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Royals Rumblings - News for April 18, 2017

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Jack is back!

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for April 18, 2017

Rustin Dodd writes that Joakim Soria is a different reliever these days.

This view may explain some of Soria’s problems in 2016. Opposing hitters posted a .323 batting average on balls in play, a number that suggests the “bad luck” theory is plausible. On average, close to 30 percent of balls in play fall in for hits. So anything higher or lower signifies bad fortune or good luck, respectively.

Still, the theory can’t account for all of the issues. Soria’s walks per nine innings spiked to 3.6, his highest mark since 2013, when he was returning from his second Tommy John surgery. Opponents also posted a .457 slugging percentage and hit 10 homers in 66 2/3innings. Sometimes, he just got knocked around.

This year, Soria is striking out more hitters, recording eight in six innings. Yet he’s also walked five, a concerning number. He’s also benefited from some combination of improved luck and better stuff. Opponents are hitting just .200 against him on balls in play.

“His stuff is better,” Eiland said. “Confidence has a lot to do with it, too.”

Some Royals picked up their championship rings at Wrigley Field yesterday.

Royals minor league pitching coach Steve Luebber thinks Kyle Zimmer is back on track.

“We’re being extra, extra careful with him,” Luebber said. “The way major league bullpens work and need to be able to call on a pitcher in a moment’s notice, it would be hard to count on him in that role this season.”...

Luebber said that Zimmer is making progress after struggling a little during spring training.

“He kind of lost his delivery a little in spring training,” Luebber said. “Now, he’s got his arm slot where he wants it and he’s got his control back.”

In his mailbag, Jeffrey Flanagan updates fans on some forgotten players.

Ashe Russell was the Royals' first-round pick in 2015, a high school pitcher out of Indiana. At some point last season, the 20-year-old right-hander developed some confidence issues in his ability to throw strikes. Russell has not yet been assigned to an affiliate for this season and is in extended spring camp in Arizona trying to work out those issues through some mechanical adjustments. There is no timetable for when he will get assigned. Physically, Russell is fine. MLBPipeline.com ranked him as Kansas City's No. 27 prospect.

Evan Beal talks about being aggressive for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

Clint Scoles at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City takes a look at pitching prospect Zach Lovvorn.

The San Francisco Giants recall facing Yordano Ventura in the 2014 World Series.

Johnny Cueto wants to end his career in the American League because it is “tougher.”

Nate Silver introduces a new reliever stat to kill the save.

How much trouble are the Blue Jays in?

Predict the first big player traded this summer!

Keith Law wants to kill the sacrifice bunt.

Eric Thames is mashing.

Josh Jackson is leaving Kansas for the NBA.

What’s next for human engineering in sports?

Is deep sea tourism about to become a thing?

Amtrak’s long-distance routes may be a budget casualty.

Netflix claims viewers are watching 500 million hours of Adam Sandler.

Your song of the day is US3 with Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia).