam Silva

Players remaining on rehab [i.e. they are on extended DL] are:- Dean Aldridge (Tigers), Darryl George, Elliott Hargreaves [Reds], Dakota Mitchell (Reds), Josh Warner [Phillies]

oOo

Majors:  Grant Balfour (Rays), Liam Hendriks (Royals),

Triple-AJames Beresford (Twins),  John Holdzkom (Pirates), David Kandilas [Rockies],

Double-AJohn Hussey (Padres), Matt Kennelly (Braves), Warwick Saupold (Tigers), Stefan Welch (Red Sox).

High-A Tim Atherton [A's], Ryan Battaglia [Indians], Todd Van Steensel [Twins]

Low-ADaniel McGrath [Red Sox], Lewis Thorpe (Twins), Logan Wade [Twins],

Short Season A :  Sam Holland (Padres), Robbie Perkins [Rockies], Sam Street [Pirates].

Rookie:  Jack Barrie [Twins],  Jared Cruz (Braves), Ryan Dale (Royals), Sam Gibbons [Twins], Josh Guyer (Twins), Nathan Hass (Braves), Nick Hutchings (Pirates), Sam Kennelly (Pirates), Ben Leslie [Giants], Todd McDonald (Rangers),  James Philibossian (Tigers), Pita Rona (Orioles), Aaron Sayers [Tigers], Zac Shepherd (Tigers),

Dominican Rookie League: Jake Bowey [Astros], Connor MacDonald (Astros), Lachlan Madden (Astros), Adam Silva [Yankees], Hayden Timberlake [Astros]

Independent Leagues:  Allan de San Miguel [Blue Crabs], Justin Erasmus [Boomers], Cameron Lamb [Frontier Greys], Connar O’Gorman [Amarillo], Ryan Searle [Grand Prairie], Josh Spence [Windy City], Clayton Tanner [Amarillo]

MLBAAP:  Brandon Stenhouse (Yankees)

Rehab:  Dean Aldridge (Tigers), Darryl George [Rays],  Elliott Hargreaves [Reds], Dakota Mitchell (Reds), Josh Warner [Phillies]

Jon Byrne To Officiate Championships:

byrne29Perth native Jon Byrne, who earlier this season became the first ever Australian umpire to officiate an MLB game, has gotten the call to suit up for the Triple-A International League Championship Series AND the Triple-A National Championship Game!

AAA – Beresford, Hendriks – optioned to AA, Holdzkom

hendriks29B

Optioned [temporarily] to AA. Expect Liam to be called back up in early Sept.

In his last 10 games James Beresford hit in 6 of them when he went 8-34, scoring 4 runs and getting 3RBI.   Nothing outstanding it would seem for James but a steady few games which sees him now hitting .276 and 47RBI after 129 games and 500ABs for the Rochester Red Wings.

Liam Hendriks threw in 2 games for the Omaha Storm Chasers this past week before heading up to Kansas City for his successful spot start.   Those two games would have caused front office heads to turn as they were both scoreless affairs and wins for Liam.   He threw 7 innings in the first one and 8 in the 2nd leaving him with a record with the Chasers of 4-1 and 2.83ERA after 5 games.

The Royals have now optioned him to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The move clears a spot for Scott Downs’ return from the disabled list.   You may wonder why he would be rewarded with an assignment to AA.   We are assuming it is purely an administrative move as the Major League rosters expand on Sept. 1st, before Liam would be eligible to pitch again anyway and its almost guaranteed after his seven innings of one-run ball that he would be back with Kansas City in early September.

The Pirates’ John Holdzkom is going from strength to strength it seems.   In his last 10 games with the Indianapolis Indians he had an 8 games scoreless streak and now has a record of 2-0 after 17 games and a 2.75ERA.   It will be interesting to see if he gets a promotion up to the Pirates when the Major League rosters expand on Sept. 1st and so become the first NZ Major Leaguer.

 

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Liam Hendriks: What do the Royals do with this guy?

After a great first start for the Royals, where does Liam Hendriks fit?

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy! - Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy! – Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

By Kevin Ruprecht/royalsreview.com

In a stunning reversal of fortune, Liam Hendriks played the role of Cy Hendriks in his first start for the Royals. Normally, it’s some random Twins pitcher or some other such nonsense who turns in a Cy Young performance against the Royals. That guy normally goes on to do pretty much nothing. This time, the Royals were on the good side of that. Let’s overanalyze his one start for our beloved playoff hunters and see where Hendriks might fit with rosters about to expand.

First, there was a clear gameplan, and it was simple. Throw all the strikes. The Twins, being a team that doesn’t swing very much, would theoretically be vulnerable to a pitcher who can get the ball over the plate and get ahead in the count.

“I was getting ahead, I was getting my first pitch strikes…I was able to keep them off balance,” said Hendriks. Indeed, Hendriks grabbed 20 first pitch strikes against the 25 batters he faced, including those who made contact on the first pitch. The MLB rate for first pitch strikes among starters is 61%, and Hendriks sat at 80%. As for keeping the Twins hitters off balance, Hendriks got 18 foul balls if I counted correctly from Brooks Baseball data. I don’t know if that’s average, but that sure seems like a lot.

Overall, Hendriks threw 70% fastballs and was very successful against a team with strong plate discipline. When GMDM acquired Hendriks, I was hopeful that a new team with a big park and a strong outfield defense would help him out. The Twins and Blue Jays aren’t exactly known for outfield defense. Hendriks’ plan was to pitch to contact, but he got ahead of so many hitters that even a few strikeouts came along for the ride.

For his career in the bigs, Hendriks is a fly ball guy who doesn’t strike out many guys. He sounds a heck of a lot like Jeremy Guthrie, but he hasn’t shown the contact management skills that Guthrie displayed as a member of the Orioles. After a strong first impression, I think there should be a place for Hendriks on the roster in September.

As we head down the stretch, the Royals are positioning themselves to be able to play different kinds of games. They have starters who can log innings, but they also have the middle guys who can take over if someone struggles. We’ve complained about the seemingly excessive pitching staff the Royals have through the main part of the season, but in September, the Royals are going to have tons of pitchers. I’m sure they trust Ventura and Duffy for now, but those guys are probably getting fatigued. Duffy hasn’t thrown more than 100 innings since 2011. Ventura has skipped two starts now for apparently minor ailments, and he’s also reaching a new maximum for innings very soon.

At the very least, Hendriks is a depth option. He’s potentially an improvement over Chen as the 6th guy. I’m not sure I trust his offspeed stuff too much yet, but he can do some nice things with his fastball. I wouldn’t want him exposed too much in a second or third turn through the order. He’s a great spot starter/long relief guy.

A more interesting use of Hendriks would be as a piggy back for Duffy and/or Ventura. This strategy does run the risk of Ned over-managing, but the payoff is the possibility of reducing the times-through-the-order penalty while seeing if Hendriks can be successful over more than one start. Letting Ventura or Duffy throw 3-4 innings and then tossing Hendriks out there for 2-3 innings sounds pretty good to me. It also helps save Ventura and Duffy’s arms. I think Hendriks can stay.

Hendriks finds a new home?

 

hendriks28Aby: Phil Miller/MLB

Liam Hendriks didn’t get the last laugh, exactly, but he got a pretty good one on Wednesday. We’ll see if it lasts this time — Twins fans have been fooled by the Aussie before — but it had to feel great to make such a strong introduction to a new team. And against his old team to boot? “I was pretty excited,” he said. “I liked seeing some of the guys, but it was a good feeling to beat them.”

Hendriks, who recorded a victory in only two of his 28 starts as a Twin, says he’s gained a little velocity since he was waived by the Twins last December, and credits an adjustment to his windup that helps him pitch out of the set position for adding movement to his sinker. He destroyed Triple-A hitters again this year, as he once did in Rochester for the Twins:

A combined 12-2 record and 2.45 ERA for the Jays’ and Royals’ Class AAA teams. “I feel like I can bring it with me this time” to the majors, Hendriks said. “It’s mainly mindset for me — I’m more confident now, and I don’t try to overthink things. I’ve been keeping it simple, and it’s working out really well.”

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Liam Hendriks is dunked by catcher Salvador Perez after the Royals' baseball game against the Minnesota Twins.Source: AP

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Liam Hendriks is dunked by catcher Salvador Perez after the Royals’ baseball game against the Minnesota Twins.Source: AP

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