Prior to his nice start last night, everyone was trying to figure out “What’s wrong with Danny Duffy?” Yesterday (Wednesday), OMD shared a Tweet about Duffy tipping his pitches. Today (yesterday- this gets confusing when you write these the day before), the KCStar’s Jesse Newell took a look at his slider:
Based on pitch-value approximations, Duffy’s slider has been worth negative-10.6 runs this season; to compare, the second-worst slider from an MLB starter this season has been worth negative-5 runs... The biggest change can be traced back to the ineffectiveness of one pitch.
Old friend and BPKC’er Craig Brown brings us this giggle-worthy headline: “Jason Hammel is sick of this shift”.
The Royals, it would seem, have swung the shift pendulum too far the other direction. It’s possible their over reliance on the shift is hurting them. Royals pitchers have walked 50 batters while the shift has been deployed this season. That’s 35 percent of their team total. Given where they’re shifting on just over 38 percent of all pitches, that’s probably not an extreme rate. However, where the shift really seems to hurt the Royals is once the ball is put in play. Their defense simply isn’t that good enough to convert balls in play into outs at a league average pace. Would a better defense make a difference? It would certainly help.
So, if it were up to me to decide whether the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals are true rivals, I’d say no. I dislike the Cardinals, but it’s because of my experiences with their fans in college. They were awful, awful people to anyone who didn’t root for their precious baseball team.
Also on the Fansided network, KOK’s Chris James explored the idea of Kansas City going with a 4-man rotation.
MLBTR’s Jeff Todd put some context around Jorge Soler changing agents and his contract.
This is happening; react accordingly.
There are four national listicle-style stories involving the Royals this week.
MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger lists “AL Central prospects who are close to callup”:
Prospect: LHP Richard Lovelady
MLB Pipeline rank: No. 17 (Royals)
Why you should keep an eye on him: Lovelady is only 22 and is rising through the system at a quick rate. He has a plus fastball with late life and a slider that could be Major League-ready now. Lovelady is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 15 games at Triple-A Omaha this season.
ETA: Lovelady is not on the 40-man roster, but that could change when spots open up after the non-waiver Trade Deadline. There’s a decent chance you’ll see him at the big league level this season.
ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle’s “State of baseball’s rebuilding teams” lists the Royals as “Too Early to Tell”
The Marlins, Royals and Tigers all are new to the rebuilding class... All three of those clubs are in the talent acquisition phase, with the Royals hoping to get a jolt from the upcoming June draft. Kansas City will have four picks in the top 40 and six in the top 100...
With the 2018 season in motion, it seems as if the rebuilding class has clearly shrunk by two with the ascension of the Phillies and Braves, and the A’s may not be far behind. However, the resets in Kansas City, Miami and Detroit are just getting started.
CBS Sports’s Mike Axisa’s First Round Mock Draft has the Royals going with a prep bat.
Kansas City Royals: OF Connor Scott, Plant HS (Florida)
The Royals have three extra picks this year thanks to their free agent defections, and thus the largest bonus pool. And, given the fact they are in the early stages of their rebuild, this is a very important draft for them. Kansas City has been mostly tied to high school bats this spring, a demographic they’ve had a lot of success with over the years, and Scott is the kind of pure hitter and high-end athlete the Royals love. Adams and Kelenic are also in the mix here.
Don’t be surprised if the Royals cut a deal with a lower ranked player with this pick, then use the bonus pool savings to go after elite players who fall out of the first round with their two supplemental round picks (Nos. 33 and 34). It is a common strategy for teams with extra picks these days and the Royals themselves did it in 2013, when they took Hunter Dozier in the first round and splurged for Sean Manaea in the sandwich round.
Finally, fellow CBS Sports writer RJ Anderson listed a number of Royals as “top trade candidates... at each position” (for clarity, these are in the top 3 or 4 at the position; no, Lucas Duda, is not the top 1B available): C Salvador Perez, 1B Lucas Duda, 2B Whit Merrifield, SS Alcides Escobar (“Take Hechavarria and make him an even worse hitter. That’s Alcides Escobar.”), 3B Mike Moustakas, OF Jon Jay, and RP Kelvin Herrera.
KC • C • 13
Trading Salvador Pérez would be tough for Royals general manager Dayton Moore, but it’s something he should consider. Pérez is an old 28, having averaged 140 games since 2013. With three years remaining on his affordable contract, it’s unlikely the Royals will be competitive again before Pérez hits free agency. As such, dealing the five-time All-Star backstop could help hasten the Royals’ rebuild -- especially if suitors side with his defensive reputation over his metrics.
We’ve also got some non-Royals stories today.
CBS’s Dayn Perry talked about Justin Verlander’s amazing start to the season. Sadly, he drew no comparisons to Zack Greinke’s 2009.
Yahoo’s Mike Oz- well, I’ll just use the first paragraph that sets up the article: “Go ahead. Name someone who has turned around their public image as quickly and as gracefully as Alex Rodriguez.”
And Fangraphs’s excellent Sheryl Ring weighs in on the first amendment, the NFL, protests, and MLB.
So here are the takeaways. MLB isn’t a government, so it can’t directly infringe a player’s First Amendment rights. But a rule affecting players is still unconstitutional if it is applied to non-players because stadiums are public fora and such a rule would infringe on fans’ First Amendment rights. It probably can’t terminate players for protesting under the uniform contract, because courts consider protesting to be a form of citizenship and protesting racially-based police brutality is probably protected under race discrimination laws. And other discipline, while possibly legal under federal labor law, may be illegal under state laws like those in Connecticut.
As for the NFL rule, expect legal challenges. A lot of them.
We’ve never properly featured Kingdom Hearts for a Rumblings SotD. My very first Rumblings featured Kingdom Hearts 2 and we revisited the Hollow Bastion theme from KH1/2 earlier this year. But we’ve never actually done the original.
For a brief summary, here are some of my (edited) comments from that first rumblings linked above:
To me, Kingdom Hearts is where Square figured they could go back to making stuff a bit more lighthearted like during the SNES years. I know it sounds weird that, say, Kefka and the World of Ruin from Final Fantasy VI or the fatalistic tones of much of Chrono Trigger are “lighthearted”. But compare them to the Playstation years with the anti-hero/villains of Cloud and Sephiroth or the general teenage angst of Final Fantasy VIII.
Instead, you get Sora, Donald, and Goofy running around in a Disney version of Forgotten Realms (or whatever idea you want to say they cribbed). It’s a classic good versus evil battle and the innocence of the protagonist Sora pervades the game. It crosses so many great Disney worlds and interacts with so many Disney childhood favorites and is grounded only by the darkness of the neo Playstation RPG heroes. It’s just FUN.
As I’ve started PSP’s Birth by Sleep, a prequel of sorts, it seemed like a good time to revisit the series (
the preceding sentence is totally not robot catnip for Hokius).
Here is the theme song that started it all, Utada Hikaru’s Simple and Clean: