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Royals Rumblings - News for June 8, 2018

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It goes without saying that Friday’s Rumblings were written before Thursday night’s game

Kansas City Royals v Oakland Athletics
D. T. E.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Still lots of draft news coming in. Clint Scoles, BPKC’s prospect guru, takes a look at the first five rounds of the Royals draft:

Had most fans been told prior to the draft that Baseball America’s #4 rated prospect would land in the lap of the Royals front office, I’m sure we all would’ve been quite excited. Unfortunately, the Royals past history with college pitchers, pitching development in general and people like myself’s opinion of other draft prospects soured that somewhat. The reality is, the Royals on draft night performed quite a coup, landing multiple college prospects who are well-regarded and rated higher than where the Royals selected them.

Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs have draft capsules for each American League team. Here is Kansas City’s:

Kansas City’s draft was packed with good value college prospects. Brady Singer(1) could move quickly as a league-average starter, perhaps a bit more… Jackson Kowar (comp 1) and Daniel Lynch (comp 1), whose stuff was way up this year, could too… Kris Bubic (CBA) is a deception/changeup guy whose command backed up this year while his velo improved a bit… Jonathan Bowlan (2) throws a mid-90s sinker and has a shot to start… Kyle Isbel (3) is a hit-first college bat with enough game power to be a second-division corner guy if he can’t stay in center… Arkansas OF Eric Cole (4) is a grinder with average tools… Mercer LHP Austin Cox (5) has power stuff that fits best in the pen… Zach Haake (6) has big stuff for a few outs then falls apart, so he’s probably a pro reliever but might be a very good one… FSU LF Jackson Lueck (8) has shown offensive flashes his whole career but hasn’t put it all together yet… With Kansas City’s sizable bonus pool, they might get some interesting Day 3 arms signed, including R.J. Dabovic (18) whose stuff ticked into the mid-90s late this spring and the very projectable Elijah Pleasants (36)… Chapman RHP Christian Cosby (14) is a fresh-armed D3 pitcher up to 96 mph.

They also did one for the National League.

Royals Farm Report’s Marcus Meade looks at the Royals in the system who are ready for promotion. There’s no one at AAA but a number of Naturals, Blue Rocks, and Legends.

Nicky Lopez – SS, Northwest Arkansas Naturals

This is probably the promotion I hear talked about the most. Lopez struggled early in the year before getting boiling-lava hot and raising his slash line to .323/.391/.387. He’s got 25 walks against just 20 strikeouts with six doubles and four triples.

Here’s your daily dose of The Athletic (subscription required):

I’m always glad when OMD and Max miss a story from earlier in the week. KCStar’s Pete Grathoff posted one with the following title: “FSKC’s Rex Hudler talked on air about times he has walked into a pole. Yep, plural.

This one was mentioned in the comments but I feel it needs the full Rumblings treatment, even if it’s more local police blotter than Royals news. A woman was found early Wednesday morning in Kauffman Stadium setting fires.

Police arrested Bridget L. DePriest, 36, on the southeast side of the stadium and took her to the East Patrol station, where she was booked and issued summons for trespassing and openly burning resulting in property damage.

...

”We don’t know if she came in when something like that was going on when multiple people were coming in to stock or whether she climbed the fence,” Cook said. “That’s what we’re trying to determine.”

KOK’s Todd McMahill catches up with 2017 free agents Lorenzo Cain, Jason Vargas, and Eric Hosmer.

Also on Fansided, KC Kingdom’s Leigh Oleszczak posts about the Jon Jay trade.

Speaking of capsules earlier, I tend to do a roundup of some of these national clickbait listicles articles and posts them to RR each week.

ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle lists the Royals as sellers at the trade deadline, naturally:

Kansas City Royals

Current win forecast: 62.9 (Change from May: -2.1)

Current playoff probability: 0.7% (Down 2.3%)

Current championship probability: 0.0%

The Royals’ rebuild kicked into high gear with this week’s draft, in which Kansas City chose five college pitchers in the first 58 picks.

Now the focus turns to the trade deadline, which will be the first since K.C. made its pivot. With Danny Duffy struggling, the primary trade pieces appear to be third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has built upon his fine 2017 season, second baseman Whit Merrifield and closer Kelvin Herrera. There are other veterans who could attract interest as well (Lucas Duda, Jason Hammel). There also are guys the Royals might like to keep but who could bring a little better return (Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler).

We’ll have to see how it plays out, but there’s a chance that the Royals’ roster will look very, very different come August.

MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger lists Whit Merrifield as an underrated All-Star candidate:

Royals: Whit Merrifield

The case for him: Merrifield has emerged as one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league. Merrifield led the AL in stolen bases in 2017, and he has already swiped 14 bags this season. After a slow start, Merrifield has a .289 average with a .368 on-base percentage and a .418 slugging percentage, entering Thursday. He can beat you with his speed and his power. Merrifield has also emerged as perhaps the top super utility player in the league -- he can play all outfield and infield positions. He’s a smart player who is aggressive on the basepaths.

CBS Sports’s Matt Snyder lists Kelvin Herrera as the Royals lone All-Star representative:

Kelvin Herrera

KC • RP • 40

One spot left and we need a Royals rep. Fortunately, Herrera’s on the board. He’s pitched to a 0.79 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. He’s only struck out 19 in 22 2/3 innings, but he hasn’t walked anyone yet. Seriously. Zero walks!

In non-baseball news, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals hoist their first Stanley Cup. Those are some happy fans.


I’ve never sports games their due in this space, considering this blog is (nominally, at least) about sports. This means June is going to be “Sports Game Month” on Friday’s Rumblings.

There’s a healthy debate to be had over the best sports game generation.

The 3rd generation was the first major sports generation with the NES dominating video gaming in general. They games were not as complex or realistic as later games. However, they were simple and fun. Gamers from that time can name a multitude of sports games due to Nintendo’s dominance: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Tecmo Bowl, RBI Baseball, Blades of Steel, Excitebike, Double Dribble, Bases Loaded, and the list goes on.

There’s a really good case for the 5th generation. It still had some arcade ports and arcade style games like NFL Blitz. Tony Hawk Pro Skater is one of the highest rated video games of all time. The EA stable of “realistic” games like Madden, NBA Live, FIFA, and the NCAA offerings were starting to assert their dominance. Mario started to play more sports than just racing go karts.

The 6th generation was the peak of EA’s power. I could argue they received somewhat inflated ratings*, but I can’t deny that their realism versus other genres at the time stood out, particularly at the start of the generation. It was also the era that ushered in online play: sports games benefitted more than any other (except maybe FPSs but they were mainly on PCs). It was also the last gasp for Sega’s hardware division and the 2K sports series on a native platform.

*particularly for annual changes that were more incremental rather than evolutionary

Recent years have suffered from a number of issues. Awful exclusivity contracts have prevented competition. The splintering of the market keeps one game from dominating the collective gaming consciousness. Multiple generations of gamers present developers with an audience challenge: create a game with the complexity for veterans of the genre but alienate newbies or create a simpler game that bores the “whales” of the gaming world while hoping to attract new converts.

Today, however, we’re going with the 4th generation: the SNES and Sega Genesis. Both had sports exclusives but also had some 3rd party games that were on both. With the NBA season soon to be over, we’re going with one of the latter: NBA Jam.

As was representative of the time, the games were more arcade-like as the technology was not there to render more lifelike graphics. Developers had to create gameplay that was fun, albeit not completely realistic, while still attempting to be true to the sport. This led to games that were the equivalent of an abstract painting, capturing the spirit of limited aspects of the game while still being recognizable as the sport. Games such as Tecmo Super Bowl, the NHL series, Ken Griffey Jr’s baseball game, and NBA Jam all fit into this category.

For those who miss hearing the magic words “he’s heating up” followed one shot later by “he’s on fire”, here’s some 16-bit synthesized nostalgia: