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Royals Rumblings - News for March 3, 2015

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In Kuntz we trust.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for March 3, 2015

Interesting stuff from Andy McCullough on why the Royals sought an upgrade from Nori Aoki, and why they think they have it in Alex Rios.

In Milwaukee during his first two big-league seasons, Aoki spent most of his time defending batters straight up, without much shading in either direction, Kuntz explained. Aoki preferred to charge in, rather than charge back, and glued himself to the same spot before almost every pitch. The Royals operate a more fluid defense. Kuntz does not just ask his defenders to adjust from batter to batter. Sometimes he calls for shifts from pitch to pitch. Aoki was an "analytical" player, Kuntz said. He required an explanation for instructions. Kuntz would flash a signal and Aoki would hesitate before moving.

During games, Kuntz only had a brief window in between innings to communicate, because his presence was required to coach first base. Soon after a sign was sent to the outfield, Kuntz would often receive a visit from Aoki’s translator, Kosuke Inaji.

"Nori wants to know why we don’t play everybody straight up," Inaji would say. Kuntz had to remind Inaji: "At times, I don’t have time to explain it to him. He just has to get there."

Lee Judge cautions that the Royals may be onto some analytics we fans just don't know about.

So now we know: pitch-tracking technology lets us know which catchers get borderline pitches called strikes, right?

Nope. Learning about any complex subject is like peeling an onion: Remove one layer and you find another one underneath. Ask players and coaches about "framing reports" and pitch-tracking technology and you hear why we shouldn’t take this stuff as gospel....

So pitch-tracking technology might help us understand some things, but it doesn’t reveal everything — there’s always more to be learned. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions and think we might have been wrong before, but now we know. New information might change our thinking. And we might want to give a little more credit to the guys on the field; if we listen with an open mind, we just might learn something.

Mike Moustakas is a "one-time elite prospect" that could "break out" or "turn the corner", if you will.

After batting .242/.296/.412 with 20 home runs in his first full season in 2012, Moustakas has hit just .223/.279/.363 with 27 home runs across the past two seasons. It was the fourth-lowest OPS among qualified batters in that time frame.

But there's reason to hope. "Moose" showed off his raw power with five home runs in the 2014 postseason and his regular-season line drive percentage of 20.4 was his highest since his debut in 2011. It also makes his .220 BABIP (the worst in the Majors for any player with over 500 PA) an extreme outlier. With just an average number of balls dropping in for hits, Moustakas' average jumps from .212 to .276.

Jonah Keri is down on the Royals in 2015, ranking them 23rd in his pre-season power rankings.

Color me concerned about the defending AL champs. The loss of top starter James Shields to the San Diego Padres could hurt in multiple ways: Gone is his sheer skill at recording outs, and so is his heavy workload, which eased the burden on the rest of the rotation and, by extension, the bullpen. Newly signed Edinson Volquez’s mushy peripherals make the starter a prime regression candidate too. What’s more, the Royals spent real money on first baseman Kendrys Morales and outfielder Alex Rios, but there’s a decent chance both of them are nothing more than replacement-level players at this stage of their careers — cold comfort for an already mediocre offense. Check back in a month, but right now the Royals look like a possible fourth-place team in a really deep division.

Ned Yost is still contemplating ways to rest Salvador Perez more this season.

Hunter Dozier is in the best shape of his life.

The Royals intrasquad game Monday was rained out, but they already have an injury in camp, with Ryan Madson suffering from back stiffness.

Eric Hosmer is looking to build off his post-season success. He'll be appearing in an upcoming PlayStation ad.

Kris Medlen talks to Fox 4 News about his transition to Kansas City.

Alex Gordon hit off a tee.The tee did not survive.

The MLBPA talked to Royals players about the new pace-of-play rules.

The Royals get sized for their American League Champions rings.

Royals Vice President of Community Affairs Toby Cook discusses his faith with the National Catholic Register.

Chiefs sackmaster Justin Houston got the franchise tag slapped on him.

Receiver Andre Johnson is done in Houston.

An ugly, low-scoring game, marred by a brawl. Is this the early 2000s NBA? Nope, its Baylor-Texas and the state of college basketball today.

Kyle Wagner at Deadspin argues that sports analytics is turning into bunk.

What its like to be a woman at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

Should any of these women replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?

Kansas City has five billionaires, and once again, I'm not one of them.

Judge Judy makes nearly twice as much as Alex Rodiguez, so let's stop talking about baseball players being overpiad.

Netflix reveals release dates for many of its shows, and announces it will produce a movie from "True Detective" director Cary Fukunaga.

Bill Clinton's portrait at the National Gallery has a wonderful easter egg hidden.

Your song of the day is Nina Simone with "Sinnerman."