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Royals Rumblings - News for August 23, 2019

In a small way, I feel like the Royals lost a game yesterday

Seattle Mariners v Arizona Diamondbacks
Sadly, we are going to be deprived of this
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Yes this is a listicle, but I think I could just leave this here and it will generate our quota of comments for today (FYI: if you don’t comment enough, Max beats us with the brick of Yuniesky Betancourt rookie cards that used to be his retirement plan). At, Will Leitch lists the top 10 managers of the 2010s. Guess who is at, double checks, #4?

4) Ned Yost (KCR 2010-19): Kansas City Royals non-losing seasons in the 17 years before Ned Yost took over in 2010: One. They had four this decade under Yost, but more to the point: The Royals made the World Series twice under Yost, and in 2015, they finally won one. Yost always seemed a little more old-school than he was, and more to the point, he was willing to adjust mid-series. The Yost you saw at the beginning of the playoffs was always a little different than the Yost at the end. That’s all you ask from a manager. And it might be why they won.

Honestly, I hadn’t seen the other lists until today but Royals made the C, 1B, 2B, LF, CF, SP, RP (2) lists, too. I guess that makes sense if you win 2 pennants and a World Series.

As an aside, how many Royals make the 2000s decade list? Carlos Beltran for sure. Damon and Dye? Maybe Sweeney? Anyone else?









Ok, fine, I’ll do more

If the first story didn’t get your #hottake generator going, how about this one from a Hunter Dozier interview with’s Jessica Camerato:

If you could eat one food or meal every single day, what would you eat?

A good old-fashioned sandwich -- wheat bread, turkey, salami, pickles, cheese and a little mustard. I get tired of barbecue pretty quick after a while. I think I could eat a sandwich every day. I love sandwiches. It’s my go-to. If I’m not a fan of the food they provide for us, that’s my go-to -- a regular cold-cut sandwich.

Speaking of BBQ: Ever wonder what happened to old Tim Melville, one of the pitchers in the BFSITHOW*?

During this past offseason, Tim Melville served as a seasonal part-time employee at Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix. He’s seemingly a model employee who’s loved by co-workers and management, and it sounds like he could have a real future with the company. One of the BBQ shop’s owners say they’d “absolutely love to have Tim full-time.” Unfortunately, Tim has another job that makes this pretty difficult. He also happens to be a starting pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization.

*He was not in the crazy top 100 listing of 2011 with 9 Royals but he was a highly regarded prospect coming out of the draft and was a contemporary of those players

As you may recall, RR’s Seth Jarman wrote about Jorge Soler on Tuesday. Fangraphs’s Tony Wolfe also took notice of the outfielder’s recent hot stretch.

There’s a compelling story here. While fighting through ailments in limited spurts of big league action, Soler has traditionally swung at about a league average percentage of pitches both inside and outside the strike zone, and has whiffed at a rate that is well above average. Near the end of May, he became a very aggressive swinger, and his performance suffered for it. But as the year has gone on, and he’s seen more pitching, he’s developed an increasingly sharp sense of when he should be swinging, and what he shouldn’t be. As he’s gone on his recent tear, he’s continued to swing at about the same number of pitches in the strike zone as he always has. But his chase rate has plummeted, and aside from one spike, has fallen rather precipitously as the season has gone on. His swinging strike rate has also tapered off noticeably, while his ISO has gradually risen until reaching a previously unseen height.

Clint Scoles does daily updates at Royals Academy. On Tuesday, he profiled new minor league addition Jake Brentz:

This past season Brentz was dominant at Double-A in nine appearances before struggling at Triple-A where he gave up 42 hits and 23 walks in just 35.2 innings. Despite that performance, Brentz can now run his fastball into the upper 90s while hitting triple digits in the past. Next to the fastball is a curve, change, and splitter all of which are less than adequate. The lefty was cut on August 16th before agreeing to work with the Royals. The Royals have loaded up on minor league high velocity talent from other organizations this year, adding Conner Greene, Jake Brentz and Nick Howard. Considering the lack of cost combined with the arm talent they possess with their ability to hit high velocity they are good bets to make.

At Royals Farm Report, Doc Riddle concludes his three part series on the object-of-Shaun’s-affection, Chase Vallot:

“One of the things that helped a lot, last year was that I went and worked with (Roberts), and it was just like a new world opening for me, from a mental standpoint, as far as hitting. This whole time, I thought there was something wrong with my swing, mechanically, but it’s just all between my ears. I learned how to have little victories.”

It took longer for Max to write the primer about yesterday’s suspended game than for the Royals to lose it. The Star’s Pete Grathoff had 6 “quirky notes” about the game. You won’t believe number... ok, it’s not a slideshow so that’s not a fair jab at the story:

1. It took just 12 minutes to finish the game. The Royals went down in order in the top of the 10th inning. The gates opened at Fenway Park two hours before the game resumed.

The game reminded me of the boxing joke in Hot Shots or the episode of Sports Night with the fight that lasts a few seconds (...and now I’ve lost 30 minutes down an internet hole reading about Sports Night again).

Kings of Kauffman is back with a vengeance after a 2 month hiatus! Three new stories by Ryan Sikes in the last 24 hours:

At KCK, Leigh took Thursday off but Gage Stagner wrote a longform slide show (is that a thing?) with “A look back at success and a vision for the future”.

There were a couple of other listicles, but it’s getting late and this was the “best” one (though I question some of the choices). ESPN’s David Schoenfield highlights the “The top home run achievement ever for all 30 MLB teams

Kansas City Royals

Franchise record: Mike Moustakas, 38 (2017)

Best achievement: George Brett’s home runs off Goose Gossage

Wait, which one? We have this mammoth blast in the clinching game of the 1980 ALCS (note Brett’s slowwwwwwww home run trot):

Then we have the infamous pine tar home run, and damn right I’m going to end this with Brett bursting out of the dugout in a fury of anger, perhaps a symbolic statement for the mad blitz of home runs in 2019:

By the way, we should conclude with this. Jorge Soler will soon break Moustakas’ club record for home runs.

Friday is the start of Players’ Weekend and’s Anthony Castrovince has a quick little primer about it.

No, Eric Chesterton of Cut4, “Brooklyn” is not one of the “12 best Player’s Weekend nicknames”, but I enjoy some of the other highlighted ones are like “High Foltage”, Chad Bettis’s lettuce emoji, and Joey Votto’s “Who” (‘s on First).

This listicle by Will Leitch picks every club’s best nickname. For the Royals, he goes with Scott Barlow’s “Scott McGoots”.

If you haven’t been following this, it’s been pretty fun. Joe Posnanski’s long national nightmare is finally over. On Tuesday, no one hit two home runs.

For 37 days, at least one person in baseball hit two home runs. That’s where it ends. Thirty-seven days. It’s three times longer than the Cuban Missile Crisis, but a few days shorter than the Invasion of Panama.

It’s a record, of course, was a record for more than a week. In all, 107 players had two home run games during the streak. For comparison, 110 players hit two home runs in the entire 1992 season.

As he so often does, he waxes poetic about the state of baseball, where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going.

The Dodgers had yet another walk-off win last night.

It was not only the Dodgers’ 12th walk-off win of the season (and second in two nights), but also the seventh time they have won when trailing entering the bottom of the ninth.

The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty highlights a peculiar problem when talking with major league players.

Spend enough time around a major league team — trail them from city to city, shoot the breeze, press your ear into their conversations — and you will notice something: Players never know what day of the week it is.

“Oh, it’s impossible,” Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle said. “Here’s how it goes: Every start of a series is a Monday, no matter what. Every last game of a series is a Wednesday. But there are other wrinkles, too, like how every day game is a Sunday. So, wait, uh …”

Justin Verlander didn’t like who the Detroit Free Press sent to cover the Tigers-Astros game on Tuesday. So the Astros blocked his access to the locker room, which is a violation of the CBA. And this was after Verlander’s most recent weird stat game:

Unless things change, there will be no MLB players in Venezuelan winter league ball this year:

Major League Baseball has banned all affiliated players from participating in the Venezuela winter league this season, a response intended to comply with President Donald Trump’s embargo against the country’s Nicolas Maduro-led government.

Patrick Brennan (hey - I’ve heard of him) over at Beyond the Box Score does a bunch of graphs and charts to show whether “clutch” is a skill.

It’s been an interesting argument that has been one of the main topics that divides old and new school baseball. Both sides have fair points, the source of those points mostly differentiating along the lines of experience and evidence. Pressure is a real psychological effect. Everyone has experienced it and has felt it to some degree. The questions are a.) how much does it actually impact the performance of a hitter and b.) can it be used in evaluation?

Unlike the previous couple of RPGs we’ve talked about over the summer, Dragon Warrior and Ultima: Exodus, I didn’t play today’s game, Wizardry, all that much.

As I mentioned back in June, it’s one of the critical RPGs in history that was ported to the NES:

The history of RPGs mostly started on PC, though the NES had ports of the most important. For instance, 1981’s Wizardry, was the first traditional RPG in color and the “first true party-based role-playing video game”. 1983’s Ultima III: Exodus brought us substantial advances in plot, animated characters, and complex party combat. Both games inspired the creators of 1986’s Dragon Quest and 1987’s Final Fantasy, the first major jRPGs.

However, I remember getting bored of it pretty quickly. I wonder why (quotes below, per wiki):

The game has unforgiving difficulty as players cannot save their progress within the dungeon; they must exit the dungeon first. In the event of a total party kill, play cannot be resumed; however, a new party may recover the bodies and items of dead adventurers. Later Wizardry games made it easier by restarting at the point in the dungeon where the characters died. It can take hundreds of hours to finish the game.

So you like a challenge, do you?

The game’s lack of an automap feature, which had not been invented at the time of its release, practically forces the player to draw the map for each level on graph paper (included in the box) as they walk through the 20x20 dungeon maze, step by step – failing to do this often results in becoming permanently lost, as there are many locations in the maze that have a permanent “Darkness” spell upon the square (making the player walk blindly) or a “Teleport” spell sending the player to a new location. A magic spell can be used to determine the current location of the party, and at higher levels there is a teleport spell that can be used to quickly transition between the maze levels. Care is necessary when teleporting as the player must enter both the level and coordinates to teleport to (the number of steps north, south, east, or west from his current location) and it is easily possible to land in a trap or solid stone, ending the game.

What I remember most about this game, though, is the aforementioned mapping. Taking a step back, my mom was the one who got me into video games. She loved fantasy and science fiction but didn’t have the manual dexterity to play games that required, in her words, “jumping and stabbing” so she bought a lot of RPGs. This was one she played for hours. I remember the maps for this game were all over graph paper in our living room.

Apparently, you can beat it in about 4 hours as opposed to hundreds, provided you spend the middle 3.5 hours fighting the same bad guy over and over to level up and have a map of exactly where to go: