MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Jorge Soler is working on his defense.
Statcast estimates that based on degree of difficulty, an average outfielder would have caught 79 percent of the balls hit his way. Soler has caught only 70 percent of them. That minus-9 differential ranks him No. 97 among qualified MLB outfielders. That is, simply, unacceptable. “It’s a work in progress,” said Royals first-base coach Mitch Maier, who coaches the team’s outfielders.
At the Star, Lynn Worthy capsules the Angels series and reminds us that tonight we get to see Duffman!
Lee Judge talks crap on those goofy calculator nerds and their spin rate in an article that I’m not going to dignify with a link here. He draws some conclusions from small sample sizes early in the season, informs us that stat geniuses don’t know everything, and reminds everyone who is not a baseball player is too far from the dirt to draw meaningful conclusions.
In a small way, Ned Yost made it onto an NBA broadcast the other night:
- Leigh Oleszczak of KC Kingdom observes “Kansas City Royals finally giving Terrance Gore playing time”
- David Hill at Call to the Pen states “Bubba Starling deserves a major league look”
- Kings of Kauffman hasn’t had a new story in over 2 weeks. C’mon, guys!
Two listicles round out our Royals coverage:
At MLB.com, Russel Dorsey writes about “What’s real and what’s not in the AL Central”:
What’s real: Hunter Dozier’s breakout season. The Royals saw Dozier emerge defensively and at the plate at the end of 2018, and he has carried that into this season. Through Wednesday, Dozier had a 1.106 OPS and a .324 average with seven home runs and 12 RBIs. And what has really impressed the club is how hard he is hitting the ball, even on his outs. His average exit velocity of 95.5 ranks ninth in the Majors. “He is strong and he is faster than you might think,” manager Ned Yost said. “He is really coming into his own.\
What’s not: The Royals talked all during Spring Training about having a better plate approach with two strikes and cutting down on strikeouts. But after Sunday’s club-record 20-strikeout game against the Yankees, Kansas City has 217 strikeouts on the season, well on pace to shatter its all-time mark of 1,309 in 2018. The Royals also are hitting .151 with two strikes, second worst in the American League. “We certainly have to work on that,” Yost said. “We’re better than that and those numbers will improve.”
RJ Anderson at CBS Sports has list some “easy velocity” pitchers on his Prospect Watch:
Kris Bubic was the 40th pick in last June’s draft via Stanford. Predictably, he’s dominating in A-ball, having fanned 27 of the first 62 batters he’s faced. He has a quality changeup and a delivery that will remind some of Clayton Kershaw.
Which former Royal could really help the lineup this year? The title from this Devan Fink story at Fangraphs gives it away: “Zack Greinke Is Hitting Like Barry Bonds”
Greinke has produced 0.6 WAR as a position player, which, mind you, is 500% more than what he has produced as a pitcher (0.1 WAR). Sure, some of that comes from a favorable positional adjustment on defense, but he’s already produced 4.4 offensive runs above-average this season. The last pitcher to do that over a full season was Don Drysdale in 1965, when he put up 6.9 offensive runs above-average. That year, he posted a 144 wRC+ over 138 plate appearances.
Sam Miller with the provactive headline “How Christian Yelich became a future Hall of Famer in 400 plate appearances”.
Since then, he has hit .364/.451/.792. In just 400 plate appearances, his career OPS has gone up by 51 points, and those 51 points -- those 400 plate appearances! -- have moved him up more than 200 spots on the career OPS+ leaderboard. He’s now ahead of Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Gwynn, Winfield and Eddie Murray. There are still plenty of non-HOF hitters around him, but remember that Yelich was always a do-everything player, and his raw offensive stats now join his baserunning and defensive value to make a player with elite value and bold-ink stats. He ended his age-25 year as the 143rd best player ever through that age by WAR. He ended his age-26 season 88th, with 26.5 WAR, ahead of dozens of non-controversial Hall of Famers. He’s not a lock to make the Hall by any means; his career will also have to be built on longevity, as any Hall of Famer’s does. But he’s now on his way.
Cubs closer Pedro Strop had his car stolen before Wednesday’s game and “his stolen car was involved in a police chase”. Expectantly, I went on to read what kind of car it was. Ferrari? Porsche? Mclaren? Nope... a Gensis G90, a Hyundai luxury car. I’m a little bit disappointed at this revelation.
Going back to Tuesday, Mets reliever and dirty Noah Syndergaard protege Jacob Rhame threw up and in at Rhys Hoskins. Wednesday, Hoskins got his revenge
Rhys Hoskins' home run trot tonight: 34.23 seconds.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2019
Bartolo Colon's home run trot in 2016: 30.5 seconds.
Not good enough? How about a Japanese home run trot that ends in a back flip?
Since I’m out of baseball stories, how about some other stuff?
Honestly, I wanted to do this whole Endgame-themed Rumblings today but I worried if I went clicking around, I’d run across spoilers and this is one of those things I just don’t want spoiled for me.
CNET was kind enough to provide this spoiler-free public service of “When to take a bathroom pee break during Avengers: Endgame”.
Sure, I’ll include an NFL draft story: it’s just going to be from 20 years ago. I remember the 1999 draft vividly, thinking it would be the one that rippled across the league for years to come. It did, in a lot of ways, but not as much as I expected. ESPN’s David Fleming revisits it: “Yep, the 1999 NFL draft was just as crazy as you thought”
I enjoyed this Baxter Holmes (ESPN) piece about Greg Popovich as a foodie and how he basically is basketball’s The Godfather: Michelin restaurants and fabulous wines: Inside the secret team dinners that have built the Spurs’ dynasty.
Finally, in Florida (because, of course it was Florida), the Easter Bunny got into a fist fight. Is there video? Would I include the story if there wasn’t?
I think there’s a lot to talk about today so we’re just revisiting a game from the past. Back to one of my favorites, the Gamecube, and F-Zero GX. This time, it’s some crazy level design where you’re riding on a pipe the entire time. Fire Field: Cylinder Knot was actually a remake of an N64 level and the graphics difference between the two is night and day.