Get to know the players on the Kansas City Royals as they face the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series. This is the first World Series appearance for the Royals since winning the 1985 championship.
NORI AOKI, RF
AGE: 32 | BORN: Japan
2014 STATS: .285 BA, .349 OBP, .360 SLG, 1 HR, 17 SB
POSTSEASON STATS: .259 BA (7-for-27), .344 OBP, .259 SLG, 0 HR, 1 SB
The Brewers traded Aoki to the Royals for reliever Will Smith in December 2013. Aoki struggled during the first half of the season, batting .255 with a .324 OBP through July 20. But in his final 58 games, Aoki batted .325 with a .384 OBP and 14 extra-base hits.
BILLY BUTLER, DH
AGE: 28 | BORN: Orange Park, FL
2014 STATS: .271 BA, .323 OBP, .379 SLG, 9 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .222 BA (6-for-27), .303 OBP, .296 SLG, 0 HR
Butler, a self-professed foodie, is nicknamed “Country Breakfast.” He also has his own brand of barbecue sauce, “Billy’s Hit It A Ton Barbecue Sauce.” Butler slumped badly through the season’s first two months and was batting .248 with a .300 OBP and one home run on June 2. He hit .286 with eight home runs and 23 doubles in his final 94 games.
LORENZO CAIN, CF
AGE: 28 | BORN: Valdosta, GA
2014 STATS: .301 BA, .339 OBP, .412 SLG, 5 HR, 28 SB
POSTSEASON STATS: .353 BA (12-for-34), .379 OBP, .441 SLG, 0 HR, 2 SB
The Royals acquired Cain from Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke trade. Cain was 8-for-15 (.533) with two walks and two doubles and played spectacular defense in the ALCS vs. the Orioles, winning the MVP award.
TIM COLLINS, LHP
AGE: 25 | BORN: Worcester, MA
2014 STATS: 3.86 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 15 K, 11 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 0.00 ERA (0.2 IP), 0.00 WHIP, 1 K, 0 BB
Collins was traded from the Blue Jays to the Braves on July 14, 2010. He remained with Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate for 17 days before he was sent, along with current San Francisco centerfielder Gregor Blanco and a third player, to the Royals for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.
WADE DAVIS, RHP
AGE: 29 | BORN: Lake Wales, FL
2014 STATS: 1.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 109 K, 23 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 0.96 ERA (9.1 IP), 0.75 WHIP, 10 K, 2 BB
Davis was a starter with Tampa Bay from 2009-11, recording a 4.22 ERA in 64 games. He shifted to relief in 2012 and showed glimpses of his potential as a late-inning ace, with a 2.43 ERA and 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 54 appearances. Davis was traded, with James Shields and Elliot Johnson, to the Royals in December 2012 for top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. Davis struggled in the Royals rotation in 2013, logging a 5.32 ERA in 31 games (24 starts), before finding success in the pen in 2014.
DANNY DUFFY, LHP
AGE: 25 | BORN: Goleta, CA
2014 STATS: 2.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 113 K, 53 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 0.00 ERA (1 IP), 1.00 WHIP, 1 K
Duffy had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has been a much better pitcher since. In 26 games (all starts) before the injury, he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. In 36 games (30 starts) since the elbow ligament replacement surgery, he has a 2.44 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Lefthanders hit just .137 with a .225 OBP against Duffy in 2014.
JARROD DYSON, OF
AGE: 30 | BORN: McComb, MS
2014 STATS: .269 BA, .324 OBP, .327 SLG, 1 HR, 36 SB
POSTSEASON STATS: .000 BA (0-for-6), .143 OBP, 1 SB
Dyson is 120-for-140 in stolen base attempts in five seasons, an 85.7-percent success rate. He’s stolen at least 30 bases each of the past three seasons despite not getting more than 330 plate appearances.
ALCIDES ESCOBAR, SS
AGE: 27 | BORN: Venezuela
2014 STATS: .285 BA, .317 OBP, .377 SLG, 3 HR, 31 SB
POSTSEASON STATS: .278 BA (10-for-36), .297 OBP, .417 SLG, 1 HR, 1 SB
The Brewers traded Escobar to the Royals in December 2010 as part of the Zack Greinke deal. Escobar has hit .330 with a .366 OBP in 50 games batting eighth and .362 with a .397 OBP in 16 games leading off in 2014. He’s hit .244 with a .266 OBP in all other lineup spots combined.
BRANDON FINNEGAN, LHP
AGE: 21 | BORN: Fort Worth, TX
2014 STATS: 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10 K, 1 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 4.15 ERA (4.1 IP), 1.61 WHIP, 3 K, 3 BB
The Royals selected Finnegan with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft out of TCU, where he had pitched in the 2014 College World Series. He played 13 games in the minors, posting a 1.33 ERA and 0.88 WHIP at Single-A Advanced and Double-A before making his MLB debut on Sept. 6. Finnegan worked seven games in the regular season before he was added to the Royals’ playoff roster.
JASON FRASOR, RHP
AGE: 37 | BORN: Chicago, IL
2014 STATS: 2.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 46 K, 18 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 0.00 ERA (3 IP), 0.66 WHIP, 1 K, 1 BB
Frasor was selected by the Tigers in the 33rd round of the 1999 draft. The only other players to make the majors from that round were Darren Clarke (two games), Bo Hart (88 games) and Shawn Hill (45 games).
ALEX GORDON, LF
AGE: 30 | BORN: Lincoln, NE
2014 STATS: .266 BA, .351 OBP, .432 SLG, 19 HR, 12 SB
POSTSEASON STATS: .222 BA (6-for-27), .400 OBP, .444 SLG, 1 HR, 3 SB
As a third baseman, Gordon was selected No. 2 overall by the Royals in the 2005 draft. He was rated the No. 13 prospect in MLB prior to the 2006 season and the No. 2 prospect prior to the 2007 season. He played just one year in the minors, at Double-A, before making his MLB debut on April 2, 2007. But Gordon struggled as a third baseman and shuttled between MLB and the minors for the next several years. From 2009-10, he played 105 games in the minors and 123 in the majors. Gordon broke out in 2011 as a leftfielder and has hit .283 with a .356 OBP and 76 home runs during the last four seasons.
TERRANCE GORE, LF
AGE: 23 | BORN: Macon, GA
2014 STATS: .000 BA, .500 OBP, 5 SB POSTSEASON STATS: Does not have a plate appearance; 3 SB
Gore was 168-for-185 in stolen base attempts in four minor-league seasons, a 90.8-percent success rate. He hasn’t been caught in eight MLB attempts during the regular season and postseason.
JEREMY GUTHRIE, RHP
AGE: 35 | BORN: Roseburg, OR
2014 STATS: 4.13 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 124 K, 49 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 1.80 ERA (5 IP), 1.00 WHIP, 2 K, 2 BB
The Royals sent former Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to the Rockies on July 20, 2012, to get Guthrie, who had a 6.35 ERA in 19 games (15 starts). He pitched to a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts with Kansas City the rest of the year and re-signed with the team in the offseason. Guthrie was valedictorian of his senior class at Ashland High School. His Stanford bio says he “did not pitch or even touch a baseball for two seasons (1999-2000) while on a Mormon mission in Spain.”
KELVIN HERRERA, RHP
AGE: 24 | BORN: Dominican Republic
2014 STATS: 1.41 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 59 K, 26 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 1.08 ERA (8.1 IP), 0.96 WHIP, 10 K, 2 BB
Herrera has not surrendered a home run since July 26, 2013 – a span of 102 games, including the postseason – when he served one up to Conor Gillaspie of the White Sox.
GREG HOLLAND, RHP
AGE: 28 | BORN: Marion, NC
2014 STATS: 1.44 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 90 K, 20 BB, 46 saves
POSTSEASON STATS: 1.13 ERA (8 IP), 1.00 WHIP, 10 K, 5 BB, 6 saves
Holland is 113-for-124 in save opportunities since 2011, a 91-percent success rate. Of the 11 runners he inherited during the past two seasons, only two scored. His 15 pitches per game in 2014 was the lowest rate of his career.
ERIC HOSMER, 1B
AGE: 24 | BORN: South Miami, FL
2014 STATS: .270 BA, .318 OBP, .398 SLG, 9 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .448 BA (13-for-29), .556 OBP, .759 SLG, 2 HR
Hosmer was hitting .267 with a .312 OBP and six home runs on July 31 when he re-aggravated a hand injury, requiring a month-long stint on the disabled list. He hit .287 with a .343 OBP and .489 slugging percentage in 27 games upon his return. Hosmer finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and won a Gold Glove in 2013.
OMAR INFANTE, 2B
AGE: 32 | BORN: Venezuela
2014 STATS: .252 BA, .295 OBP, .337 SLG, 6 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .206 BA (6-for-29), .303 OBP, .206 SLG
Infante was traded to the Cubs by his first team, the Tigers, in 2007 for outfielder Jacque Jones. Five years and two Infante trades later, the Tigers reacquired the second baseman, now with the Marlins, along with Anibal Sanchez for three prospects. Infante hit a respectable .276 in the first half of 2014, but tanked with a .223 average and .268 OBP in the second half.
ERIK KRATZ, C
AGE: 34 | BORN: Telford, PA
2014 STATS: .276 BA, .290 OBP, .517 SLG, 2 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: Does not have a plate appearance
Kratz has played with Philadelphia, Toronto and Kansas City since 2012 and, though he hasn’t shown an ability to hit (.225 average) or get on-base (.280 OBP), he has 23 home runs and a .424 slugging percentage in 448 at-bats.
MIKE MOUSTAKAS, 3B
AGE: 26 | BORN: Los Angeles, CA
2014 STATS: .212 BA, .271 OBP, .361 SLG, 15 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .241 BA (7-for-29), .267 OBP, .655 SLG, 4 HR
Moustakas was demoted to Triple-A in late May after hitting .152 with a .223 OBP through the Royals’ first 45 games. He was recalled on June 1 and hit a little better for the remainder of the year, batting .235 with a .289 OBP and 11 home runs.
JAYSON NIX, INF
AGE: 32 | BORN: Dallas, TX
2014 STATS: .133 BA, .188 OBP, .173 SLG
POSTSEASON STATS: 0-for-1, K
The Royals added Nix in place of rookie Christian Colon ahead of Tuesday's opener. "Christian's more of an offensive option and Nix is more of a defensive option. Breaking it down and looking at all of our scenarios, especially in the National League, we decided to go with the defensive option," Royals manager Ned Yost said before Game 1.
SALVADOR PEREZ, C
AGE: 24 | BORN: Venezuela
2014 STATS: .260 BA, .289 OBP, .403 SLG, 17 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .118 BA (4-for-34), .143 OBP, .118 SLG
Perez had played just 39 games in the majors when he signed a five-year, $7-million extension with the Royals that included three team options. He’s hit .280 with a .310 OBP and 41 home runs during the first three seasons of the deal.
JAMES SHIELDS, RHP
AGE: 32 | BORN: Newhall, CA
2014 STATS: 3.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 180 K, 44 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 5.62 ERA (16 IP), 1.62 WHIP, 15 K, 5 BB
Shields has been given the nickname “Big Game James.” Yet, in nine postseason starts, he’s 3-4 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, giving up 61 hits in 50.1 innings. Batters have hit .258 against him in 1,116 career high-leverage at-bats. He has a .257 batting average against in medium leverage situations and a .254 average against in low leverage situations.
JASON VARGAS, LHP
AGE: 31 | BORN: Apple Valley, CA
2014 STATS: 3.71 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 128 K, 41 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 2.38 ERA (11.1 IP), 0.79 WHIP, 8 K, 4 BB
Vargas was drafted by the Marlins in the second round in 2004 and was traded to the Mets in 2006, with Adam Bostick, for pitchers Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens. He started two games for the Mets in 2007, allowing 17 hits and 14 earned runs in 10.1 innings. In December 2008, he was part of the three-team trade that netted the Mets relievers Sean Green and J.J. Putz, the Mariners Kendrys Morales, Franklin Gutierrez and Vargas and the Indians Joe Smith.
YORDANO VENTURA, RHP
AGE: 23 | BORN: Dominican Republic
2014 STATS: 3.20 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 159 K, 69 BB
POSTSEASON STATS: 4.85 ERA (13 IP), 1.23 WHIP, 8 K, 4 BB
Ventura’s average fastball velocity of 96 mph was the second fastest in MLB in 2014, among pitchers qualified for the ERA title. Angels starter Garrett Richards had the only faster fastball at 96.4 mph.
JOSH WILLINGHAM, LF
AGE: 35 | BORN: Florence, AL
2014 STATS: .215 BA, .346 OBP, .397 SLG, 14 HR
POSTSEASON STATS: .500 BA (1-for-2), .500 OBP, .500 SLG, 0 HR
Willingham is likely to see any World Series at-bats as a pinch hitter, a role he’s struggled in during his career. Willingham is 14-for-65 (.215) with a .292 OBP and three home runs in 72 plate appearances as a pinch hitter.