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Royals Rumblings - News for October 18, 2019

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ALCS Memories today in Best of Royals Review

League Championship - Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals - Game Two
The Son of Hos
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jeffrey Flanagan spoke with savior-to-be Bobby Witt Jr. Here’s the part of his interview where he talked about the Royals technology.

MLB.com: Like all teams, the Royals have a lot of data for you to absorb. That has to be a big jump from high school as well.

Witt: There’s a lot more data with Trackman and Rapsodo, and even in the weight room there are devices to let you know if your arms are fatigued or legs are fatigued. It’s awesome to have that stuff.

MLB.com: As a hitter, did you see value in Rapsodo?

Witt: It shows your exit velocity and it shows if you mishit it a little and the ball is fading. You know that anyway but it’s nice to see the numbers.

MLB.com: One piece of data that would be nice to have that we really don’t yet is bat speed, which like in golf, can tell you how much damage you can do. Would you like to know your bat speed?

Witt: We have these devices that show bat speed I think -- they’re hooked to the end of the knob -- but I don’t know what my speed is.

At Royals Academy, Clint Scoles covers a bunch of prospect ground while also promoting his Patreon account:

Alongside his Fall Stars teammate Kyle Isbel finished Monday evening with a .345/.449/.473 in Fall League action. A pair of injuries stunted his 2019 season in Wilmington after he got off to a scorching start, costing him nearly 80 games of action. Against more upper level competition Isbel is showing he belongs with his impressive numbers and the 411 foot blast he connected on in the Fall Stars game. The Royals have seen this the past two seasons already as Nicky Lopez and Nick Heath built their prospect status on the backs of impressive Fall League seasons. The Royals need a position player to improve his status in the organization and it appears Isbel is off to a great head start.

And, that’s all the non-Fansided Royals stuff. That said, Fansided has a lot so we’re hitting it in bullet point form:


Today at Best of Royals Review (TM), we continue our October romp through the playoff game threads. If you missed last week’s, it was on Thursday.

The ALCS’s seem a bit like no man’s land for the 2014-2015 Royals. If I had to rank the series in terms of “memorability” (is that even a word - hey, I guess so; but when your first page on Google is dictionary entries, it’s probably not a commonly used one): 2015 World Series, 2014 Wild Card Game, 2014 World Series, 2015 ALDS, 2015 ALCS, 2014 ALCS, 2014 ALDS. If you don’t remember 2015 ALCS Game 2, maybe this picture will help.

Toronto at Kansas City, ALCS Game 2
Whoopsie!
Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Royals had nothing going against David Price all afternoon. After Escobar ambushed his first pitch of the game for a single (remember that fun?), he retired 18 straight. And then that happened. Game 6 has the more iconic moments: Bautistas home run, the rain delay, Cain’s sprint, Davis’s second inning. But if Game 2 doesn’t unfold the way it did, the Royals may not even get to Game 6.

Enjoy another walk down memory lane: ALCS Game Two Thread: The Blue Jays of Toronto versus the Royals of Kansas City


Considering there’s only one series going and it’s playoff time, there’s a lot of news around the league.

Last night, Zack, the Astros bullpen, Correa and Springer bombs, and Yankees defense combined to give the Astros an 8-3 win and 3-1 series lead.

Last night’s Yankees defense, approximation

In an article from a couple of days ago, apparently, Zack is quite the fantasy football player.

Zack Greinke is a trade shark. He silently stalks the Astros clubhouse, affixed to an iPhone while formulating his next move. “He’s having a down year now,” Will Harris said, “so he’s trying to mix things up.”

The fantasy football team Greinke drafted seven weeks ago will not win. Wholesale changes are necessary on a week-to-week basis. The trades he requests within the Astros’ league are almost innumerable. “Most I’ve ever seen,” reliever Brad Peacock said. “He loves trading. He just loves it.”

This was also prior to last night’s game but if I can link to articles from our new mayor, I will do so. It was a fun little exercise in macro versus micro.

The overall odds don’t move, but the likelihood of each pattern does. There’s an old saying in statistics, usually attributed to English statistician George Box: All models are wrong, but some are useful. I like to believe I’m fairly clever, but ZiPS is just a model, not an all-encompassing theory of everything in the baseball universe. Box encourages statisticians to focus on the big things, what’s importantly wrong, because “it is inappropriate to be concerned about mice when there are tigers abroad.”

Speaking of Dan, his article about the Pirates touches on my big fear for the quest for a strip-it-down-to-the-bones rebuild.

Overcoming 15 years of haplessness was the challenge set to Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington when they took over the Pirates’ day-to-day operations in September 2007. They cleaned the Augean stables, remaking the organization from top-to-bottom and turning it into one that looked like its more modern contemporaries. They brought in analysts, integrated contemporary sabermetric approaches, and found a pitching coach in Ray Searage who could help them turn straw into gold. And for a while, it worked. Blowing through the .500 threshold, the Pirates won 94, 88, and 98 games, making three consecutive postseasons for only the second team in the team’s history.

Then the wheels came off. As Coonelly and Huntington embarked on their labors, I believed that when the team became competitive, ownership would invest in the roster to push it over the top. After all, they would theoretically have the money they didn’t spend during a very inexpensive rebuild to put to use. That belief turned out to be optimistic, bordering on naïve, and when the time was right to dip into the coffers and make moves to keep the team among baseball’s elite, no investment was forthcoming. The team’s payroll never passed the $100 million mark; holes went unfilled, and the Pirates lost their status as meaningful contenders.

You can argue the Pirates had a great 3 year stretch, averaging 94 wins a year. But all 3 times, they made the playoffs as a Wild Card and never advanced past the NLDS. And you can certainly argue that the Pirates shot themselves in the foot financially. But I’ve watched a lot of failed rebuilds with the Royals and there’s no guarantee it works, especially when there are more and more teams doing it and, thus, less benefit from it.

If you saw Shaun’s article about the MLB ownership rules changes yesterday and wanted to read more about the topic, Ben Clemens at Fangraphs wrote about it, too.

Justin Klugh chronicles the difficulties of Howie Kendrick’s career and his route to the NLCS MVP.

Kendrick was an All-Star one time, eight years ago. He got a few AL MVP nods five years ago. In the twilight of an impactful career in which he never quite broke out all the way, his reliable production has led to teams like the Dodgers and Phillies trying to make him their missing piece. In Washington, the Nationals seem to have found one. After all, they’ve have been to the postseason before. They’ve brought an airtight rotation before. They’ve brought team chemistry before. They’ve brought elite, young hitting talent with a signature style before. But beyond giving him two at-bats in the 2017 NLDS, they haven’t really been here with Howie Kendrick before — not with as much of him as they’ve seen this year, anyway.

Speaking of the Nats and redemption, Matt Snyder at CBS Sports profiles manager Dave Martinez.

As for manager Dave Martinez, this season saw its fair share of speculation and reporting. He was ranked Martinez was second in our early-season hot seat rankings. It’s an upset that he wasn’t fired. And yet, less than five months after the most heavy speculation, he’s won a pennant -- something that hasn’t happened in D.C. since the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.

Babe Ruth’s 500 home run bat is going to auction. It could fetch more than $1M.

This story was just included for the headline: “Giants prospect ejected for arguing balls and strikes ... with a robot


As it’s getting pretty late here and the ALCS game is still going on (spoiler: this is written the night before), we’re going to revisit Star Fox. Here’s Fortuna, which ends with the Monarch Dodora.