It’s May 31st! Sadly, another month of baseball season gone and in the books. We only have (checks notes) 4... wait, that can’t be right? Four more freaking months of this (censored)? Aw geez, will this ever en... I mean, and now onto today’s Rumblings!
I’ll usually try to catch all the stories we’ve missed over the past couple of days on the national sites for Friday leftovers, but almost all of those were Tim Anderson beanball stories. I’ve been sick all week and I just don’t want to link to them. Let’s just pretend we left that all in Chicago and start over.
At the Kansas City Star, Lynn Worthy writes about Brad Keller’s recent struggles.
The most encouraging sign on Tuesday? In Keller’s words, he “finally” filled up the strike zone with regularity. He’d struggled in recent starts to repeat his delivery, and he’d been firing pitches off-target. “Way better (mechanically),” Keller said of Tuesday’s start. “I pounded the zone. I got ahead of a lot of the guys and they just found a lot of holes tonight.”
If you haven’t checked them out this week, you’ve missed a busy week over at Royals Farm Report. Former RR Kevin and, now, former RFR Editor Patrick Brennan is leaving the blog for “an analytics position with the baseball team at Kansas State University”. Congrats and good luck on those future endeavors! To help with the site, current RR Kevin and current RFR lead(?) Alex Duvall added three new members to his staff.
They promptly drop 2 stories on an eager public. The first, from Marcus Meade, looks at other call-up options for the Royals, namely Erick Mejia:
Erick Mejia has never received the hype of Starling or even Nicky Lopez, but he’s showing that he deserves at least some of that thunder. Without a carrying tool or big-time hype, Mejia is putting together a good season in Omaha and making the case that he should be the next Storm Chaser headed for Kansas City.
The second, by Seth Wingerter, talks about the New Mexico State Aggies baseball team and their prodigious offense.
What is lost in this analysis, is the statistical anomaly that the New Mexico State Aggie baseball team has presented, as they hold the 2nd, 4th, 13th, and 19th best OPS in division 1, which helps carry them to a team-wide OPS of almost 100 points more than any of the other 296 teams they compete alongside. In that, they maintain that with next to no park advantage, with 345 to the corners, 385 to the alleys and 400 to center. Further, although New Mexico is largely elevated, the team plays in Las Cruces at 3,900’, situated somewhat below Coors Field (5200 feet), but they play in almost identical field dimensions as Coors. While this altitude can help power numbers, this still ignores the fact that New Mexico leads the nation in Batting Average by 25 points and OBP by 35 points. My point is: these guys know how to hit.
Royals’ Minir League roster moves: Catcher Nick Dini is back off the injured list at Omaha, Sebastian Rivero returned to Wilmington. And LHP Gabe Speier promoted from Northwest Arkansas to Omaha.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) May 30, 2019
The Royals have the No. 2 pick in the draft. Bobby Witt Jr. is the best high school player in the country. Will they end up together on Monday? “I’ll give it to them," Witt said, "they’re at every game, whether it’s 100 degrees or 30 degrees in the rain." https://t.co/qr6y2oyBYj— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 30, 2019
Fansided Royals content is pretty much gone except for the reliable Leigh Oleszczak at KC Kingdom. She has her “Way too early 2019 All-Star representative predictions”. (Slideshow warning) You won’t believe who is #1?!? Actually, you probably will.
We're saddened to learn of the death of longtime #SABR member Marc Okkonen, 85, a giant in baseball research & Henry Chadwick Award winner. His work inspired @baseballhall's invaluable Dressed to the Nines exhibit, @SABRPictorial index, and so much more. https://t.co/h3ZzFHKyQG pic.twitter.com/KQICh1Vqpi— SABR (@sabr) May 29, 2019
HEY! I HAVE THAT BOOK! Author Marc Okkonen passed away Monday.
Max linked to an article yesterday about Carlos Correa joining the already-crowded IL for the Astros. What has come out since is that he injured himself during a... in-home massage. Thankfully, Matt Snyder at CBS Sports was here to remind us of other odd baseball injuries in his story about it:
We all know we’ve heard just as crazy, from the Sammy Sosa “violent sneeze” to Jeremy Affeldt slicing open a hand while trying to separate frozen hamburger patties to Francisco Liriano fracturing his femur while (playfully) scaring to his kids to the Kerry Wood hot tub fall to -- most notoriously -- the Glenallen Hill spider story.
The new Atlanta Braves stadium, SunTrust Park, will be the site of the 2021 All-Star Game.
This year’s All-Star Game will be played at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The 2020 All-Star Game will be played at Dodger Stadium and the 2026 All-Star Game will be played in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park to coincide with America’s 250th birthday. Venues for the 2022-25 All-Star Games have not yet been selected.
The new Globe Life Field for the Rangers, opening next season, is all but guaranteed to get one in the next couple of years. Usually this is one of those carrots MLB dangles for teams building new ballparks, but there are no other new ballparks on the horizon, except maybe new parks for Oakland and/or Tampa. It will be curious to see where MLB goes for upcoming years.
Next month, the Yankees and Red Sox will play a 2 game series in London. The AP is reporting that, in June 2020, the Cubs and Cardinals will play. Gee, I wonder if those teams might randomly get another All-Star game.
I don’t think we linked to this story back in April so I’m hoping Sam Miller creates a new installment for May that we can link to soon. It’s awesomely called “How many Hall of Famers did Mike Trout pass in April” (going by WAR). He’s already up to 90th all-time for position player WAR, despite being, you know, 27 years old. In April, he passed up 7(!) HOFers: Willie McCovey, Andre Dawson, Craig Biggio, Goose Goslin, Pee Wee Reese, Joe Cronin, and Duke Snider. As of yesterday, he “only” had 0.9 WAR in May so he “only” passed the career marks of Roberto Alomar and Ernie Banks.
Being under the weather this week, I’ve been looking for something simple to play, so I stumbled across Tetris 99 in the Nintendo Switch store. Of course, we’ve done Tetris before in this space, And there have been a number of versions of Tetris, besides the Gameboy version, some of which feature versus modes. What sets apart this wacky variant is that it’s a battle royals against 99 other players.
If you want a complete breakdown of the Tetris 99 rules, they don’t really exist anywhere. Fortunately, an intrepid redittor collected as much as he/she could to help the rest of us understand the game.
It still features the standard Tetris mechanics of spin and drop to eliminate lines and try not to die. You get more points and more lines for combos (like clearing a 4-line Tetris instead of clearing 2 lines twice). However, there’s now an additional layer of strategy as you can target others or be targeted by others. Those lines that you clear get sent to other players and lines they clear go to you.
This leads to options of playing defensively or offensively. Play too defensive in the early going and you’ll never survive late game because you didn’t get enough kills. However, if you play too offensively early, you might get targeted by others to steal your kills. It’s a fun, chaotic, pretty random game.
The music is a bit of electronica update of the original Tetris music that fits very nicely with the game.
Or if you want to see how crazy a game can get, this is an excellent demo of the gameplay from a guy who got targeted by a lot of players early on, killed them all, and went on to KO 20 different players (he actually had a number of other fun videos like a 40 KO game):