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Royals Rumblings - News for March 22, 2016

It is finally spring, which means baseball is around the corner.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for March 22, 2016

Kris Medlen opens up about the death of his good friend, former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson.

"I talked to Tommy the night before for about 45 minutes. One of the best conversations I've had with him in a long time. Talked about some baseball stuff. He was so happy for me about the World Series, was very encouraged about how he felt going into the offseason, talked about my kids and how much he missed seeing them and wanting to come out and visit soon. Just a great convo that made me really feel like he had some things figured out and he was in a good spot in his life. But at the same time, I felt a lot of the time Tommy ever got real sensitive and deep that he was trying to kind of reach out. So as encouraged as I felt about him after that conversation, I started thinking that he was reaching out again. I planned on being there for him and spending more time with him this offseason. But it was too late."

Fangraphs ranks the Royals catching depth as tenth-best in the Major Leagues.

You feel for Tony Cruz, who went from backing up a catcher who never sits to backing up a different catcher who never sits. Maybe all that Molina observation taught him innumerable lessons he can’t wait to apply on the field, but Perez just doesn’t leave many openings. The Royals think that’s one of Perez’s selling points, and there’s definitely no questioning his durability. Whether all this playing time causes Perez to break down prematurely, I don’t know, and I don’t think it’s something we can assume. For now, the Royals think of Perez as perhaps the most important player on the roster, and it’s hard to not give the Royals the benefit of the doubt considering, you know, everything. They’re absolutely in love with Perez, and they speak highly of his leadership skills. His statistical indicators are less glowing, and the wRC+ has gotten worse every single season. Perez last season drew just nine unintentional walks. He is obviously flawed as a hitter, yet because he’s still not 26, we all get to imagine he might still go all Ivan Rodriguez if he figures things out. Perez seems to have more perceived value than observable value, but there’s real growth potential remaining. ranks the Royals farm system as 22nd overall.

The Royals' World Series-winning campaign was built around a core of home-grown prospects. The next class of would-be stars is headed by shortstop Raul Mondesi and right-hander Kyle Zimmer -- each of whom has been at or near the top of the Royals' prospect list for going on four years. Mondesi didn't hit much in 2015, with a .243 average while challenged as a 19/20-year-old in Double-A, but his plus speed and glove made him the game's first rookie to debut in the Fall Classic. Zimmer has dealt with several injuries, including 2014 shoulder surgery, but when he's been healthy, he has plus offerings in his fastball and curveball. Thanks to that package of pitches, he too could be looking at a call-up in 2016. Right-hander Miguel Almonte and lower-level pitchers Ashe Russell and Nolan Watson are in the next group of prospects. But outside the top two, there aren't many with the ceiling to crack Kansas City's young roster.

Lee Judge writes about Bubba Starling and his slow progression through the minors.

When teams promote a player to a higher level of competition, they know there’s a good chance that player will struggle for a while. Teams — and fans — have to be patient and let the player adjust to a better brand of baseball. But it’s easier to be patient with a player’s offense if the player is giving a team good defense; the player is still finding a way to help his team win. When Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer came up to the big leagues and scuffled at the plate, their defense made it easier for the Royals to show patience. If you’re struggling on both sides of the ball, that patience might get worn through a bit sooner. On the other hand, if Starling is saving runs with his defense, it’s easier to wait for his offense to come around.

Judge also writes about how reliever Wade Davis plays mind games.

Lyle Spencer at ranks the Royals as having the third-best outfield in baseball.

Royals superfan Jimmy Faseler marks one year of recovery since he was shot in a home invasion.

The Royals show off their hardware while being honored by the Kansas Legislature.

Pablo Sandoval may lose his starting job in Boston.

Here are the projected starting lineups for all 30 teams.

The Rays play the Cuban National team today.

What are the challenges of being a MLB beat writer?

The Chiefs will appeal their tampering penalty.

Goalie Tim Howard is coming to MLS for big money, but does signing him make sense for the Colorado Rapids?

Standing desks may not be healthier than sitting down all day.

Why do Americans chill their eggs when most of the rest of the world does not?

CBS finds its star for the MacGyver reboot.

Your song of the day is Radiohead with "The Bends."