Jeff Sullivan shows just how historically awful the Royals have been lately:
The Royals’ last outburst, if you will, came in a 9-6 loss to the Angels on June 4. They scored those six runs, and they managed twice as many hits. Then they went 19 consecutive games without ever scoring more than four runs, which has been the longest streak of the season. The Royals also have an active 24-game streak of not scoring more than five runs, which is the longest streak of the season. And to top it off, the Royals have an active 24-game streak of not producing more than nine hits, which is the longest streak of the season. The second-longest such streak has gone 15 games. At the plate, the Royals just haven’t been able to get a single thing going.
When you don’t hit, you don’t score. That much should be obvious. So, since the beginning of June, the Royals have scored all of 61 runs. The next-lowest total for anyone is 92. There are three teams that have outscored the Royals by at least a hundred runs. Not all year. Over just more than one month. The Royals’ pitching hasn’t been especially bad of late, but it’s not at all a team strength. The Royals don’t have very many good pitchers. Therefore, since the beginning of June, the Royals have gone a baseball-worst 5-23. If you can believe it, their actual winning percentage is slightly higher than their Pythagorean estimate. Over this span, the Royals’ Pythagorean winning percentage is .168. No one else is below .349. It’s come apart, is the point. The Royals have somehow stuck with the Orioles at the bottom of the league.
Seriously, read the whole thing. So much futility it hurts.
At the Athletic (obligatory sub required), Cliff Corcoran looks at how teams have gotten production at the major-league level this season from their amateur signings in the July 2 signing period. The Royals come in seventh per Corcoran’s shaky methodology:
7. Royals (0.7): Salvador Pérez, Adalberto Mondesi, Jorge Bonifacio
Also: Cheslor Cuthbert (DL), Ramon Torres (mL)
Venezuelan catcher Pérez is having a down year at the age of 28. Dominican outfielder Bonifacio just returned from a performance-enhancing drug suspension on Friday. Bearing down on his 23rd birthday, Mondesi remains an athletic middle infielder who has yet to prove he can hit major-league pitching. Incidentally, Mondesi was born in Los Angeles when his father, Raúl, was a Dodger, but grew up in the Dominican Republic, where Raúl is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for corruption during his six years as mayor of San Cristóbal. Nicaraguan third baseman/designated hitter Cuthbert, out with a back strain, is expected back soon.
For those without subscriptions, that’s second-worst of the tier of teams who have three players currently on their 25-man rosters. If judged only by rWAR amassed by players signed as international amateurs, the Royals are leapfrogged by nine teams who have fewer players on their 25-man roster but whose players have accumulated more rWAR. There are seven teams who have no players on their current 25-man rosters acquired from the international amateur free agent ranks.
Continuing at the Athletic, Jayson Stark runs down the dozen things we’ve learned in the first half of the season. In talking about the “epic race” for the first pick of the draft, he has the following to say about the Royals’ and Orioles’ chase:
So here they are, on the 4th of July, careening toward triple-digit losses at a rate that no living human has ever seen. Want to guess the last time two different teams had winning percentages below .300 on Independence Day? That would be 1912 – when Hippo Vaughn’s pre-Ruthian Yankees started 19-46 (.292) and Curly Brown’s always-entertaining St. Louis Browns roared out of the gates at 19-47 (.288).
Don’t go scrambling through the draft records to see what awesome No. 1 pick those juggernauts got out of that, because baseball forgot to invent the draft for another half-century. But this year, while a bunch of teams appeared to be chasing the No. 1 pick by consciously trying not to win, the Orioles and Royals weren’t one of them.
“They weren’t tanking,” said one AL exec. “They were both semi-trying.”
And shouldn’t that be a lesson to tankers everywhere!
There’s a great bit about Jacob deGrom at the end of the article, too.
With Brady Singer’s signing being announced, Rustin Dodd looks at what comes next for the Royals and their first-round pick:
Moore blames some of the perception on his organization’s desire for secrecy. The club, like most, does not discuss its development methods publicly, nor in great detail. But it believes, in general, in the power of individual plans, Moore said.
If a player believes in the virtues of long toss, he can do that. If he wishes to take on a weighted-ball program or adhere to the teachings of Driveline Baseball, he can do that, too.
“Every pitcher that we get, the first thing we do is evaluate their kinetic chain,” Moore said. “We have expert physical therapists evaluate them on what they need to do. And we get with our medical people, our strength and conditioning coaches, our scouts, our sports science people, and we develop a plan for each pitcher.”
And finally (last Athletic piece I’ll link to), Dan Lewis talks about the history of the Mendoza Line, which obviously features a fair amount of talk about George Brett.
“He is gonna be what people in Kansas City are gonna love to come to the ballpark to see."https://t.co/RnDbFHzwZx— Maria Torres (@maria_torres3) July 4, 2018
At BP, Beth Davies-Stofka chats with graphic artist Eddie Campbell about the origins of baseball cartooning.
Jeff Sullivan looks at the MLB landscape of negative WAR. The Royals factor in heavily.
Here are seven scientifically backed hangover cures. Number one is stupid.
Could you pass a citizenship test?
Is Jeff Bezos holding Seattle hostage?
On to music and America, this feature has Grayson Haver Currin tells us what he learned while road-tripping around North America with his Case Logic CD binder.
This Pitchfork article tells the unindoctrinated why Richard Swift was an indie rock treasure. And that will lead me to the songs of the day, the first being “Lady Luck” by Richard Swift, who passed away on July 3 at the age of 41.
Next up, “Qachina” by Damien Jurado, from the album Visions of Us on the Land, the fourth Damian Jurado album that Swift produced.
Now you’re getting, “One Million Year Trip” by Lætitia Sadier from her album The Trip, which Swift produced portions of (including this song).
And lastly, here are Damien Jurado and Richard Swift together from their covers LP Other People’s Songs, Volume One, covering Bill Fay’s masterpiece “Be Not So Fearful” in a pretty dramatic reimagining of the song: