Royals Rumblings - News for August 17, 2015
Rob Neyer takes a look into Mike Moustakas' breakout season.
Anyway, we can see here that, yes, Moustakas' breakout this season is at least somewhat rare. His career OPS+ entering the season is the third-lowest in the group, and he's one of only three players without a similar (or better) season before. Essentially, he goes in a group with Wes Helms and Shane Andrews.
Like Moustakas, Andrews was a first-round draft pick (if not nearly as high in the first round). Helms was a 10th-rounder, but went on to greater success than Andrews. That said, neither of them really did much with the bat after their breakout seasons. Neither even managed to play enough to qualify for a batting title again, with Helms posting an 85 OPS+ afterward, Andrews 79. Which is to say that both Helms and Andrews, after their "breakout" seasons, became ... roughly what they'd been before....
Now, before you start sending me your letters and your mortar bombs and whatnot, I'm not even beginning to suggest that Moustakas is the new Shane Andrews or Wes Helms. Well, OK: maybe Helms.
Buster Olney writes that the Royals have plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles before October.
Attempt to fix whatever needs fixing with Holland: The Royals would be doing this if they were fighting for a playoff spot, but now Holland and pitching coach Dave Eiland have the leeway to tinker, to go back to the lab, so to speak, if they think there's some mechanical correction to be made. Holland's fastball velocity is down markedly from two years ago; his average velocity was 96.1 in 2013, and this year it's at 93.8. His swing-and-miss rate is down a little as well, as is the rate at which opposing hitters are chasing pitches out of the strike zone. If the Royals can get Holland back to where he has been in the past, Yost will again have the best and deepest bullpen in the majors. If Holland continues to struggle and the Royals deem it necessary to consider alternatives, there's time to install an understudy.
Jeff Passan writes about the wonderful diversity in deliveries from Johnny Cueto.
Over the next month, Cueto would name this breakthrough The Rocking Chair and begin to employ it more, much to the consternation of those facing him. It is simultaneously maddening and hysterical, this short, plump right-hander's shoulders doing The Worm mid-delivery before he fires pitch after elite pitch.
"It's hard not to laugh sometimes," Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez said. "But you're in battle, and he's throwing 95 with a lot of run, a lot of sink. So you can't laugh. The shimmy one – he did it on me, and the whole crowd starting laughing."
Chris Mosch at Sports on Earth looks at how often Cueto uses the "Rocking Chair" and the quick pitch.
The rocking-chair delivery is a more recent addition, with Cueto only incorporating the pause and occasional shimmy into his repertoire of deliveries since around the start of July. But while most of Cueto's deliveries fall into either the Luis Tiant, the quick pitch, or the rocking chair categories, Cueto will mix in other variations on occasion to keep hitters on their toes.
But Cueto's usage of the quick pitch has ramped up recently, with the crafty hurler opting for his hurried delivery more than 60 percent of the time in each of his last four starts. I suppose this raises the question of whether the purpose of the quick pitch has changed for Cueto. When he was using it sparingly, he could catch hitters by surprise and occasionally result in them being late on a fastball. If you look at how he used the delivery earlier in the season, you can see that he would use it more frequently the second and third times through the order to give hitters different looks.
Rustin Dodd has a nice piece on the career of Mike Sweeney, and how an ATV accident to Jeremy Giambi gave Mike the break he needed.
"Next thing we know we’re at the Paola Hospital," Sweeney says. "Jeremy is getting staples in his skull, stitches in his eye. He’s getting his knees cleaned up. As we’re flying to Pittsburgh that night — we barely made the plane — Jeremy tells (manager) Tony Muser … ‘Well, I was changing my oil at Sweeney’s house, and a toolbox fell off and hit me in the head.’"
With Giambi unable to play first base, Sweeney earned the starting nod. You probably know the rest by now.
Here is Mike talking about his induction to the Hall of Fame to reporters and it will give you all the feels.
Sweeney got to raise the "W" on Saturday night.
Sweeney with the assist ! #Royals win their 70th game! pic.twitter.com/iQjenNyYAi— Brandon Smith (@bsides11) August 16, 2015
Hooray! Alex Gordon could begin his rehab assignment in Omaha next week.
Ned says Omar Infante could get a few days off.
Yost acknowledged the season-long slump of Infante when explaining his rationale. "He’s been really grinding, been really working hard, trying to get it going," Yost said. "He’s been so good defensively. But it’s been a struggle for him offensively."
The Royals reached 2 million in attendance faster than in any season in franchise history.
Frank White will return to Kauffman Stadium.
It's been quite a while since I've felt Kauffman Stadium grass under my feet. Franchise Four September 1st. See you all there.— Frank White (@Frank20White) August 16, 2015
Omar and Esky's Web Gem seems to have been suspiciously shoved aside by ESPN.
Brewers farmhand David Denson becomes the first player in affiliated minor league baseball to publicly come out as gay. (h/t MonoStereo66)
Red Sox skipper John Farrell will take a leave of absence to battle lymphoma.
Matt Kemp hits the first cycle in Padres history.
Jim Callis ranks the top ten minor league systems in baseball, with the Royals not making the cut.
Eno Sarris at Fangraphs looks at how Trevor Bauer uses science to improve his pitching. (h/t Thayne Griffin)
Author George R.R. Martin takes in a baseball game.
The Chiefs win their pre-season opener in Arizona with Eric Berry making a triumphant return after beating cancer.
Sporting Kansas City has an amazing comeback win over Vancouver on Saturday.
No social media for Clemson football players this year.
Comcast is developing a video platform it hopes can rival Youtube and Facebook.
Amazon sounds like a tough place to work.
The songs in President Obama's summer playlist, ranked.
Disney announces the creation of "Star Wars" theme parks.
Speaking of Star Wars, here's the first photo from the spinoff film "Star Wars: Rogue One."
Your song of the day is the Temptations with "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."