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Royals Rumblings - News for January 9, 2020

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The projections like Maikel Franco.

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Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for January 9, 2020

Eno Sarris looks at the players projected to most exceed their 2019 performance, including Maikel Franco.

Maikel Franco… this one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. He’s been a replacement-level player over the last three years combined, and he’s projected into value that he hasn’t produced since 2016. His projected offense is better than he’s done in every full season save 2018, after a season in which he was one of the 10 worst position players in baseball.

Looking between the lines in the Steamer projection, it seems that he’s projected to improve his batting average on balls in play next year, while keeping his gains in walk rate. The first is notoriously fickle, and trends towards .300 across the league, so it could be fair to give him the best full-season BABIP of his career next year, even if that number is 14 points higher than his career .258 number. At 27, he could be young enough to project him into numbers close to his career years in 2015 and 2016, but this analyst is a little skeptical of the projection.

MLB.com looks at Central Division catching corps.

Kansas City will welcome the return of six-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner Salvador Perez back into the fold. Perez is coming off Tommy John surgery last March, and he is expected to be full-go by Opening Day, though he may DH and play first base a bit more early on to take it easy on his throwing elbow. The Royals view Perez’s return as the equivalent of a major free-agent signing. The backup battle will be between Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria. Gallagher, 27, is serviceable, regarded as a better defender than an offensive threat (.238, three homers in 2019). Viloria, 22, has the higher upside.

Clint Scoles at Royals Academy profiles Royals pitching prospect Dante Biasi.

For now, Dante works 89-92 mph with his two-seam fastball with boring action alongside his 95+ four-seamer with adequate control to be a starter though he is on the shorter side for that job at 6’0 tall. Both the slider and changeup are possible average or better future pitches as he gets late life with the slider and decent arm-side fade on both the change and two-seam fastball.

MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan has his Hall of Fame ballot revealed.

Jay Jaffe at Fangraphs sees echoes of the PED scandal in the current sign-stealing scandal.

The Brewers extend manager Craig Counsell.

The Dodgers sign pitcher Jimmy Nelson to a one-year deal.

Catcher Robinson Chirinos heads back to the Rangers on a one-year deal.

Slugger Eric Thames signs with the Nationals on a one-year, $4 million deal.

The Diamondbacks sign reliever Hector Rondon to a one-year deal.

Baseball Savant has a new metric to evaluate infield defense.

Paul Sporer ranks the top 125 starting pitchers for fantasy purposes, but no Royals!

How one town is trying to fend off MLB’s efforts to contract the minors.

Orioles reliever Miguel Castro was robbed at gunpoint in the Dominican Republic.

The best and worst in sports fiction.

A handy guide to English soccer stars turned English soccer managers.

Why you should give more hugs.

Puppies are awesome.

Why does everyone love ice cream?

Your song of the day is Bob Marley with Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.