The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff looks at Brian Flynn, who went from having a strong chance of breaking camp with the big league club last year to getting optioned to Omaha to missing virtually the entire season with a latissimus dorsi tear:
Flynn, obtained in a trade from the Miami Marlins for Aaron Crow in November 2014, was terrific last spring. In 15 relief innings, Flynn posted 14 strikeouts and a 2.40 ERA. His first experience in the bullpen after working as a starter at Wichita State through the minor leagues and five starts over two seasons with the Marlins had been successful.
Flynn thought his chances of making the Royals were solid. Then they weren't. The Royals went with Ryan Madson to complete the bullpen.
In relating how Wade Davis enjoys being one of the game's best relievers, Royals.com scribe Jeffrey Flanagan takes a trip back to when Ned Yost moved Wade Davis to the bullpen:
"When I first called him after his last start I said, 'We're going to move you to the 'pen,'" Yost recalled. "I told him, 'I want you to go down [to the Minors] for a few days. We'll go two innings there, a day off, and then two innings.' He goes, 'No, this is what we're going to do. First, I'm fine with going to the bullpen. I just want to be good at either being a starter or good at being a reliever. Let me go there and pitch one inning, rest a day, and pitch one inning. I need to really blow it out.'"
Yost was amazed at how quickly Davis adjusted to the bullpen. In his final seven appearances (10 innings) of 2013, Davis posted a 0.90 ERA.
"The first time I got him in a game the bases were loaded and nobody out, and he just blew right through them," Yost said. "I kind of was like 'Wow. We got something here.' Every time we used him, he went through every hitter.'"
David Lesky looks at the battle for the last spots on the 25-man roster at Pine Tar Press, noting:
Here’s a fun fact for you. Last year, the Kansas City Royals accumulated 36 pinch hit at bats throughout the course of the entire season. If you think that’s a low number, you get a gold star because it was dead last in baseball. By 30. The seven hits that Royals pinch hitters picked up in 2015? Also dead last. The lone run batted in? Yeah, that’s last too.
And yet, one of the biggest questions of spring training is about who will fill that last spot on the bench. Is it because it’s a key cog in the Royals machine? Well no, but there aren’t many questions to answer, so here we are. But it’s not like pinch hitting is the only duty of this roster spot. It’s about on-site depth more than anything.
Yesterday also at Pine Tar Press, Clint Scoles ranks the Royals' top 30 prospects. I'd pull a quote, but you're just going to read the whole thing anyway, as you should.
At Kings of Kauffman, Ryan Heffernon profiles Chris Young, dropping the following nuggets:
Only three pitchers who pitched at least 120 innings had a lower BAA than Young’s .199. Those three were Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.
Since 2007, only Kershaw has a better BAA (.204) than Young (.218) among starting pitchers who have thrown at least 750 innings.
At the Star, Pete Grathoff looks at whether Brett Lawrie's infamous slide would now be illegal under the new rules instated this week.
After stating he was more than content to not pitch on Opening Day, Edinson Volquez says he would accept it if offered.
The Star also produced a short video on Jarrod Dyson getting the chance to start in the outfield this season.
Blair Kerkhoff reports that the Royals have agreed to contracts with 11 pre-arbitration players on the 40-man roster, leaving Brian Flynn, Matt Strahm, Christian Colon, Ramon Torres, Reymond Fuentes, and Paulo Orlando as the only players on the roster who have not officially signed contracts.
At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan attempts to look at the two paths South Sider Carlos Rodon might take, keying on his particularly sick slider.
Shane Tourtellotte examines whether pitching deep into the postseason positively or negatively affects starting pitchers on the whole at The Hardball Times, turning up interesting information.
At Baseball Prospectus, Jeff Long dives into the pool of players who played all nine positions in a single game and then those who did so in their careers, including former Kansas City A's utility man Bert Campaneris and former Royals Cookie Rojas and Bill Pecota.
A "superbloom" is hitting Death Valley right now.
A war wages between San Antonio and Austin over who invented the breakfast taco.
Marvel and Netflix have cast the star of Iron Fist, the last of The Defenders to be cast. You probably know who he is without knowing who he is.
Jason Bateman apparently has a dark drama coming to Netflix set in the Ozarks.
There is a trailer for Tom Hardy's new show Taboo coming to FX, and it looks pretty sweet.
Your song for the day is "God's Away On Business" by Tom Waits.