Royals Rumblings - News for February 10, 2015
Sam Mellinger writes that the James Shields trade ultimately shows how the Royals beat the system.
Shields will be remembered by Royals fans for, and this is vaguely in order: being the face and voice of the franchise’s push from loser to winner, helping Danny Duffy harness so much talent and energy, being the inspiration for a thousand misinformed debates and jokes about that Big Game James nickname, and popularizing a regular postgame celebration with a neon deer butt and smoke machine.
But, really, as much as anything other than the World Series, Shields should be remembered as the ultimate example of the Royals beating the system that remains rigged against them.
David Schoenfield of ESPN asks who is better - the Royals or Cardinals?
Catcher: Salvador Perez versus Yadier Molina There's no questioning the defense of the two Gold Glove winners, but both declined a little at the plate in 2014 -- albeit with extenuating circumstances. Royals manager Ned Yost rode Perez into the ground as he started 143 games, including the final 34 games of the season. Perhaps not surprisingly, after hitting .283/.329/.437 in the first half of the season, he hit .229 in August and .235 in September. More troubling, however, was the complete collapse of his plate discipline, with just three walks in the second half. We saw Madison Bumgarner exploit Perez's aggressive approach on the final out of the World Series with a bunch of high fastballs out of the strike zone.
After averaging .313 the previous three seasons, Molina hit .283 with less power. Some of that decline came after he hurt this thumb in July and he didn't hit well when he returned in late August, but his numbers were already down before the injury. Molina will be 33 in July and he has a lot of mileage, so it's possible he won't bounce back to that 2011-13 peak level.
Edge: Cardinals. Perez is a nice player and I expect his offense to bounce back a little if Yost actually gives him a few more days off, but Molina is still the model defensive catcher in the sport and he gets on base more.
Sahadev Sharma at Just a Bit Outside looks for the best "one hit wonder" in baseball, and looks at a pair of former Royals Rookies of the Year.
Hamelin had a real strong rookie year, slugging .599 (good for 10th in the strike-shortened 1994 season) and delivering a .327 TAv. That season he was one of the top offensive forces in the game, and many believed he was headed for a long and impressive career. Of course, we now know that wasn’t the case, as Hamelin lasted only four more seasons, none of which came close to matching that summer of ’94.
Berroa was similar to Hamelin in that it was a pretty strong first go around the bigs with not much after that, but how he went about it in the rookie season was quite different. Berroa was just around average with the bat in 2003 (.267 TAv), but he was a solid baserunner, stole 21 bags, and played a respectable shortstop. None of that ever happened again.
Beat writer Andy McCullough talks spring training questions, in video form.
The Omaha Stormchasers have unveiled their season of promotions, including hosting the 2015 AAA All-Star Game.
The Royals will get the 21st and 33rd picks in the draft, the latter coming as compensation for losing James Shields.
The Royals join the list of stadiums that now include wi-fi.
Mark "Christian" Binford is one of the best best pitchers in the KATOH projections for minor league pitchers.
The MLB Fan Cave is dead. Long live the Fan Cave.
Anthony Castrovince writes that the late inning reliever is more important than ever.
Eno Sarris looks at whether Japanese umpires are unfair to foreign players.
Bryce Harper can crush a golf ball "Happy Gilmore"-style.
Is Michael Sam being frozen out of the NFL?
Vox.com interviews the President of the United States. It would have been nice if they had at least asked me if I wanted to conduct the interview first.
Beloved children's books that are actually kinda disturbing.
Unfilmed original "Star Wars" scenes, illustrated.
Walt Hickey of Fivethirtyeight writes its a two-horse race for "Best Picture" at the Oscars. And "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" is not in the running.