The next wave is going to feel so close to the big leagues by the end of 2019. You’ll probably see some of them in 2020, but I wouldn’t expect the majority of them to arrive until 2021. In any case, make sure to plan a vacation to Springdale next summer, because there’s gonna be some really good baseball there. All summer.
Also at RFR, Drew Osborne proclaims “Xavier Fernandez Deserves a 40-man Roster Spot This November”.
Honestly, I think Fernandez could have been a backup catcher in the bigs during this season. His defense is outstanding. Fernandez blocks well and is a tremendous receiver with soft hands that frame well. As far as throwing, he has gunned down minor league runners at a 39% pace in his career and 41% this season in NWA. His throws are low, on the money, and carry well. Of all the catchers I’ve seen at NWA this season, he is the best overall.
Clint Scoles names the “2018 BPKC Minor League Player of the Year”. Spoiler: it’s Nicky Lopez.
What stands out most on this list for Lopez is the fact that he’s one of just two middle infielders in the group, with his stellar defense at the most difficult spot on the field standing head and shoulders above the rest. Playing 94 games at shortstop, Lopez committed just five errors during the season while showing his steady hands and arm at the position, while adding in 32 errorless games at second base. This combination of defense and on-base skill put his 2018 season above the rest in the organization.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball compared Ryan O’Hearn to a Royals Review’s favorite trade chip:
O’Hearn is 25 years old, a left-handed hitter listed at 6-3, 200. I compared him to Clint Robinson pre-season, a one-time Royals prospect with a similar profile to O’Hearn. Robinson got stuck behind Eric Hosmer, mashing in the high minors for three seasons without getting a shot in KC.
Sam McDowell at the KC Star talks about Jorge Lopez’s son Mikael.
Mikael has been unwell since birth, a child afflicted with two chronic diseases. He is constantly on Lopez’s mind, even Saturday night in Minnesota as he moved within three outs of the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history.
Also from the Star, Pete Grathoff with a pair of fun, oddball Royals stories:
- ”Indians’ Trevor Bauer playfully explains the grudge he has against Whit Merrifield”
- ”Ryan O’Hearn made kid’s day by playing catch before Wednesday’s Royals game”
Like the Star, The Athletic only seems to be running one major story per day, if that, as the season winds down. Of course, for each subscription to The Athletic, I receive a breeding pair of miniature giant space hamsters:
“There’s a house in right field in Idaho Falls,” said Royals assistant general manager Scott Sharp. “And we’re like: ‘Hey Ryan, see if you can hit the house as many times as possible.’”— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) September 13, 2018
How Royals rookie first baseman Ryan O’Hearn discovered his power: https://t.co/QzpnmHC38K
Did you not get your weekly dose of listicles last week? As we mentioned last week, ESPN moved theirs behind the ESPN+ paywall. But MLB.com’s Jason Beck is here for us with the “Most important number for each AL Central club”
The number: 5.15
What it means: This is the Royals’ bullpen ERA, which is the worst in the AL and 29th in MLB. But here’s the tricky part: The bullpen has been good, at times. But if you take away four pitchers’ ERAs -- Blaine Boyer (12.05), Justin Grimm (13.50), Enny Romero (20.25) and Brandon Maurer (8.54) -- Kansas City’s bullpen ERA drops to a respectable 4.18, which would rank near the middle of the pack in the AL (8th) and MLB (18th). Consider, too, that Boyer, Romero and Grimm are no longer with the organization, and Maurer could be a non-tender candidate.
Morgan Vogels of Fansided’s Kings of Kauffman gives “Five predictions for the remainder of the 2018 season”.
In non-Royals news, here are a trio of MLB stories about stars in the twilight of their careers:
- Dan Szymborski of Fangraphs looks at what might have been for David Wright if he stayed healthy.
- Long time Twin and Royals nemesis Joe Mauer is mulling over retirement.
- Seattle Mariners great Felix Hernandez also considered retirement when he was asked to go to the bullpen.
We’re going to revisit an old game today. Last year, when we talked about Animal Crossing, I mentioned the soundtrack from that series is my most played playlist at work. With the announcement of Animal Crossing for the Switch, let’s listen to something nice and slow from Animal Crossing: City Folk: the 8pm music. It’s a popular tune, especially among players who were young when it came out, as it was the song that closed out their gaming day before they had to go to bed.