Friday, August 15, 2008

Kaaihue: Fluke or find?

Throughout the season there have been rumblings throughout baseball that Kila Kaaihue's breakout season is nothing more than a fluke. While that's not entirely impossible I tend to be one who believes the hype.
I mean, the likelihood Kaaihue hits .300 30+hr and knocks in 120 at the big league level realistically is not what I expect him to do. However, after watching this guy hit the past two years at Wichita/Northwest Arkansas, I believe more in his abilities than either of the presedential candidates. Whatever that tells you.
His swing is short and quick, yet it stays in the zone for quite some time. He extends his hands well and really has some drive behind the ball. During the TL All-Star game at Hammons Field this year Kaaihue hit some shots in the Derby and the game that left both fans and players alike in awe.
I'm not talking those high booming shots that take 10 minutes to hit the ground. These were line drives traveling 400+ feet that were in the air all of about three seconds.
In a recent radio interview Royals Director of Player Development J.J. Piccolo called Kaaihue a "late bloomer" and said the 24 year old finally seems to have figured out professional pitching.
With a family full of professionals (Kila's father Kala Sr. and brother Kala Jr. both played in in the minors) the bloodlines point to Kila sticking around for a while.
It's just hard to figure what the Royals brass will do. I mean, there's nothing keeping him from staying in AAA this season with an invite to Spring Training. That seems to be the likely choice as Kaaihue would have to be added to the 40 man roster for a call up. That means someone is kicked off and I'm not sure the Royals are giddy about doing that, especially for a player who would figure to get little playing time down the stretch anyways.
Something has to happen though. If he keeps up with this pace (already 7 dingers at Omaha hitting .339) Dayton Moore will have no choice but to make room for him. Ryan Shealy seems to warrant another opportunity as well. Might that mean Ross Gload is history? I just don't think Hillman is ready to let go.

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