Royals Rumblings - News for January 14, 2015
Lee Judge gets close to the dirt and looks at how Wade Davis became Royals pitcher of the year.
A fastball that can be thrown at 98 MPH gets a lot of attention, but Royals bullpen coach Doug Henry thought the key to Wade’s success was his curve. Davis throws a hard, tight curve and that makes it difficult for a hitter to identify; wait to see if the pitch breaks and the fastball’s on you. Try to swing sooner to catch up to the heat and the curve can make you look foolish. Try to cover both pitches and Davis has got you caught in-between: ahead of his curve and behind his fastball. Wade will tell you a hitter with a plan—the kind of guy who picks one of those pitches and waits for it—is the toughest kind of hitter. Pitchers thrive on hitters who try to hit everything.
And that brings us to an important point: anyone can look up Wade’s numbers, but those numbers don’t include Baseball I.Q.—and Wade Davis is a very smart pitcher.
Alex Gordon may have a limited spring training due to his wrist injury.
“I don’t know if he’ll be 100 percent,” Moore said. “(Trainer) Nick (Kenney) does feel very confident that he’ll be ready to go Opening Day. Will Alex get his usual number of reps early on? I can’t say that’s going to take place, for sure.
“But we expect him to be taking part in a lot of drills. And certainly he’ll be taking live batting practice, whether it be in the cage or on the field, as we open up spring training. That’s what we expect.
Buster Olney writes the Royals still have the best bullpen in baseball.
If not for Giants starter Madison Bumgarner's superhuman feats, the Royals would’ve won the World Series and their relief corps would’ve taken a place in history alongside the Reds’ Nasty Boys for being the core of a championship. But in some ways, the Royals’ trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera accomplished stuff we really hadn’t seen before. That group faced 960 hitters last season, struck out 309 and allowed a total of three homers. Davis ranked No. 1 among all relievers with 60 or more innings in limiting opponents’ OPS last season (.408); Holland was sixth, and Herrera was 21st. Even if the Royals had a lot of mediocrity in other spots in their pen, the work of that trio would have Kansas City at No. 1 in these rankings.
But the Royals will also have Jason Frasor and Tim Collins, and Luke Hochevar is expected back after missing all of last season because of elbow reconstruction. While the Royals’ intention is to develop Brandon Finnegan as a starter in the minors early this season, it may be that Finnegan will return to the Royals’ bullpen during the 2015 season.
Clark Fosler at Royals Authority looks at the career of Eric Hosmer and sees an interesting comp. - Keith Hernandez.
Without questions, Hernandez up to and through age 24 had enjoyed a better and more consistent career than Eric Hosmer has, but they are not dramatically far apart. A system devised by far smarter folks than me has designated Hernandez as the most similar player to Hosmer at this data point in their careers.
So, and I bet you saw this coming, what happened to Keith Hernandez in his age 25 season? MVP, baby.
Jim Callis at MLB.com thinks Royals pitching prospect Sean Manaea could lead the minor leagues in strikeouts.
...hitters have trouble making contact with Manaea's fastball. It has good but not great velocity at 90-96 mph and plays up because of his delivery, which features extension and downhill plane and adds life. Manaea doesn't have a second plus pitch, though his slider is a solid offering that improved over the course of last season. His changeup is an average third pitch with some fade.
Manaea can rack up strikeouts while pitching primarily off his fastball, as he proved last year when he fanned 146 in 121 2/3 innings. He got better as the season progressed, allowing more than two earned runs in just one of his final 11 starts at Class A Advanced Wilmington.
Grant Brisbee has his power rankings on where James Shields might end up.
Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart thinks Shields may sign in Arizona because they are a "true baseball team" rather than one "geared more towards analytics."
Actor Charlie Day knows how many beers Wade Boggs consumed on a transcontintental flight.
Meanwhile, that nerd team the Boston Red Sox is creating a behavioral health department.
They've also hired former Royals pitcher Brian Bannister as a scout/analyst.
The Buffalo Bills welcome new head coach Rex Ryan with a disgusting-looking pizza-cake thing.
Things may be falling apart in Denver for the Broncos, which is good for Chiefs fans.
Woody Allen is creating a TV show for Amazon.
Working 9-to-5 ain't for everyone.
Which movies make men cry? And do you want to have a catch, dad?
Your song of the day is Joy Division with "Transmission."