Royals Rumblings - News for June 27, 2014

Ed Zurga

Hey America, you're looking pretty good today.

Royals Rumblings - News for June 27, 2014

Eric Hosmser is slumping, and he's looking for answers.

The root of his trouble appears to be pitch selection. Contrary to popular belief, Hosmer does not swing at every baseball thrown near him. But he does offer at 50.1 percent of the pitches he sees. On pitches outside the strike zone, he is hacking at a career-high 38.3 percent. His aggression has not been validated: Hosmer is hitting line drives at a career-worst 13.6 percent, down from 22.4 percent in 2013.

"That is what happens when things start to go south for him," one American League scout said. "He tries to swing his way out of it." Under the guidance of new hitting coach Dale Sveum, the Royals’ offense has rebounded. Yet Hosmer continues to flounder.

He looked "defeated" at the plate, remarked one opposing player during this most recent homestand, "like he knows he’s out before he even gets up there."

Homser_k_medium

Nori Aoki is eligible to come off the disabled list July 5. He may have lost his leadoff spot to Lorenzo Cain, and Ned didn't totally dismiss the idea that Aoki could find himself in a reduced role when he returns.

Yost doesn't seem ready to relegate Aoki to a backup role. Not just yet, at least not publicly.

Asked if Aoki will resume his starting role when he comes off the disabled list, Yost said, "Pretty much. We'd go with it. "Dyson and (Justin) Maxwell can play big roles off your bench. Nori has been a good hitter most of his career. I would think he would step right back in when he gets healthy."

But then Yost dropped this disclaimer: "But again, we'll see where we're at when that happens."

Hmm.

Poor timing after Wednesday's loss, but Big Trade Wade Davis has had an excellent season this year.

Here are a number of statistical nuggets that make Davis one of the Royals' most fascinating players.

• In 33 2/3 innings this season, Davis owns a 1.34 ERA, a 0.891 WHIP and 54 strikeouts.

• His 14.44 K/9 ratio ranks first in team history, fifth in the Majors this season and 16th in MLB history.

• According to Fangraphs.com, Davis has been worth more wins (1.4) than two-thirds of the starting rotation. James Shields (1.2), Danny Duffy (1.0) and Jeremy Guthrie (0.6) all trail Davis in WAR, despite a large disparity in innings.

• Davis has surrendered just 15 hits. His 4.01 hits per nine innings places him ninth in MLB history among pitchers with at least 30 innings.

The Royals have been linked in trade rumors to Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Jon Heyman gives us an idea of Samardzija's relative worth in a trade, in relation to the Matt Garza trade last summer.

Royals minor leaguer Niklas Stephenson - an undrafted free agent - has added ten miles per hour on his fastball due to weighted balls and has popped up on the prospect radar screen.

With an 83-86 mph fastball, not much of a curveball and even less of a changeup, it would have been fair to wonder what a scout ever saw in Stephenson. It was even more remarkable that the Royals were asking him to come back for a third pro season.

So weighted ball workouts? Why not.

"At first I was real skeptical. I’m not skeptical any more," Stephenson said. Throwing a heavier-than-normal ball helped Steve Delabar go from the independent leagues to the Mariners’ and then the Blue Jays’ bullpen. It’s now taken Stephenson from afterthought to legitimate prospect.

In the first outing Stephenson threw in spring training for the Royals this year, he was throwing 93 mph. It was a massive jump for a pitcher who says he may have touched 90 mph once or twice in high school.

This upcoming documentary on Netflix about the Portland Mavericks, one of the last independent minor league teams in an affiliated league, looks pretty awesome.

Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen explains why the IPO is dying.

If you purchased the Aereo streaming TV service, well, sorry, its unconstitutional.

Jon Bois would like to rank the lunch you ate during the U.S. World Cup match.

Your song of the day is Elvis Costello's "The Other Side of Summer."

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