Royals Rumblings - News for June 25, 2015
Are the Royals reinventing how teams use starting pitchers?
The key to the success of both teams has been an unusually high usage of relief pitchers, or maybe more accurately, a minimized usage of starting pitchers. However, unlike the trend in recent decades of using starting pitchers less in an attempt to avoid injuries, the Rays and Royals are not limiting the number of pitches being thrown, but rather, they are limiting the number of batters the starting pitchers are facing to in order to increase their effectiveness.
This strategy of limiting the number of batters a starting pitcher faces is based on the simple concept that hitters get better the more times they face a pitcher in a game. While an opposing hitter's OPS increases slightly from the first at bat to the second at bat, it shoots way up in the third at bat.
Jon Morosi doesn't think this is a recipe for success.
According to STATS LLC, only five teams in the last 100 years reached the postseason while finishing last in their league in rotation innings: the ’29 Philadelphia Athletics, ’72 Cincinnati Reds, ’95 Colorado Rockies, ’01 Cleveland Indians and ’02 Minnesota Twins. Among that group, only the A’s won the World Series. Their rotation accounted for 1,044 regular-season innings. The Royals (at roughly 5.5 innings per start) aren’t on pace to reach 900. In other words:
The Royals, as presently constituted, have the sort of pitching staff that never wins the World Series — at least, in contemporary times.
One Vegas line has the Royals as the odds-on favorite to win it all.
David Lesky at Pine Tar Press is ready to go all-in on this season.
Honestly, I think the Royals could stand pat and win the division. The return of Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura along with Kris Medlen making his way back from Tommy John surgery could be the pitching additions the Royals need, but I do think it would behoove the Royals to make a move or two as we get close to trading season. The Royals rotation is being held together by what appears to be a bandaid and some bubble gum, and has shown some signs lately of that adhesiveness starting to go.
A tweet from Jon Morosi indicated that the Royals have been active in conversations at least regarding some of the top trade chips on the market, including Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Ben Zobrist. I know some want nothing to do with Mike Leake because he appears to be Jeremy Guthrie-light, but he would help to give the Royals some innings. With that said, all three of these guys could help as could Aaron Harang, Scott Kazmir, Hisashi Iwakuma (if he comes back healthy), Tom Koehler and Mike Fiers.
Brandon Finnegan discusses his roller-coaster season.
The Royals hoped that working out of the windup again might get his arm slot a little more over the top. And, of course, the plan has been interrupted often when Finnegan has been needed at the big league level in the bullpen.
"I'll do whatever they ask," he said.
But Finnegan does dispute that his arm slot might be an issue. "I don't think it's my arm slot dropping," he said. "I've never been an over-the-top guy anyway. I'm not going to change that now. I've always been a high three-quarters guy. It works. It gets outs."
Craig Brown assesses the Royals chances of getting an All-Star team full of their squad.
The question on everyone’s mind (at least Royals fans) is, is Major League Baseball tampering with the numbers? I don’t think so. The Royals moved ahead early, have maintained their pace, but have been passed by a national backlash and more deserving candidates. When Donaldson added four million to his total, those numbers look legit when looking at overall gains by each position with the third, fourth, and fifth place players getting smaller gains compared to another position where no single player earned a Donaldson-esque boost.
With two weeks left in the voting, my prediction is the Royals will get four: Perez, Escobar, Cain and Gordon. Order will be restored. Baseball will survive.
Lorenzo Cain didn't start yesterday due to a hamstring issue, but the Royals hope he can return on Friday.
Kris Medlen's second rehab start had pretty mixed results.
Kris Medlen's final line with NW Arkansas tonight: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 71 pitches. It was his second rehab start.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) June 25, 2015
Joe Blanton will likely get at least one more start for the Royals.
Sean Manaea had a rehab start with the Royals Arizona Summer League team.
Royals prospect Ryan O'Hearn wins the South Atlantic League Home Run Derby.
Baseball Tonight retired Alex Gordon's Web Gem against the White Sox with a cake that Alex probably won't eat.
The Royals sign 13th round pick, Michigan infielder Travis Maezes for $200,000.
Selfish Paul Rudd would rather win an Oscar than have the Royals to win a championship.
Of all the crazy ways Nori Aoki plays the game, I did not expect to have him break his leg on an errant pitch.
Craig Edwards at Fangraphs looks at 2016 salary obligations for MLB teams.
Johnny Cueto is a social media maven.
Former Indians reliever Chris Perez, no friend of the Royals, was suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse.
Zack Greinke will call you out if you use the bathroom and don't wash your hands.
Virginia is your 2015 College World Series champion.
The NHL will begin the expansion process with Las Vegas reportedly in line to get a team. Despite a new-ish, empty arena, Kansas City is not really part of the conversation.
These are supposedly the nine best places in Kansas to get a sandwich.
This transmitter will charge your gadgets up from across the room.
The late Roger Ebert talks about the importance of ego.
Your song of the day is Coconut Records with "West Coast."