The Royals are expected to use some of their offseason budget on additions to their bullpen, seeking to rebuild the unit from the ground up. Yet the club also saw a need to add insurance in the infield behind Mondesi — who earned the starting shortstop job with a strong second half in 2018 — and another piece to the outfield picture. Owings, 27, is a career .250/.291/.378 hitter in 2,106 plate appearances since debuting as a 21-year-old in 2013. He struggled at the plate in 2018, hitting .206 with a .272 on-base percentage and 51 OPS+ in 106 games. Yet Statcast numbers — including exit velocity and batted ball data — tell the story of a player who was one of the 25 unluckiest hitters in baseball last season.
At Call to the Pen, David Hill suggests that Brad Boxberger could be the perfect fit for the Royals’ pen:
Boxberger struggled in his only season in Arizona, posting a 4.39 ERA and a 1.425 WHiP despite notching 32 saves. Most importantly, he was healthy for much of the year, appearing in 60 games as he worked his way back from a flexor strain in 2017. Although he struck out 71 batters in 53.1 innings, Boxberger issued 32 walks and allowed nine homers.
When healthy, Boxberger has been a solid reliever over his career. He had served as a closer and a setup man for the Rays, leading the AL with 41 saves in 2015. He had posted a 3.33 ERA and a 1.191 WHiP in his four years with the Rays, striking out 240 batters with 82 walks in 181.1 innings.
Jeffrey Flanagan mailbags it up at the Royals’ team site, including fielding a question about Kyle Zimmer:
When I talked to Kyle Zimmer in October in Surprise, Ariz., I don’t think I’d ever seen him so happy. After spending months at the revolutionary Driveline Baseball performance training program earlier this year (Driveline focuses on weighted baseballs to strengthen muscles and improve mechanics), Zimmer said he was throwing pain-free for perhaps the first time in his professional career. The 27-year-old right-hander -- who hasn’t pitched in the Minor Leagues since 2017 due to consistent arm and shoulder injuries -- said he was hitting 93-95 mph with ease. I would not be shocked if he made his Major League debut in ‘19. Let’s face it: The Royals could use a pleasant surprise like that.
At MLB.com, Jim Callis breaks down the top 50 prospects for this next draft, one in which the Royals will draft second.
Baseball Farm runs through their top 20 Royals prospects.
The Mandy articles seem to never end. This is of course because it’s so damn good. As long as they’re out there, expect to get them here. The staff at /Film runs down the best horror flicks you can stream right now. Guess what leads off their list?
Jeff Sullivan argues that banning the shift is a solution in search of a problem.
Year-end top 10 lists are starting to drop. You’ll never guess what movie came in #10 on UK site Vulture Hound’s list.
Listen to Tom Cruise; turn off your motion smoothing on your HDTVs, people.
Black Nerd Girls review Mandy rather glowingly, though be warned it is rife with spoilers.
What does the dodo mean to Mauritius?
Charlie Kaufman’s upcoming Netflix feature I’m Thinking of Ending Things has cast Jesse Plemons and Brie Larson.
The song of the day is “Wide Awake” by Parquet Courts: