Sam Mellinger delves into Alex Gordon’s struggles in 2016 and the wrist injury that may have been a factor:
“But was (the wrist) bothering me after the fact, when I came back? No,” he said. “It was tough, but I was playing.”
Skepticism circulates around the clubhouse about Gordon dismissing the wrist. He is likely the most respected man in the room, and third baseman Mike Moustakas says the quiet stubbornness is part of the reason.
Gordon turned 33 this month, the age when you’d expect a player’s best season to have been in the past rather than the future. But his batting average, on-base, and slugging percentages each dropped more than 50 points. Some of it had to be the wrist.
FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron looks at the historical anomaly that is Eric Hosmer:
But even Karros was basically done as a good player by age-31, which would be year four of a free agent contract if Hosmer didn’t sign until after this coming season. And that’s the optimistic comparison, based on looking for a guy who had a Hosmer-ish track from 24-26 and then turned into something better. There are a lot more Casey Kotchmans and James Loneys hanging around the similar players list, guys who never developed the hoped-for power, and no amount of first base defense could save their careers.
Of course, those guys didn’t have the tools that exist today. The fact that Hosmer does hit the ball hard, and has done so while making above-average contact for most of his career, does suggest that there’s probably more offensive talent in there than his performance would suggest. And with advances in player development, perhaps its more likely that Hosmer becomes something more than he has been than similar players from history.
But if you’re looking at baseball’s record book for a guy like Hosmer to take encouragement from, well, good luck. Very few first baseman have been able to hold regular jobs for this long, at this age, while hitting as poorly as Hosmer has. Very few first baseman who were slightly-above-average hitters from 24-26 turned into great hitters later on.
BP KC’s Clint Scoles attempts to predict this year’s breakout minor-league performers for the Royals, with the following chosen for Northwest Arkansas:
Double-A – Samir Duenez, the first baseman came on big in the playoffs for NW Arkansas after his promotion with three home runs in eight games. That gave him 16 home runs, 54 total extra-base hits and 107 RBI for the 20-year-old as he sped through three levels. Playing in Arvest Park which has generally favored left-handed hitters in the past should help Duenez, but he will also need to improve his .220/.287/.342 line versus southpaws.
Corey Ray, the righty came on strong over his final five starts at High-A last season (0.62 ERA, 30% k-rate) when he appeared to feel more comfortable with his breaking ball to go along with his mid to high 90’s fastball and a solid changeup. That slider will have to do the heavy lifting to keep righty’s in line after they hit him to the tune of .291/.334/.496 last season. When the Royals moved to NW Arkansas ten years ago the Texas League was thought of as an offensive league; this hasn’t been the case over the past three seasons with the league fitting more in the middle of the pack offensively and even below the Eastern League. Look for Ray to take advantage of these circumstances this season.
MLB.com’s top 30 prospects list came out for the Royals, with Matt Strahm, Hunter Dozier, and Josh Staumont coming in first, second, and third.
Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Josh Staumont will get the start in the Royals’ Cactus League opener.
Royals manager Ned Yost said the plan all along has been to see the younger players like Staumont in the early going.
"I don't want to burn out my veteran guys this early in camp," Yost said. "Because of the [World Baseballl Classic], we're starting a week early. We've got plenty of time to get everyone ready."
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, the team's No. 9 prospect, will get the start Sunday against the Rangers.
Pete Grathoff lets us know about Lorenzo Cain’s monogamous and protective relationship with his glove (there’s video there if you miss Cain as much as most of us).
At KC Kingdom, Leigh Oleszczak argues that re-signing Lorenzo Cain is the move that makes sense.
John Viril thinks the Alex Gordon getting a little time in center experiment signifies larger things about the club and Lorenzo Cain.
Colby Rasmus’s photo day beard was, um, something.
Nicolas Stellini wonders if this might be the first season in a long time in which the Yankees aren’t contenders at FanGraphs.
Matthew Trueblood looks at Carlos Martinez and tunnels and such.
Baseball brass is flipping out over rules changes, or at least so says Grant Brisbee.
At the Hardball Times, Eli Ben-Porat models minor-league defense in comparison to major-league defense.
Seven earth-like planets? Later, suckers.
Apparently, Malaysia investigating the death of Kim Jong-nam is sinister. At least according to North Korean.
What happens if PBS is defunded?
At the Drive-In are releasing their first album in 17 years.
The Fargo Season Three premiere date has finally been announced.
The song of the day is “Hey, Matt” from the forthcoming solo album by Walter Martin of The Walkmen.