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Royals Rumblings - News for June 21, 2019

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On the longest day of the year, #VoteOmar

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners
VoteOmar!
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

All-Star primary voting ends today at 3pm Royals time. More information about that process can be found in this handy link. TL;DR: Second round is (arbitrarily) going to be next Wednesday and Thursday. The Final Vote is gone. And then this:

Are there any other major changes to the All-Star Game festivities?

Yes. As part of changes jointly announced by MLB and the MLB Players Association this spring, should the Midsummer Classic go to extra innings, both clubs will start the 10th inning -- and all subsequent extra innings -- with a runner on second base. Players who have already left the game will be allowed to re-enter as runners. This is aimed at expediting the ending for a game that, since 2017, no longer has a bearing on home-field advantage in the World Series.

Lets look back at the awesome 2015 All-Star voting:

Remember that glorious moment (MORE THAN A MONTH INTO VOTING) when the 2015 AL All-Stars were going to be 8 Royals and Mike Trout?

And all the hand-wringing about that?

I had even forgotten about this: “Royals fans troll lawmaker who sponsored bill to make Cardinals “official” state baseball team”.

Man, that was super fun. I’m in a good mood now after writing about that. It was some silly, harmless fun except that it was going to bring about ruination on baseball or somesuch nonsense.

I know it goes without saying, but I’m glad we got to experience 2014-2015. That was great fun and we’re never going to get that again. Even if the rebuild is amazingly successful and the Royals win the World Series every season from 2021-2024, it won’t compare to the 30 year drought, the agony of being 90 feet short, and then the amazing comeback team that won it all in 2015. I mean, I’m ok with trying to finding out if winning 4 straight titles is better. But I know Red Sox fans who can’t keep their titles straight, whereas 2004 is etched in stone for them.

Yesterday’s Rumblings mentioned the report that Adalberto Mondesi was day-to-day. That’s no longer true:

The Royals will navigate the final days of June without their shortstop. The team placed Adalberto Mondesi on the 10-day injured list ahead of Thursday’s series opener with the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium. The move is retroactive to Wednesday. Mondesi exited Tuesday’s game with what he described as groin tightness.

Bradford Doolittle uses the Omaha game last week as a backdrop to take stock of the state of baseball. Normally, I wouldn’t post this many paragraphs but it’s just a small drop in the bucket in this longform story.

Once upon a time, the Midwest was the heart of baseball in America. This was about 100 years ago, after the game had spread out of the major eastern cities across the country. Many of baseball’s greatest stars emerged from some of its most remote regions, and from agrarian backgrounds -- Walter Johnson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dazzy Vance and Sam Crawford, just to name a few...

...Over the past year, it seems like we’ve gotten at least a couple of “what’s wrong with baseball” think pieces every week. I keep them in an Instapaper folder dubbed “Baseball Obits.” To be sure, there are some unusual things happening at the big league level. Year-over-year attendance is down. The style of play has become unbalanced. Games are probably too long, at least if you take in most of your baseball on television. These aren’t issues we should ignore. Baseball has its challenges, but then again, it always has. And it has always overcome them.

I’ve written about a number of these issues, while trying to maintain a steady optimistic tone. After all, this year’s average attendance (27,096) might be a bit lower than last year, but it’s still a higher figure than any season before 1993. It’s twice what it was in, say, 1955 or 1965. Plus, revenues are at record levels and local television ratings remain strong. It’s a modern tick that we fixate on trend lines and perpetual growth. But when we do so with baseball, we lose track of some essential truths: The game remains an essential part of American culture, and as a global entity, it has never had more reach.

Clint Scoles reviews the first half for Lexington and Wilmington, naming MVPs for each team.

With plenty of pitching at the lower levels and the additions of some college bats, I doubt we see these two teams fall off much in the second half of the season. If I was to betting then placing some money down on Lexington for the 2nd half title probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

The Fansided network is back with a vengeance! Ok, well, KOK is still dead. But we have 4 other stories, a trio from KC Kingdom and one from Call to the Pen.


Listicles? You probably don’t want them but we have them anyway!

David Schoenfield lists his “Ketel Marte All-Stars”, which he defines as “surprise power hitters who have never made a real All-Star team”.

OF -- Jorge Soler, Royals (19 home runs)

Once a touted prospect out of Cuba, Soler has never hit enough or remained healthy enough to get 400 at-bats in a season. He hit 11 home runs the past two seasons, but he has remained in the lineup and could challenge Mike Moustakas’ club record of 38 homers.

RJ Anderson’s Prospect Watch this week talks about “How the juiced ball is impacting prospect evaluation at the Triple-A level” before getting into his listicle.

ROYALS

It’s been a while since we checked in on speedster Nick Heath. He’s up to 38 steals on 45 tries. (His OPS is just .621, but who’s keeping track of that?)

I’ll even include this bonus nugget. Ian Happ was a prospect that would have made the Wade Davis trade palatable to many.

CUBS

Remember Ian Happ? He’s hitting .232/.364/.425 on the season in Triple-A.

Jason Beck at MLB.com lists the “future All-Stars from AL Central”. The Royals entry comes from the baseball journal “Duh”.

Royals: Adalberto Mondesi

Mondesi is only in his first full season, but he is already making his mark on the game. A superb defender with a strong arm, Mondesi leads the Majors in triples with eight and in stolen bases with 27. He’s on pace to steal 50-60 bases and drive in 90 runs. Most scouts also believe we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg from Mondesi, who is just 23. While Mondesi is low is the All-Star voting this season, chances are that as he continues to emerge as a budding star, he will challenge superstar Francisco Lindor for the throne of best shortstop in the league.


So, this is a new development. The Rays are exploring potentially playing half of their games in Tampa and half in Montreal. Of course, this would require a new MLB stadium... in both cities (that I’m sure would be paid for by taxpayers).

We’ve talked a lot about trade value recently (spoiler: more on tap today). Craig Edwards at Fangraphs reminds us that $9M/WAR is just a guideline for valuing players, and different teams will have different valuations.

The team could trade Turner and Soto and completely rebuild, but given the quality on hand and the ability to spend, the Nationals are extremely likely to want to contend the next few seasons. That means any team trying to deal for Scherzer isn’t just trying to beat the offer of another team as they also must beat the Nationals’ internal valuations of what he might be worth to them. When the White Sox traded Chris Sale, his value to the club was as a trade chip in winter 2016 versus a trade chip in July 2017 versus a trade chip in winter 2017 because the White Sox’s window to contend extended beyond those years. Scherzer as part of a contending 2020 Nationals team likely has considerably more value than Scherzer as a trade chip in the winter or next summer, and that makes moving Scherzer more difficult. If we bump up Scherzer’s dollars per WAR to start at $12 million, which is likely a closer approximation of his value to the Nationals as well as any payroll-rich club with an open window to contend, the valuation comes out like this.

Instead of a prospect ranked in the top-20 and one ranked somewhere else in the top-100, we are now talking about needing two top-20 prospects, not unlike Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, to land Scherzer. A Fernando Tatis Jr. or Wander Franco one-for-one is an interesting proposition, but almost impossible in reality as teams giving up stars tend to spread out the risk a little. Now, the equivalent trade from Houston includes Forrest Whitley and Tucker. A Braves trade of Austin Riley and Pache still might not be enough. The same is true for MacKenzie Gore and Luis Urias. Maybe Keibert Ruiz and May. The Yankees would have to start any offer with Gleyber Torres and the Red Sox would need to offer Andrew Benintendi. Given the club’s finances and window to contend, Scherzer’s value to the Nationals is incredibly high.

Did anyone see any of the wacky Padres-Rockies series over the weekend? That had to be somewhere between crazy fun and exhausting. MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell writes more about it here.

The Padres and Rockies split four games at Coors Field this weekend. The series had everything. And we mean everything. The two teams set a Major League record with 92 runs in a four-game set, and things certainly got wacky along the way. Here’s a look at nine unforgettable moments from a wild weekend in Denver.

Finally, here’s a pair of Joe Pos stories since he can take just about any mundane, obscure, or esoteric topic and make it enjoyable.

The first is about the 1931 AL RBI crown, entitled “The Elasticity of Numbers”.

In any case, that’s the story as everyone knew it for more than a half century. Gehrig had 184 RBIs. Greenberg had 183 RBIs (“That was the record I wanted,” Greenberg said). And neither one of them approached Hack Wilson’s 190 RBIs. And here, finally, we get to the point. None of those numbers are right. Not one of them.

Greenberg actually finished with 184 RBIs. The official scorers had missed one: On June 20 of that year in the second game of a doubleheader against Philadelphia, Greenberg came up with runners on first and third and nobody outs. He hit a ground ball to short and the ball was thrown away — two runs scored. The official scorer rightly did not give Greenberg an RBI for the second run, which only scored on the error. However, Greenberg should have gotten an RBI on the first run. You can’t blame people for missing stuff back then, pre-computers. That whole inning even now is hard to follow; it included two errors, a walk, a wild pitch. The Athletics were a terrible baseball team. But they did miss it — and so, you can now say, Greenberg actually TIED Gehrig for the record.

Only, no, he didn’t. See, they got Gehrig’s RBI record wrong too. In fact, official scorers COMPLETELY botched Gehrig’s RBI total. As SABR’s Herm Karabbenhoft presented at a SABR conference a few years ago, scorers made SIX mistakes that season.

In the other, we’ll revisit that magical 2015 season one last time. On this site, I’ve called it “was one of the craziest in MLB history.” He goes a step further, calling it “The Wildest Game Ever”.

The craziest, silliest, weirdest, wildest, angriest, dumbest and funniest inning in the history of baseball began with a single by a guy named Rougned Odor. I’m pretty sure that’s how my novel would start. Comedy is the field of my co-writer, Michael Schur, but I honestly cannot imagine a more perfect name to start this madness than Rougned Odor. It’s like Ignatius J. Reilly or Bugs Bunny or Michael Dukakis. I mean, Rougned Odor is a guy who had stories written about the drollness of his name TWO YEARS before he even made it to the big leagues.


It’s been a really busy week at work and we’re already at 2000 words so no new game today, unfortunately. Let’s go back to the Project X Zone soundtrack: