Hunter Samuels looks at the Royals' baserunning brilliance:
The Royals have led the league in HAR each of the last three seasons. Combining the totals, they’ve taken enough extra bases on hits to add 22.3 runs above what was expected. An additional two wins over three years may not seem like a large number, but that run total is more than 35 percent higher than the second best team over that time period.
Perhaps more importantly, the Royals have lapped the field in the American League. The Rangers rank behind Kansas City, and their total is just over 13 runs. The second-best team in the AL Central has been the Twins, and their total is just barely above zero, while the Tigers and White Sox have left multiple wins on the field by not taking enough extra bases. The Royals have a significant advantage in this area, and it’s paid off in spades.
In the least surprising news of the spring, Rustin Dodd reports that Kyle Zimmer is dealing with shoulder fatigue:
As the Royals broke camp last week and assigned players to their minor-league affiliates, one name was conspicuously absent from a roster: Top pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer remains in extended spring training after experiencing some "arm fatigue," assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told The Star.
Zimmer is expected to continue throwing side sessions in a controlled environment as club officials inspect his progress. Picollo said there was no specific timetable for his departure from the Royals’ complex in Surprise, Ariz.
Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Jarrod Dyson is getting ready to go on his rehab assignment:
Dyson, recovering from a strained oblique, could go on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Omaha as soon as this weekend, when Kansas City wraps up its homestand against Minnesota.
"It's about that time," Dyson said. "Vacation is over for me."
The Royals shouldn't feel too bad about Tuesday's loss because Noah Syndergaard is basically what Aroldis Chapman would have been as a starter, at least as August Fagerstrom sees it.
I presume you’ve heard tell of Syndergaard’s season debut against the Royals. I presume, at the very least, that you’ve seen a couple .gifs or memes. He got 16 swings and misses in six innings against the best contact team in baseball; only once all last year did the Royals exceed that number. Syndergaard’s numbers were great, and the Mets won, but something bigger than that happened. I don’t think much more than this needs to be said: Syndergaard threw 25 sinkers, and those 25 sinkers averaged 98.5 mph, per Brooks Baseball. Sinkers.
David Lesky writes that the grind starts now:
Their early season schedule is a bit of a who’s who of teams the Royals defeated on their way to back-to-back pennants and a world championship. First they take on the team that finished second in the division to them last season, the Minnesota Twins. Then they go to Houston, who they beat in the ALDS last season. Then they head to Oakland, who they beat in the 2014 Wild Card game. Then it’s on to Detroit, the team that had won the AL Central for four years before the Royals took it last year. Then they face the Orioles, the team they beat in the ALCS in 2014. And the run wraps up when the Royals head to Anaheim to take on the Angels, the team they beat in the 2014 ALDS.
The walk down memory lane slows down considerably after that, but April is an important month for the Royals. The hope of the spring remains for teams like the Twins and Tigers, so beating them is paramount. The Astros are one of the most likely competitors to the Royals, so establishing dominance over them is key. The A’s are just fun to beat even though they don’t have Brett Lawrie anymore.
The DEA looks like its about to legally reclassify marijuana.
Pakistan has some new problems, and they're not related to people.
Tom Waits is making his return to acting on the upcoming Hulu pilot Citizen.
Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday. Pour one out for Bakersfield.
The Panama Papers are blowing stuff up. The first big fallout comes in Iceland, where the Prime Minister has been replaced and people are calling for members of the parliament to resign.
Think the movie selection on Netflix is getting worse? You're probably not wrong.
For the song of the day, Sturgill Simpson does to Nirvana what he did to When In Rome, and it's brilliant. "In Bloom" to put in your earholes:
The record is set to hit the streets on April 15.