Old friend Craig Brown talks about the PECOTA projections at Royals Authority, opining:
Computers don’t get defense. They don’t get bullpens. They don’t get heart. They don’t understand soul. And they certainly can’t comprehend joie de vivre. Such is PECOTA, who on Tuesday impassively hung 76 wins for the Royals in 2016. What. The. Hell.
Should you be surprised? Probably not. This is largely the same group of players who were projected to win only 72 games the season before. I’ve found that projections seldom seem to buy in to individual breakout performances or improvements. So while Dayton Moore and Ned Yost can contend that "everyone will get better," projections don’t hear those declarations so much. Hell, you’re lucky PECOTA popped for 76 wins this seasons.
Over at Pine Tar Press, Darin Watson (who, if you'll allow me to take a break for one second since I don't often do the Rumblings, I have always felt was a kindred spirit to me dating way back to the days where we were each toiling away in relative obscurity on our self-run Royals' blogs and who I am so glad is also still writing about the Royals) explores just where we hit rock bottom as Royals fans.
So, probably not surprisingly, our focus should be on the 2002-2008 window. Following the happy fluke of the 2003 season, the Royals lost 310 games in three seasons. There are plenty of candidates for rock bottom in those three years. Incredibly, both the 2005 and 2006 teams were 13-37 through the first 50 games of their seasons, effectively ending any interest in baseball by Memorial Day for many Kansas Citians. That’s bleak.
To me, "rock bottom" means the point where it looks like there is no hope whatsoever. There were certainly many times in the 2004-2006 seasons where it looked like the Royals might as well be contracted, like they would never again reach the modest total of 82 wins, let alone a World Series title. That 13-37 mark in 2006 was immediately followed by the firing of Allard Baird and the hiring of Moore, so as I said, there was at least some hope for the future despite the 13-game losing streak that had dropped the Royals to 10-35 less than a week before Moore was brought in.
Hard at work in his job replacing the inimitable Andy McCullough (R.I.P.), Rustin Dodd looks at the Royals who have arrived in Surprise, AZ and at the soon-to-arrive Alex Gordon:
A year ago, Gordon arrived at spring training after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a ligament in his right wrist. He ran into more injury issues in early July, suffering a groin strain that kept him out until September. This year, Gordon says, he was able to take advantage of the offseason in a normal fashion. . . This year, he will be ready to go from the start, a clean bill of health that includes both his wrist and groin.
"Last year at this time was horrible," Gordon said late in January. "I pretty much missed the whole offseason training which I dedicate myself to. I came into (camp) banged up, not being able to play and having to rush things."
Royals.com beat writer Jeffrey Flanagan looks at the three key questions the reigning champs have heading into Spring Training.
In case you missed it, Max was on Sports Radio Detroit yesterday talking Royals. He starts around the 15:00 mark.
Craig Calcaterra looks at whether MLB has a plan for the changing cable landscape and its economic implications.
Eno Sarris attempts to isolate and quantify pitcher deception, the key word being 'attempts.'
At The Hardball Times, Alex Chamberlain investigates the sustainability of gains in plate discipline.
Ronda Rousey gets frank talking about her loss to Holly Holm on Ellen earlier this week, including the revelation that committing suicide briefly crossed her mind.
A longform piece on serial rapist Daniel Holtzclaw drew the justified ire of the internet, leading SBNation's editorial director to take it down and issue an apology.
Ben Popper at The Verge looks at how Netflix has revamped their recommendation algorithm to fit its increasing global user base, moving away from their previous regional model.
Continuing the Apple encryption discussion, The Guardian weighs in on the possible global implications of the FBI's demand to create a backdoor to access the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.
In an ironic turn, an ISIS commander was taken out by an SAS sniper while teaching a decapitation class.
Robots will replace us all. Maybe.
Get your tickets for the Newport Folk Festival. Flight of the Conchords will be headlining in what will be their first stateside show in three years.
Deadwood creator David Milch gambled away over $100M as detailed in this fascinating feature from The Hollywood Reporter.
After the wild success of Deadpool, Fox looks to the possibility of an R-rated Wolverine movie.
Your song of the day is "Beneath The Black Sea" from LNZNDRF, the side project of Bryan and Scott Devendorf of The National and multi-instrumentalist Ben Lanz (The National/Beirut/Sufjan Stevens).