Royals Final Report

Best Player: Johnny Giavotella sometimes gets lost behind corner infielders Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. But Giavotella, a 2008 second-round pick out of New Orleans, was leading the minors with 153 hits in 110 games with Triple-A Omaha when he was called up Aug. 5. The 24-year-old second baseman was hitting .338/.390/.481 with 34 doubles, nine home runs, 72 RBIs and 67 runs when he was summoned to Kansas City.

He doubled in his big league debut off Rick Porcello. Two days later, he hit his first major league home run off Max Scherzer. Giavotella, who led the Texas League with 168 hits in 2010, has been working to improve his defense. His bat should keep him in the lineup.

Best Pitcher: As well as righthander Jake Odorizzi pitched all season, it's hard to believe he saved his best for last.

Odorizzi, who was the Brewers' top prospect last year before coming to the Royals in the Zack Greinke deal, went 5-4, 2.87 with 103 strikeouts and 22 walks in 78 innings with high Class A Wilmington. The 21-year-old earned a midseason promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas and allowed two runs or fewer five times while going 5-3, 4.72 in 12 starts. In his final start of the season, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Arkansas. He left after seven scoreless innings, allowing just one single in the Sept. 2 victory.

He has the stuff to go with the stats, including a 92-94 mph fastball and a knee-buckling curveball. He finished the season a combined 10-7, 3.73 with 157 strikeouts and 44 walks in 147 innings. In 23 starts, he allowed 134 hits in 147 innings while striking out 157 and walking 44.

Keep An Eye On: Kelvin Herrera started the season as a question mark with Wilmington, as nagging elbow injuries impeded his development the previous two years. A healthy Herrera proved too good for the Carolina League, as he blazed through the circuit behind a 95-96 mph fastball and late-sinking changeup. He climbed through Northwest Arkansas (4-0, 1.75 in 36 innings) before finishing strong in Omaha (18 strikeouts, six saves in 15 innings). Herrera, 21, finished the season 7-1, 1.64 with 14 saves and held opponents to a .181 average.
• After being released by the Royals and Braves this season, outfielder Hilton Richardson surfaced as a walk-on wide receiver at Boise State.
• Righthander Keaton Hayenga, who was facing another shoulder surgery, opted to retire. Hayenga went a combined 8-20, 5.25 over three years and appeared in only four games this season with low Class A Kane County.