The recent cagey signing of Adam Kennedy to a minor league deal the other day is yet further evidence that the Rays under Andrew Friedman are just about the best run organization in baseball.

durhambullsNot only are the Rays stocked up and down the system with an incredible array of talented prospects, but they are also stocked in AAA Durham with an amazing collection of major-league ready talent.

These are not just replacement-level mediocrities playing out the string. Virtually everyone on the team could easily be starting in the majors for the right team, and would have a reasonable shot to perform above replacement level.

Check out the projected 2009 opening day starters and rotation of the Durham Bulls:

C John Jaso – .820 OPS last season in AAA
1B Chris Richard – 26 homers, .922 OPS last year in 467 AAA at-bats
2B Adam Kennedy – solid infield glove and .276 avg for 10 seasons in the Show
3B Morgan Ensberg – former All-Star 3B for the Astros is still only 33 years old
SS Reid Brignac – one of the top prospects in the Rays system
LF Justin Ruggiano – .911 OPS including 11 homers and 20 SB in 66 AAA games last year
CF Fernando Perez – 43 SB at AAA last year
RF Matt Joyce – 116 OPS plus for the Tigers last season

SP1 – David Price – 12-1, 2.30 ERA (minors), 0-0, 1.93 (MLB)
SP2 – Wade Davis – 4-2, 2.72 (9 AAA starts)
SP3 – Jeff Neimann – 9-5, 3.59 (AAA)
SP4 – Mitch Talbot – 13-9, 3.86 (AAA)
SP5 – Ben Hendrickson – 10-9, 4.58 (AAA)

So who would have a better record if this team played the Royals 2009 schedule?

In all honesty it would probably be the Royals, but the point is that the Rays are certainly in good shape with some cheap in-house solutions if they run into any injury woes this year.

13 Responses to “Who is better? The Kansas City Royals or the Durham Bulls?”

  1. really? you had to choose the Royals? not like, a team who actually sucks like the Mariners or Padres?

    hate to bring it to ya, while that is good depth, that team would almost assuredly lose 100 if you put them in the bigs.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Like I said, the Royals are better, but I might take Adam Kennedy over Willie Bloomquist.

  3. no argument from me there. :)

  4. Niemann is out of options

  5. Ack, right you are Cork.

    Who is likely to be their other starter at AAA if Neimann starts the year up with the big club?

  6. This is silly. The Royals will compete in the central. That Durham Bulls team would lose 130 games or more in the majors.

  7. Matt, you may be right about the Royals “competing”. But that’s because the AL Central is going to be really bad. 86 wins may take it and the Royals could win in the mid-70s.

    But do you know how hard it is for a team to lose 130 games? The Bulls have enough talent that they may not be the worst.

  8. Lefthander James Houser will be in Durham’s rotation, possibly Jeremy Cummings too.

  9. Milton Friedman says:

    Hellickson is a couple of months away from Durham, look out SD/SEA!

  10. Dude, shameless rip-off.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    JD, fangraphs didn’t rip us off. They just had a very similar idea three weeks after we did. We love fangraphs.

  12. haven’t you noticed, the Royals are slowing improving– as of right now they hold first place.

  13. Nick Kapur says:

    I agree that Zack Greinke has improved dramatically.

    The rest of the Royals, I’m not sure about yet.

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