At BP Kansas City, Clint Scoles looks at a new wrinkle in The Process:
The Royals organization and all teams have more data available to players than ever before with scouting reports of pitchers, player hot zones, video, and Trackman data available to all the players. In particular, J.J. Picollo states that the type of player they have selected in the draft has played a part in the increase. “I don’t think we’re consciously trying to walk but we’re trying to be better with our pitch selection. The result of better pitch selection and better patience at the plate is going to lead to more walks.” “It’s still not where we want to be but it has seen improvement and that Wilmington club has led the way.” “I think what you see with that team is it tends to become a team’s identity and rolls over to each player on the team.” It has worked for Wilmington thus far as they currently stand in first place while leading the league in walks.
The tools are there for the players to review. The hitting coaches and organization encourage it and review it with them; when I asked two of the more patient hitters in the organization, Khalil Lee and Nicky Lopez, about their current approach they both said it was just something they have always done. Lopez said he will review the data but tends to look at the video if he is struggling rather than examine it day-to-day. He knows that analytics is a big factor in today’s game but without digging into it he thinks his game is something already that will fit well with a major league club.
At the Athletic (subscribe and give me ten Amazon bucks), Rustin Dodd reports that Whit Merrifield believes he’s above aging:
“I think I’ll continue to get better, and continue to take care of my body, and I don’t think I’ll age like other people age or have aged before.”
There is no hard-and-fast rule for when an individual baseball player will peak, no way to predict the future — no matter how sophisticated projection systems have become. Yet decades of data show that most players experience their prime in their mid to late 20s before a long and steady decline. Merrifield believes he will be an exception to the rule, that he can extend his prime years well into his 30s. He points to players such as Nick Markakis and Jed Lowrie, who made their first All-Star Games this season at the age of 34. He references the career arc of former Royal Ben Zobrist, a super utility-player who is still productive at age 37. He focuses on his own game, which relies on detailed film work, preparation and savvy instincts. He believes he is well suited to age gracefully.
At Royals Farm Report, Alex Duvall breaks down his personal top 30 prospects in the organization.
Pete Grathoff gathers some tweets from Danny Duffy about how he’s not down with a lot of the focus of the more analytically inclined. Hardly surprising.
At Kings of Kauffman, Tyler Dierking looks at the hot starts of Kyle Isbel and Daniel Lynch.
At MLB.com, Richard Justice lists Whit Merrifield as the Royals’ surprise player this season.
Jeff Sullivan rubs salt in the Royals’ wounds in exclaiming that the A’s signed one of the best bargains in the offseason in the form of Trevor Cahill.
Also at FG:
- Sheryl Ring looks at Angel Hernandez’s lawsuit against MLB and how lawsuits affect the game in general.
- Sullivan notes that Tyler Glasnow looks a lot better after being traded to Tampa.
- Jay Jaffe sizes up the only playoff race left in the American League.
- Ashley MacLennan looks at the slew of catchers who deserve more serious consideration for the Hall of Fame at the Hardball Times.
- Rachael McDaniel wonders who the hell is Mike Hauschild?
Luke Heimlich was signed by a Taiwanese team, but the league is going to nix the deal.
Mexico’s new leadership promises a change to how they are dealing with (and failing in) their war on drugs.
Kris Kobach isn’t going to recuse himself from the recount triggered by his razor-thin margin of victory in the Kansas Republican Gubernatorial Primary.
Snap yourself off a piece of the Integratron.
At Uproxx, Vince Mancini asserts that BlacKkKlansman may be Spike Lee’s best movie.
Disney is still going to use James Gunn’s script for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 because of course they are.
The song of the day is “Inner” by Seabuckthorn: