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Royals Rumblings - News for February 17, 2020

Who should start on Opening Day?

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MLB: APR 10 Athletics at Royals Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for February 17, 2020

Jeffrey Flanagan writes that the Opening Day pitching assignment is still in the air.

Matheny did suggest that whatever direction he goes with the Opening Day starter, he likely will try to go right-left-right-left or vice versa with his rotation.

“I’ve never been a big fan of having two righties with similar height, similar release points, going back to back,” he said, “because when you talk about guys going third time through the order, you’re going to talk about the sixth time through the order by the time you get to that second game if you go righty-righty.

“If you have the same type of movement in your pitches, you have to be careful. Not that our righties are exactly alike, but they are similar. So that’s something we probably would try to avoid.”

Flanagan also reports that Kyle Zimmer will get a fourth option year this season.

“I’m not thinking about that all that much,” Zimmer said. “I’m just trying to show them I belong here. I have all the confidence I can help this team.”

He also handicaps the bullpen competition.

Locks: Right-hander Ian Kennedy, left-hander Tim Hill and right-hander Scott Barlow.

Inside track: Right-handers Jorge López, Glenn Sparkman, Trevor Rosenthal, and Greg Holland.

On the bubble: Right-handers Kevin McCarthy, Jake Newberry, Stephen Woods Jr., Jesse Hahn, Chance Adams, Kyle Zimmer, Josh Staumont, Braden Shipley, Tyler Zuber, Heath Fillmyer, and Scott Blewett; left-handers Randy Rosario, Daniel Tillo, Richard Lovelady, and Gabe Speier.

Alec Lewis profiles Eric Skoglund and his attempt to make the pitching staff.

“It’s a make-or-break season, man, honestly,” Skoglund said. “I’m a realistic person, and I understand this is a business. It is make-or-break, dude.”

Lewis also looks at six players the projections expect to improve this year.

When Statcast released its new defensive statistic, infield outs above average, one Royals player’s standing stuck out: Lopez. The 24-year-old ranked 13th among all position players who played second base. Unfortunately, due to Adalberto Mondesi’s left shoulder injury, Lopez played a majority of last season at shortstop, where he was good but not great.

His return to second base is in part why he’s projected to improve in 2020. But that’s not all. Strides at the plate are also projected, specifically in the form of his swing-and-miss rates.

Vahe Gregorian writes about Bubba Starling’s attempt to stick in the big leagues.

Danny Duffy missed the start of camp due to the death of his grandmother, and talked about it with Lynn Worthy.

Mike Gillespie at Kings of Kauffman wonders if lefty specialists are an endangered species.

Alex Duvall at Royals Farm Report looks at how some potential draft picks fared in the opening weekend of college baseball.

Speaking of college baseball, this is one of the worst ejections you’ll ever see.

Astros manager Dusty Baker asks MLB to protect the club from pitchers retaliating.

Jeff Passan writes that baseball is in chaos with a war of words.

Commission Rob Manfred defends the punishment of the Astros.

The Giants trade reliever Burch Smith to the Athletics, the first trade between the clubs since 1990.

The Yankees sign pitcher Chad Bettis.

Alex Verdugo has a stress fracture, although the Red Sox knew about it when they acquired him.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg denies a report that a piece of the team has been sold to a Montreal group.

MLB announces minor league minimum salaries will rise.

Why the projections love the Mets.

Red Sox fans don’t seem too excited about the season.

Longtime Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez dies at the age of 57.

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