Royals Rumblings - News for April 8, 2015
Andy McCullough reports that Danny Duffy had quite an off-season, but is ready to work to be the #2 starter.
Duffy reported to spring training assured of his place in the club’s plans, which allowed him to relax. He married his girlfriend in a small ceremony last September in Kansas City, added 15 pounds of muscle during the winter and revamped his training regimen to prepare for completing 200 innings for the first time in his career. Duffy performed well enough last season to earn a comfortable slot among the starters. He demonstrated evidence of increasing on-mound maturity, altering a perception voiced by scouts from other clubs and even some within his own organization.
"You just learn to mature and grow and figure out at the big-league level, you’re not going to survive long throwing 100 pitches in five innings every time you step out there," manager Ned Yost said. "And being consistently behind in the count. And up in the zone. You have to adapt. You have to learn. You have to continue to develop."
Despite Mike Moustakas' brilliant opening day, Sam Mellinger still takes a bit of an issue with Ned Yost's lineup.
If I can start with a caveat or two here. First, analysis of lineup construction is WAY overdone. Generally speaking, it means 10 percent as much as a lot of fans and media think. Also, if batting Moustakas second unlocks something in him mentally — in a similar way to what’s apparently happened with Alcides Escobar in the leadoff spot — then this is a perfectly defensible move.
Now, all of that said, this is really strange, and it’s still strange even after Moustakas had a fabulous season opener. It’s fine to try this, and I’m all for going outside the box, but this intangible shoot-some-confidence-into-Moose thing seems outweighed by Moose being a .236/.290/.379 hitter. The Royals have better hitters than Moose, and if nothing else, it makes sense to pack the top of an order with your better hitters.
Ned says its all about confidence.
"You look at (third baseman Mike Moustakas) at this point in his career ... having Moose in the 2-spot right now just shows how much confidence we have in his ability. Which, in turn, gives him confidence to play his game."
Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs has noticed Moustakas has made adjustments in spring training.
This spring, according to the data, Moustakas pushed 28 balls off the bat. He pushed 31 over the three previous springs combined. While I don’t know exactly how reliable the data is, I assume it isn’t just being made up, so this seems like a real thing, a real strong attempt by Moustakas to get better the other way as he shifts to hitting second. Using every field is sort of the hitter equivalent of a pitcher polishing his changeup — for most it’s forever a project, and it seldom reaches completion. But now Moustakas bears watching. In Arizona, it seems like he was hitting the ball the other way a lot more. And in the first real game of 2015, Moustakas went out to left field for the first time ever.
If Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales can be productive hitters, the Royals may have some depth in their lineup, writes Sean Keeler.
"They bring a lot of power to our lineup and really make it a deep lineup," Hosmer said. "It makes it a lot deeper, especially when you throw Kendrys in there. ... As a switch-hitter at the end of the game when you bring a lefty specialist or right guy, it's tough, because you've got him in the middle there. It really deepens the lineup. And it's a strong lineup."
On Monday, Ryan Madson made his first pitch in a big league uniform since the 2011 National League Division series.
"When I finally got the call I was going to be here, that was a little moment where I could reflect a little bit and feel in disbelief that I actually accomplished something that was not that attainable for many," Madson said. "Those moments are good, and those are the moments where I can take it in. Other than that, it's just back to work."
Lee Judge writes how Moose's home run may lead to fewer shifts against him, which could improve his numbers overall.
Interesting note from the South Side Sox game recap of Monday - the Royals swung and missed at a Jeff Samardzija pitch just five times out of 92 pitches thrown.
Pete Grathoff surveyed 149 pre-season predictions and found zero prognosticators with the Royals back in the World Series.
Jonah Keri at Grantland has the Royals as his "flop team" in their MLB Preview.
Sean Dolinar at Fangraphs looked at Twitter trends from MLB fans on Opening Day.
Top Twitter emoji use on Opening Day among fanbases. http://t.co/3ZHID59r3v pic.twitter.com/yBiKVYLfTd— Royals Review (@royalsreview) April 7, 2015
The Royals nearly doubled the TV ratings of any other season opener in franchise history on Fox Sports Kansas City.
Dan Brooks at Brooks Baseball has developed an "NFL Redzone" for baseball.
Sam Mellinger points out the Royals have the fourth-oldest roster in baseball.
Ned Yost jokes about rectal exams during the ring ceremony on Monday. (h/t Sweep_the_Leg)
Eric Hosmer is in the opening of the new MLB Network show "MLB Central."
MLB Advanced Media had 60 million streams of games on Monday. Baseball is dead.
A mystery baseball team uses a Cray supercomputer to crunch numbers. Probably the Royals, right?
DRaysBay writes about each MLB team as a "Game of Thrones" character, with the Royals as Podrick.
How do you fare in George Will's 2015 Opening Day Quiz? Piffle? Or not piffle?
Ugh, former Baylor coach Dave Bliss, who was coach when one of his players murdered another, is back coaching basketball at Southwest Christian University.
Eric Thurm at Grantland looks at some sitcoms that really should be revived.
The "Food Babe" is probably full of it (NSFW - language in the URL)
Jon Snow makes for a terrible party guest.
We're getting another season of "Arrested Development".
Comedian Russell Peters accuses new "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah of joke-stealing.
HBO is now available without cable.
Your song of the day is The Samples with "Could it be Another Change."