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Weekend Rumblings - News for April 8, 2017

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Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for April 8, 2017

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City takes note of Danny Duffy’s spin rate.

I know I wrote a whole piece about Duffy’s changeup yesterday, but something kind of crazy that I noticed when I was just scrolling through charts is that Duffy seemed to be getting much more spin on the ball on Monday. So, sure enough, I looked it up and going back to his start on June 1st last year, he had 25 of his 30 highest spin rate pitches on various fastballs on Monday. As advanced stats evolve and we start to learn more and more, spin rate has become one of the numbers that’s fashionable to quote and with good reason. It’s harder to hit a ball that’s spinning more. Of course that doesn’t mean it can’t be hit, but it’s far more difficult. Duffy’s average spin rate was 2,445 revolutions. His second highest was that dominant game against the Rays last August with an average of 2,381. So to add to the point that the changeup could be a real game changer for him, if he can continue to get this kind of spin rate, we could be talking about a very special season for the Royals ace.

Matthew Trueblood of Baseball Prospectus notes Lorenzo Cain’s increased patience at the plate.

Cain will turn 31 next week. For a right-handed batter whose profile has always relied on his athleticism—his offensive value has been BABIP-driven, he uses his speed to augment his gap power, his bat speed and hand-eye coordination help make up for an aggressive approach—that’s a tough age. It’s tougher still when injuries have been piling up, and for Cain they’ve been piling up for years. At this age, if Cain truly has simply developed superior plate discipline, it will make a huge difference.

If, on the other hand, swinging less often is Cain’s way of showing us (perhaps subliminally, or even subconsciously, but showing us nonetheless) that he no longer believes he can drive the ball consistently, it’s only going to change the shape of an inevitably difficult season. If the sprained wrist that ended his 2016 season is still bothering him, and if that’s the reason he’s not swinging as often, he’s going to be found out quickly, and he’ll see his value crater on the eve of his free agency.

Lee Judge writes that no one knows what will happen with the Royals - even you!

Royals outfield prospect Khalil Lee showed some pop on opening night for Lexington.

ESPN offers a reason for each team to hope this year.

Spectrum customers may be losing Royals games over a cable dispute.

Yordano Ventura’s family will be at the home opener on Monday.

Is playing in the World Baseball Classic actually safer than playing in spring training?

How did 21 teams miss on Mike Trout?

Brandon Finnegan may be improving.

Baseball America ranks the top 20 rookies.

The X-factor for each MLB team.

Bubba Watson misses the cut at The Masters.

KU’s Frank Mason wins the John Wooden Award.

Italy bans Uber.

How good are the best Star Wars books really?

Steve Perry will join Journey for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Your song of the day is Clifford Brown with Sandu.