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Royals Rumblings - News for August 16, 2019

This Friday’s Rumblings is (are?) #SolerPowered

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

I’ve heard that this Jorge Soler fellow is good at hitting home runs. Alec Lewis profiles the changes working with private hitting coach Mike Tosar.

Knowing Soler’s upside but seeing his body language, Grifol knew how important the 2017 offseason would be. Yet he also knew he could not move to Miami, which meant Tosar was the best option to aid Soler in what the Royals felt was a project that was 85-90 percent mental and just 10-15 percent physical...

Soler, Tosar said, is a humble and kind guy, which is great — outside of the batter’s box.

“I said, ‘Hey, you’re a great person,’” Tosar said. “‘But you’re too nice. You can’t take that demeanor to the box. You have to turn yourself into a lion.’”

Something called a “Patrick Brennan” (hey, didn’t we use to have one of those?) also wrote about him for Beyond the Box Score:

Considering that I had already written about Soler’s hot-streak at the plate, it would take a lot for me to write about him again—something along the lines of absurdity. Well, absurdity he accomplished and here I am again. Since that article, Soler has slashed an even better .325/.461/.750 at the plate. His wRC+ is sixth among qualified hitters in that time and his xwOBA ranks third, trailing other hot streaks from Nelson Cruz and Giovanny Urshela.

Similarly, Alex Duvall, a rogue doppleganger of our own Alex Duvall at RR, scored an interview with JJ Picollo:

Q5: Several young guys have looked really good in spurts this season, such as Adrian Alcantara, Yohanse Morel, Delvin Capellan, and Woo-Young Jin. How nice is it to have some depth among the pitchers in the system, where you seemingly have a highly-touted prospect going on every night at various levels?

We have had a goal to have an average or better prospect in our rotations at every level. That is a difficult thing to do but this season has easily been the closest we have gotten to that goal. Guys who are less heralded, like Alcantara, Morel, Capellan and Jin have added to that depth and contributed to a healthy competition.

The Star’s Lynn Worthy talked to Ned Yost about his future, but he is mostly staying mum. There’s also some nuggets from Gordon:

“I think it’s kind of just like me, doing your job, going out here playing or coaching the game that you love,” Gordon said. “I think we share that together where we’re talking about the future and down the road, and I don’t know how long I’ll be playing. But you still have a job to do and pride to go out there and do your best every day. That’s how we look at it.

“I think that’s how he looks at it. Yeah, we’re trying to prepare for the future, but we’re still trying to go out here and win every game. He’s trying and we’re trying. It’s definitely not happening all the time, but hopefully things are going to get better and brighter and he’ll be around for that.”

Kris Bubic nearly tossed a no-hitter last night.

Bobby Witt, Jr. hit his first professional home run.

As one of the leading members of the Brett Phillips fan club, I feel obligated to put any news about him here, even if it’s from an Omaha paper and requires a subscription:

At KC Kingdom, John McCarty (that’s an odd way to spell “Leigh Oleszczak”) asks “Can the Kansas City Royals even consider extending Jorge Soler?

Can we get through a Friday with no listicles? Nope!

RJ Anderson of CBS Sports does Prospect Watch, this week about potential September callups:

Royals The well-named Brewer Hicklen has more raw power than his numbers suggest, and is a well-above-average runner. Strikeouts have been a problem for him -- and could end up being his downfall.

Also at CBS Sports, Matt Snyder looks at every franchise’s home run record. So, about Soler...

Category: You’re Going Down


Team record: Mike Moustakas, 38 in 2017

Season leader: Jorge Soler, 35

The record of Steve Balboni’s 36 was long standing, but Moose’s record is gonna fall after just two years. It might simply be a matter of days. This is going to happen and it’s likely to happen soon. The only way it doesn’t is if Soler gets injured.

Andddddd... that’s it for Royals news.

Fortunately, there’s more interesting doings-a-transpiring around the league.

ICYMI: Albert Pujols is now MLB’s foreign-born hit king. He’s had a fair to middling career

Pujols, 39, has reached several milestones this year, including reaching 2,000 RBIs on May 9, and becoming the first member of the 650-homer, 650-double club on July 28. Next up on the all-time hits list is Cal Ripken Jr. with 3,184 hits, while he’s nine homers away from catching Willie Mays for fifth all-time with 660 homers...

Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he’s starting to run out of words to describe the career of Pujols, who is already the all-time leader among foreign-born players in homers (651), doubles (653), runs (1,815) and RBIs (2,052). He’s also the active leader in those categories as well.

Apparently, there are not rules against MLB players joining the league and being good right away. Who knew?

Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez had the highest OPS through 50 games of any player in history. His 1.113 edged out the debuts of Willie McCovey and... Albert Pujols.

Meanwhile, Reds rookie Aristides Aquino has hit 9 HRs in his first 14 games! (ed note: written before last night’s game) The Reds have 43 games remaining, which puts him on pace for 36. I think Soler will still have more at season’s end.

Dallas Keuchel has mostly been ok for the Braves despite signing well into the season.

The Mets continue to Met (re: trade with Seattle for Cano last winter).

The Rays make another potentially shrewd move (or it could amount to nothing), signing former prospect Dylan Cozens to a two-year minor league deal (as he’s injured and out the rest of the year). His 42.4% (NOT A TYPO!) K rate would fit here in the org but the Royals would have to work on his 20.2% BB. Personally, he’s the type of guy I might take a flier on if I don’t have a lot in my high minors.

CNET had a brief story with a video about Trackman entitled “Meet the AI that could replace your baseball umpire”. Be kind to us meat sacks, Hokius. I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.

Jayson Stark also wrote about said robot umpires (sub required):

I only posted this Fangraphs stories about Twins catchers because it mentions Jeff Mathis who has a staggering 209 PAs despite a 9 (9!!!) RC+ on the season.

Jay Jaffe (also at Fangraphs) talks about how historically bad the Tigers might be. The article mentions the 2004 Royals. Eep.

I don’t like saying anything positive about the filthy Yankees and have no ill will towards the Orioles. But there were too many crazy stats to ignore from New York’s throttling of Baltimore this season.

Dan Szymborski notes that Ronald Acuna has a chance at the still-special 40/40 club.

This Tom Tango tweet (you know how I love alliteration) spawned this Fangraphs article:

We here at Friday Rumblings take our writing very seriously, despite all evidence to the contrary. Back in January of 2018, we talked about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! and there was a monumental error.

We incorrectly mentioned that the game included the Toreador song from the opera Carmen. This is incorrect as Don Flamenco’s theme is actually the Overture from Carmen. We hope everyone can sleep better now, knowing that this egregious wrong has been righted.

Here is the aforementioned theme again in all its 8-bit glory.

Ed. note: Just as the Nutcracker is everyone’s starter ballet, I think Carmen is about as opera-for-beginners as it gets and even my uncivilized self can enjoy it.