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Royals Rumblings - News for March 8, 2017

Jason Hammel IS Luke Hochevar.

San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for March 8, 2017

Jason Hammel talks about his pitching arsenal with David Laurila of Fangraphs.

“I’ve also changed my delivery a little bit, to hide the ball and be a little more deceptive. I made that adjustment last year. In the past, I had a very timeable delivery, and for a hitter, timing is everything. If you can kind of rock with a pitcher as he is going through his delivery, you don’t have to guess, at certain points, when things are going to happen — it’s very predictable. So I closed off my stance a little bit, almost to where it looks like I’m throwing across my body. That added deception, which has helped.

Dayton Moore explains why he sends some American-born minor leaguers to the Dominican in the winter.

It also explains why general manager Dayton Moore considers it significant to send some inherently more privileged American-born players there to help them appreciate from what and where many of their teammates come.

While Moore says the idea isn’t unique to the Royals, the gesture resonates all the more in the wake of the death of Ventura in a car accident Jan. 22 in the Dominican, a startling circumstance that has left Ventura on the minds of many since....

“It’s important to get out of your comfort zone in anything you do, and it’s important to understand where many of your teammates come from, some of the challenges that they have,” Moore said. “And let me say this: Everybody has challenges in this game, whether you grow up in the (United States) or not. But I think it just helps you become a better teammate, and ultimately that’s what you need to be.

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City wonders if the pitching is good enough for the Royals.

But I’m just not sold. Not yet anyway. One of the reasons that I’m concerned is that this staff is still built around a lot of guys who give up a fair amount of fly balls. You remember all the talk last year of the juiced ball and home run rates and all that. I wrote about it somewhere around the All-Star break and said that the Royals might need to shift their targets on the pitching side to those who get more grounders. An elite defense in a suppressed run scoring environment makes fly ball pitchers underrated targets. When the defense is a little less elite and it’s a little easier to hit the ball out, that plan probably needs to change.

The issue, though, is plan didn’t really change. Five key members of the 2017 pitching staff all have fly ball rates of at least 40 percent since the start of 2011. Two others are above the average of roughly 35 percent, but they’re pretty close. That’s a lot of fly balls.

USA Today ranks the Royals having the third-worst lineup in all of baseball.

The Royals spent 2014 and 2015 defying the projection systems that said they couldn’t hit enough to compete, then spent 2016 not hitting enough to compete. New acquisition Jorge Soler represents an offensive upgrade and could easily prove the Royals’ best power bat in the team’s lineup. For the Royals to prove even a middle-of-the-pack offense, though, they’ll need past postseason heroes like Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas to bounce back from rough or injury-riddled seasons.

Danny Duffy say pitching for Team USA is a huge honor.

Scott Alexander is feeling stronger and managing his diabetes.

Matt Snyder at CBS Sports argues Alex Gordon should lead off for the Royals.

The Kansas City Star has a podcast episode where they talk to legendary Royals scout Art Stewart.

Mike Moustakas made his debut at third base for his new daughter.

Joe Posnanski has a fun piece about Mark Teahen and his attempt to become an Italian baseball superstar.

How do we approach power after last year’s historic home run spike?

Korea is on the verge of elimination after Israel’s big win in the World Baseball Classic.

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs makes the case for starting a reliever.

The time Reggie Jackson got his butt kicked by a teammate.

Who could be the next coach of Mizzou basketball?

A preview of the Big 12 tournament, which begins today.

The CIA is hacking smart TVs, according to Wikileaks.

Is Richard Simmons really missing?

The Good Place creator Mike Schur talks about the season one plot twist.

Your song of the day is David Bowie with Jean Genie.