Over at The Athletic, Corey Brock, the Seattle Mariners beat writer, wrote a really interesting piece about how the Royals sold four minor league pitchers to Seattle for $1 each. That is not a typo. $$$
“They didn’t really let me throw a sinker over there (in the Royals organization),” he said. “I ended up becoming a heavy sinker-slider guy when I got to the Mariners’ organization. Instead of throwing my curveball, I threw more sinkers. It was a huge pitch for me last year, and I think it will be again this year.”
This move is pretty clear to me, the Royals don’t see any of the four pitchers as part of their future and they have other guys that are going to need innings this summer. There appears to be a logjam of arms between AA and the MLB and these guys were just taking up space for the “prospects.”
You’d like to think the Royals could’ve gotten SOMETHING in return, but if the return really was only $1, I guess a McChicken is better than nothing.
That quote from Tenuta in the piece from the Athletic is absolutely incredible. Imagine just giving a pitcher away instead of just letting him try a sinker. It’s one thing to stick to your guns. It’s another to totally give up on a kid without exhausting every last available option and resource. Changing arm slots is tricky, like in the case of David McKay. Holding a baseball differently takes literally one second to alter. Grab it, throw it. The Royals have long been criticized for their cookie cutter approach to developing pitchers, and I really thought they’d started getting away from that, but it appears not in all cases. More thoughts (thread):
I’ve gone to bat for the Royals front office countless times. I still think Dayton Moore is one of the best GMs in baseball. This is completely inexcusable. https://t.co/x8aOVNoSvv— Alex Duvall (@duvy_013) April 2, 2019
I should clarify too, Matt Tenuta and David McKay aren't the biggest reasons for concern here. It’s the rest of the pitchers still in KC’s system. It’s the pitchers that will enter the system this summer. What kind of restrictions will they see that prevent them from reaching their peaks...?
IN OTHER NEWS
I know we’re not supposed to openly pick favorites but Michael Augustine is quickly becoming one of my new favorite cowriters here at Royals Review. Check out his breakdown of Brad Keller’s Opening Day start here.
Clearly his bread and butter, Keller’s sinker yielded slightly different results. He allowed just a walk and a single, neither of which proved to be problematic.
Keller is a high ground ball pitcher (and that’s thanks in part to the sinker as well) and when the slider was put in play, half of hitter’s contact was driven into the ground. Keller mainly used the slider later in counts, especially when he got ahead/had two strikes on right-handed hitters. Keller also threw it as his first pitch a few times, but mainly to left-handed hitters.
He has waited for this moment for so many years. He has waited to watch his son, Kyle, step up to the mound in a major-league stadium and showcase his talent.
Now it’s about to happen.
The father stands up and snaps another photo. Kyle Boddy, the founder of Driveline Baseball and who, along with a number of others, worked with Kyle inside a biomechanics lab near Seattle for six months in 2018, sits to Eric’s left.
Kansas City is the MLB’s fastest team entering the 2019 season, with an average speed of 27.5 feet per second on any hit the MLB determines to be a “run of two or more bases or non-homer” or a “weakly-hit ball.”
But why is that how the MLB calculates speed? What does it mean for the upcoming season?
BREAKING: this season on June 31st, we will be playing as the Omaha Potholes! pic.twitter.com/KxIrVeJYuY— Omaha Storm Chasers (@OMAStormChasers) April 1, 2019
The outfield will be fun to watch with all three players Brett Phillips, Jorge Bonifacio, and Bubba Starling all potentially seeing Major League time this season. Phillips and Bonifacio both saw quite a bit of time with the Royals last year and will be a big part of the Royals outfield in the few seasons. We all know Bubba Starlings story, and as long as he stays healthy he could make his long awaited debut sometime this year. Until then this will be your starting outfield for the Storm Chasers. Elier Hernandez will be around to back them up.
I thought the starting pitching was solid, even with Jorge Lopez’s hiccup late in his outing. The promise of speed and defense showed itself, and Kansas City manager Ned Yost said that’s the tip of the iceberg. Is the bullpen shaky? Perhaps. But it’s very early, obviously. Ian Kennedy could emerge as a late-inning guy. Jake Diekman looked strong. Kyle Zimmer showed he could be a weapon. There are actually many positives that emerged from the series win over the White Sox.
If the 2014 and 2015 Royals were an experiment in whether a talented small-ball team could win a championship in the modern game (it worked), this year’s version will be more about how much pure speed can make up for a lack of talent in other areas. The Royals might not be “good” per se — but in an era when just about every team is constructed according to the blueprint of advanced analytics, they will be different, and that might have value in itself.
The Royals will take on the Minnesota Twins tonight in what figures to be a fantastic pitching matchup. Royals ace Brad Keller takes on Twins ace Jose Berrios in a battle for first place in the AL Central tonight at 7:15 at The K. Make sure to get your tickets.
Born on a ranch near Missoula, Montana Territory, in 1880, Rankin was a social worker in the states of Montana and Washington before joining the women’s suffrage movement in 1910. Working with various suffrage groups, she campaigned for the women’s vote on a national level and in 1914 was instrumental in the passage of suffrage legislation in Montana.
In thinking about Germany and World Wars (wrong one but what ever), your song of the day is “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” by the King of Swing himself, Benny Goodman.