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Royals Rumblings - News for April 20, 2017

Smoak ‘em if you got ‘em

San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals
Cy Vargas is making us all Vargasians
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Joe Posnanski writes about Lorenzo Cain’s special sprint speed:

But when a ball can be caught, it all changes. Cain transforms. His sprint speed on outs is 29.1 -- almost identical to his all-out speed -- and that suddenly puts him third in baseball, behind only the dynamic duo of Hamilton and Buxton. Something happens to Cain when he sees a baseball in range. His high school coach Barney Myers tells the story of how Cain used to be tireless and relentless in practice, even after Myers was ready to call it a day.

"When I got tired and I wanted to go home," Myers told the Kansas City Star, "I would hit the ball as far from him as I could so that he had to run."

Something about that stuck. When the ball is in reach, almost nobody chases it down like Cain. In April of last year, Houston's George Springer blooped a fly ball into shallow right-center. Cain took off after it and covered a breathtaking 30.8 feet per second, his fastest ever sprint speed. He basically turned himself into Hamilton in order to catch the ball.

Ned Yost seems intent upon dying on this hill.

Jeffrey Flanagan talks with and about the nearly perfect Jason Vargas:

"I think he's better now [than before the surgery]," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I think that elbow bothered him that last year [2015]. But he's been phenomenal this year."

Asked if that assessment is possible, Vargas shrugged his shoulders and said, "The command has been really good thus far. And like I said last week, it really just opens up opportunities to do other things.

"It's definitely nice for it to show up like it has," Vargas said. "It's nice to see some reward for the work that has been put in through Spring Training up until now. But you couldn't ask for a better start to the season."

Clark Fosler squints to see where the Royals could have a dominant bullpen again this year:

The new season dawned with a horrific three game set in Minnesota in which the bullpen was awful, but since then, that group has started to show signs of life. After giving up home runs in back to back outings (one of them a home run only in Houston and only in a very certain spot of Houston), Kelvin Herrera has had three perfect outings. Joakim Soria has allowed one inherited runner to score but has otherwise not allowed a run in six appearances and is striking out more than a batter per inning. Combined, the two seem to be providing Yost with certainty to his beloved bullpen roles.

In front of them, Peter Moylan has allowed ONE HIT in seven outings. I almost went down the ‘seventh inning should be Moylan’s’ road, but Yost seems to like to use Moylan at a variety of times and in a variety of roles. We have seen Moylan come on to get a single right-hander, but we have also seen him gobble up two innings at a stretch as well. Fun fact: Peter has inherited eight runners, not one has crossed the plate. Thus far (and frankly he has a track record when healthy of being quite good), Moylan had given the Royals a reliable third weapon out of the bullpen.

Now, in front of those three, we have seen Travis Wood struggle mightly and Matt Strahm be just awful, enough so, to get the quick demotion to Omaha. Mike Minor has given up a run in three of his six outings. Chris Young is out there to sit around for a week and then come in and throw some innings when there is not anyone else, and that’s fine, you need a Chris Young at the end of the bench.

David Lesky introduces you to the lowest-scoring offense in baseball (yes, it’s the Royals).

Jeff Zimmerman dives into minor-league batted ball data new to FanGraphs.

Patrick Dubuque delves into how low-power hitters should be pitched and whether pitchers should be working higher in the zone.

Jeff Sullivan details how Dallas Keuchel is going full Brad Ziegler. He also takes a gander at the Cubs’ rotation, all of whom are experiencing a significant downtick in velocity.

Kyle Glaser delivers a field report on Cleveland prospect Triston McKenzie for BA.

CB Bucknor was bad. Or just CB Bucknor.

Ian McShane has some good news for us all.

The team responsible for Sugar, Mississippi Grind, and Half Nelson will be helming Captain Marvel.

Papa Bear is out after advertisers boycotted his program amid sexual harassment allegations.

Head on out to Cuba. You can do so legally now.

The song of the day is “Kaputt” by Destroyer.