You need high quality leadership. This is something that many teams in baseball believe in. On MLB Network, there recently was a show about the Dynasty that Almost was. Watch it if you get a chance. The show is about the Cleveland Indians of the 1990’s. At one point, GM John Hart is interviewed and he gives the impression that building around Albert Belle was a big mistake because of a lack of leadership characteristics. One lesson I’ve learned as a coach is that you can’t build on players who aren’t building blocks. There are natural leaders out there that people gravitate toward. You have them in every business and on every team. You better find those players that have that charisma and get them to buy in to be building blocks or you won’t have a successful team. You might have a good team, but they will not succeed when challenged. Too many coaches try building their program on players who can’t be built on or don’t want to be building blocks.
Also at RFR, Alex Duvall wrote about Yefri Del Rosario and Carlos Hernandez down in Lexington.
The Lexington Legends had three pitchers on the staff last year that were all very similar. Andres Sotillet (still not sure what to think about him), Carlos Hernandez, and Yefri Del Rosario all put up very similar peripheral and boxscore statistics, but they’re all very different. Sotillet is more of a “pitcher” that doesn’t throw very hard, but really knows what he’s doing on the mound. Carlos Hernandez is huge and throws hard, Yefri Del Rosario is a bit undersized and throws hard. Hernandez and Sotillet are bordering on the upper echelon of age compared to level, Del Rosario is on the bottom. Given the age curve, Hernandez can’t afford to be like the average pitcher moving from Lexington to Wilmington. He’s going to have to continue making improvements to his game (namely generating swings and misses) to continue to be a high-profile prospect moving forward. Luckily for all of these guys, Wilmington is a notorious pitcher’s park. This rotation is going to be nasty.
Jeffrey Flanagan at MLB.com talked to Yost about the Opening Day starter. This year’s has not been determined yet:
Some pitchers, like former Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, begged not to be Opening Day starter because the ceremonies disrupted their normal routine.
“There’s guys who don’t want to be considered,” Yost said. “Eddie was one.”
Lynn Worthy, at the Star, covered the commissioner’s news conference:
“In 2002, people said you’re not going to be able to make an agreement without a strike,” Manfred said. “We made an agreement without a strike. In 2008, they said you’re never going to make an agreement early without going through the offseason. We made an agreement early without going through the offseason. We’re going to work our way through this one just like we worked our way through those situations.”
He also writes about how Alex Gordon and Ian Kennedy are no longer in the best shapes of their lives:
“I just said the heck with the weights,” Gordon said. “I think it was putting too much stress on my body. When I went on the DL last year I felt like maybe the DL was because of lifting a little too much.” He’s also given up the early morning workouts he’d made habit during spring training, often working up a sweat long before taking part in the team’s on-field practices. He simply found that he couldn’t do it anymore, it was wearing down his body.
“My whole career here has been basically with Gordie, and my whole career has been trying to back him off a little bit to the point where I’ve got to threaten him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. Gordon used to try to run himself ragged during the first two groups of BP and then come in and hit for the third group. When Yost wanted to move him to the second group and Gordon objected, Yost countered by saying he’d sit Gordon out of the lineup more often in order to force rest on him.
There’s also an AP story about Alex Gordon and Billy Hamilton sharing the outfield:
’’We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in that big outfield in Kauffman,’’ Gordon said. ‘’I haven’t played with him yet. Hopefully we can develop a history like me and Lo-Cain. I know the balls I need to get. He knows the balls he needs to get.’’
’’That’s kind of what me and Lorenzo Cain had. We knew each other that well. Hopefully me and Billy can establish that chemistry, too. Through spring training we’ll talk, we’ll figure it out,’’ he said.
Now that baseball is back, The Athletic is back! That’s the great news. The bad news is that I have to start coming up with new The Athletic referral jokes. As I am not very funny, if you subscribe to The Athletic with a link that OMD provides on Thursday, I will insist he give me his $10 so I can save up and go to Krusty’s Clown College (not to be confused with Princeton).
Ned Yost said it took him "all winter long to sit and review and to analyze" the bullpen usage he saw last postseason. "“I tried to figure out what in the heck everybody was doing,” he said. On how his own bullpen strategy has evolved: https://t.co/c7MrI8FSeT— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) February 21, 2019
Ned Yost believes Mike Moustakas can play at second base. Bob Melvin, who managed Craig Counsell in Arizona, thinks he can make it work. On the possibility of Moustakas at second base: https://t.co/s1ZhhXutu3— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) February 21, 2019
When the Best of Royals Review (TM) covered the Yuni trade, we said: “It may not be the most interesting article... this is just a pure news article written mostly without commentary”. We have another one of those today: Zack Greinke Traded to Brewers.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this trade in the building of the Royals two World Series teams. For those who don’t remember: Greinke signed a contract extension to stay with the Royals, had one of the best seasons of all time in 2009, and played for a bad team both that year and in 2010. He demanded a trade and Dayton Moore found one, sending him to the Brewers for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress.
Those stories and comments cover a lot of ground from initial reactions to trying to find player comps to all the rumors of other trades that were out there.
Again tons of content from Fansided, almost all from KOK
- The only KC Kingdom entry from today is from Leigh Oleszczak who reminds us that “Alex Gordon [is] entering final year of massive contract”
- Actually, the bulk of KOK articles are from Trevor Hooth. First he asks “Will Chris Ellis make the Opening Day roster?”
- He informs us “Billy Hamilton is buying into the system”
- He looks at “The 2019 MLB Pipeline organizational rankings”
- He profiles “The mold of a future Royals catcher”
- Finally, he helps us “Meet the initial Spring Training starters”
- For our first of two articles by other authors, Gerry Jecemo implores us to “Trust the Process Again”
- Lastly, Morgan Vogels look at the “Changes to Royals primary logo”
This isn’t from a blog I’m familiar with, but Chris Creamer at SportsLogos.net tackles the slight changes to the Royals logo:
Kansas City has been a king (pun?) of the slow logo evolution, the team has had six different primary logos in their 51 seasons yet most casual likely would have noticed any of them.
There are a quartet of listicles for this week:
MLB.com listed “Prospects who should vie for a roster spot in camp”:
Royals: Richard Lovelady, LHP
The Royals do have a pair of Rule 5 Draft picks in Sam McWilliams and Chris Ellis, and we know they like to keep those guys, as well as hard-throwing prospects like Josh Staumont. But Lovelady’s funky delivery and potential to have three very usable pitches gives him the chance to get some high-leverage innings very soon.
ESPN’s Ben Fawkes put together the odds for all 30 teams:
Kansas City Royals (1000-1)
Odds to win AL pennant: 500-1
Odds to make playoffs: Yes +2000, No -10000
Mike Axisa of CBS Sports gave “Extension candidates for each team”
Since Whit Merrifield is already locked up on the cheap, there isn’t really anyone here who fits. Maybe Adalberto Mondesi builds off last season’s partial breakout (75 games, but he had a 116 OPS+, 3.2 WAR and 32 steals). If that’s the case, perhaps the Royals pounce; 2020 is his last pre-arb season and that’s followed by three arbitration years.
He also had “One player from each team with the most to prove in camp”:
Royals: OF Jorge Soler.
I feel like we’ve reached make or break time with Soler. He turns 27 later this month, he is three years from free agency, and he will make a not insignificant amount of money the next two years ($4.67 million annually from 2019-20). We’ve been hearing about him for several years and we’re still waiting for that big breakout year. To be fair, Soler looked to be in the middle of that breakout year (.265/.354/.466) before a foot injury ended his season in June. The Royals are in the “accumulate talent” phase of their rebuild. Soler becoming a centerpiece player would move the rebuild forward quite a bit. Last year’s breakout continuing this spring would be welcome news.
I was going to do one last video from PAX South to end our February. However, midday yesterday, news broke that one of the biggest names in the video game industry is retiring: Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime.
For those unfamiliar, Reggie helped turn around VH1 in the early 2000s and then joined Nintendo. At 2004 E3, Reggie burst onto the video game scene with a single 10-second quote: “My name is Reggie. I’m about kickin’ ass. I’m about takin’ names. And we’re about making games.” This was super conservative Nintendo, in the middle of a sixth generation (Gamecube) drubbing, having just posted their first quarterly loss in the company’s public history, and some brash goof in a suit got on stage and called his shot.
Many thought he was just a fun gimmick or that he wouldn’t last more than a couple of years. But the 2004 E3 was the one that turned things around for Nintendo and is widely regarded as one of the best of all time (ok, I’m not familiar with any of those sites, but how about IGN). Metroid Prime 2 was one of the swan songs for the Gamecube, Resident Evil 4 sits comfortably in many “best game of all time” lists, and the reveal of Zelda: Twilight Princess (including Shigeru Miyamoto on stage with a shield and sword) gave us one of the greatest E3 crowd reactions of all time (NSFW language warning).
Most importantly, Nintendo had embarked on their next hardware generation. They showcased the DS for the first time, a console that would go on to be the 2nd best-selling of all time and re-energize the company. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata would also tease the “Revolution”, or, as the 5th best-selling console of all time would later be called: the Wii.
As the company soared to new heights, these three men, Miyamoto, Iwata, and Reggie became known as the Nintendo Triforce. Iwata (wisdom) was the brains behind it all, Miyamoto (courage) was the brilliant game designer always pushing boundaries, and Reggie (strength) was their chief marketer and fan. Nintendo fans loved him and he became the subject of many memes from being the Regginator to My Body is Ready to that wacky E3 where the three of them were muppets.
They were always such great personal promoters of the Nintendo brand. However, they may not have always been the best at business as there was a lot of gamer in all of their hearts. There were times when I think things appeared cooler to them than the outside world. And there were times when they made products, not just to make money, but because one or all three thought it was just “cool”. But they always seemed to genuinely believe in their product and that endeared them immensely to Nintendo fans.
In recent years, however, Iwata clashed with investors and analysts when the launches of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U fell short of the impact of their predecessors. Iwata sternly resisted calls for Nintendo to push its iconic properties into mobile phone gaming or abandon the manufacture of gaming hardware. Notably, he refused to order layoffs when the company’s stock price sagged under the sluggish performance of the Wii U. “I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world,” he said at the time.
After this announcement, only the 66-year-old Miyamoto remains at Nintendo. When he retires, it will be the end of an era. Reggie’s replacement at NOA is, and I’m not making this up, Doug Bowser.
Few outside the industry even know Reggie’s name. But to the video game community, yesterday was a great loss. Here’s his farewell (I’m not crying, you’re crying) which is a brief highlight reel of his career:
Nintendo fans, Reggie has a message for all of you. Please take a look. pic.twitter.com/EAhaEl5oEJ— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 21, 2019
And here’s video of the aforementioned scene that started it all: