Lynn Worthy’s notes column about yesterday’s game talked about Junis’s pitch changes:
Whether you want to call Jakob Junis’ curveball a new weapon or an old friend, he’s encouraged by the way it’s been looking at the very early stages of spring training.
Junis led the Kansas City Royals pitching staff with nine wins last season, his third consecutive nine-win campaign, but the 27-year-old right-hander with a swing-and-miss slider went back to a pitch he’d thrown throughout his career in the minors.
“I think it might have been my rookie year when I stopped throwing it because it started morphing into that slider and took away from my slider a little bit,” Junis said. “But I feel like I’m in a good spot now where there’s two different shapes, and I like where it’s at.”
He also asked “Is this hot start different for Bubba Starling and the Royals?“
After Starling homered and doubled against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, he said he felt like he’d been able to turn on inside pitches in a way he hadn’t last season. Instead of maybe a foul ball or rolling over a weak grounder to third base, he could feel that he was getting to those pitches and “getting extended.”
Starling turned last offseason to his former youth coach Jones, the founder of the “Building Champions” baseball academy in Overland Park, Kansas, to retool his swing. With the help of Blast Motion bat sensors that attach to the end of the bat, they broke down his swing.
Pete Grathoff tells a tale told by Bob Kendrick about Yordano Ventura
“He is absolutely enamored with Satchel Paige,” Kendrick told the Orioles. “When you get there, there is a life-sized statue of Satchel on what we call the Field of Legends. So when Yordano gets on the field, he goes over the statue of Satchel and he rubs elbows with Satchel. Well, if you know his story, that year he gets promoted from Double-A to the major leagues. He swears rubbing elbows with Satchel earned him that promotion.
“We offered YouTube TV the best terms under which their competitors carry our Regional Sports Networks,” Sinclair spokesman Ronn Torossian said in a statement. “Unfortunately, they alone decided to drop these channels citing ‘rising costs’ despite our offer to actually lower the fees they pay us. We also offered to continue negotiating under a short-term extension so that their subscribers could continue to watch their favorite hometown teams. They’ve not yet responded to this offer.
Pinch writing for Jeffrey Flanagan, Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com catches up with Salvy:
Royals catcher Salvador Perez is not worried about getting behind the plate during Spring Training. He knows how many Cactus League games he needs to catch before he’s ready for Opening Day next month. “None,” said Perez, who has not caught a game since Sept. 26, 2018, at Cincinnati. “I’m ready for the season right now.”
Someone named “Macks Reiper” participated in an AL Central roundtable at Bless You Boys.
What players that we haven’t heard of will we want to know about going into 2020?
The Royals went very heavy on college pitchers in the 2018 draft, and many of those arms will be knocking on the door for big league action this year. First-round pick Brady Singer is expected to compete for a rotation spot in spring training, and Jackson Kowar, his teammate at the University of Florida, should be right behind him. Lefty Daniel Lynch might be better than both, but had a setback last year when he missed six weeks with arm soreness. Lefty Kris Bubic led the entire minor leagues in strikeouts with a Clayton Kershaw-like delivery and could be an underrated prospect.
Listicles back in Spring Training form!
R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports lists “MLB breakout candidates: One player per team who’s ready to step up in 2020 season”
Scott Barlow: This Royals roster doesn’t feature many legitimate candidates (we’re giving Adalberto Mondesi credit for “breaking out” in 2018), so we’ll give the nod to Barlow. He struck out nearly 30 percent of the batters he faced last season, and did so while evading lumber on more than a third of the swings taken against his pitches. For reference, that puts him in the same class as Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. There’s no real sense in worrying about who’ll close when Ian Kennedy gets traded, but Barlow is a decent candidate to take the reins.
Meanwhile, David Schoenfield at ESPN listed “The most interesting non-roster player for all 30 MLB teams”
Greg Holland. This is your classic non-roster invitee: former elite closer on the back end of his career looking for another moment of glory after a tough season. Holland began last season as the Diamondbacks’ closer, but eventually pitched his way out of the role and was released in August with a 4.54 ERA. He should make the team, although Ian Kennedy likely remains the club’s first option in the ninth inning. The Royals hope Holland finds some control and becomes trade bait in July.
Finally, our trip around the Royals blogosphere.
Royals Blue doesn’t have any new articles, but is doing a recap of every Spring Training game.
Kevin O’Brien, the Royals Reporter, asks:
- ”Should the Royals keep McBroom or Reynolds for the 26th roster spot?”
- ”Are Royals fans sleeping on Kelvin Gutierrez this Spring?”
KC Kingdom has a trio of new stories:
- Cody Rickman slideshows some “Pitching and hitting prospect notes from Spring Training”
- Leigh Oleszczak states the “Roster filled with utility players for 2020 season”
- And she writes that “Josh Staumont off to impressive start in spring training”
Finally, KOK has 5(!) new stories:
- Shawn Bauman states “Jorge Lopez needs to step up this season for the KC Royals”
- Jordan Foote asks “Time to buy into the Daniel Lynch hype?”
- David Scharff reports “KC Royals showing power early in spring training”
- He also reports on “Singer faces major league opponents”
- And asks fans about “Giving Mike Matheny a chance”
Did you know that there was a Royals Review Classic tag? There is! And it’s home to some of the most memorable posts in site history (and definitely not somewhere the Best of Royals Review committee might run to when out of ideas). Today’s post doesn’t come from there but it was referenced on another article we were reading there. We can’t believe we had forgotten of the genius of Top Ramen. He did a number of humorous fanposts (what post?) during some of the darkest of times, mainly 2009-2010, and this was one of his best: The Betancourt trade recapped through Instant Messenger
For those who don’t remember: the years of 2009-2011 were so bleak. 2008 looked like a step in the right direction after more than a decade (sans-2003) of wrong. But then GMDM loaded up on old, crappy vets to try and augment a core that wasn’t nearly good enough. Over the next couple of seasons, Soria got hurt, Zack demanded a trade, and Yuni. Yes, Yuni. B9YS. If you don’t remember these times, be glad. I’m sure someone famous said “something, something about great art through pain” a long time ago and you’ll notice that many of the posts from Royals Review’s Golden Age were from this time. There’s a reason we were all skeptical about the BFSITHOW becoming merely a
Spoiler: we’ll probably get to another of his posts in the future as it was one of the most rec’d Fanposts in the history of the site.
We have a rules-themed MLB section today and none of it involves the Astros.
MLB announced that four big name umpires are retiring:
Veteran umpires Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth, Mike Everitt and Jeff Kellogg are all stepping away from the full-time Major League staff, creating four crew-chief vacancies that will be filled by Kerwin Danley, Dan Iassogna, Alfonso Marquez and Jim Reynolds. Danley will be the first African-American crew chief, while Marquez becomes the first Mexican-born crew chief.
Over the years a gentlemen’s agreement has evolved throughout MLB in which teams don’t challenge each other about sticky substances that pitchers deploy — such as pine tar or thick sunscreens — because so many pitchers are using something beyond the legal rosin bag. The stated reason is that the balls are slick, especially in cold weather or dry environments such as Coors Field, plus they are inconsistently rubbed down in the pre-game with approved mud designed to take the sheen off the balls. Even hitters are generally comfortable with the substances that pitchers use since they want especially the hard throwers to control their pitches to lessen the dangers in the batter’s box. However, the analytics revolution has brought increased awareness of the benefit of spin on velocity and movement, and tacky substances bring the fringe benefit of making it easier to increase revolutions per minute on the ball. To try to combat this, MLB wants Rule 6.02 enforced.
J.J. Cooper and Kyle Glaser at Baseball America are reporting that MLB is implementing a new rule concerning pickoffs in the minor leagues that will probably make its way to the majors. Frankly, it’s about time.
Major League Baseball is in the final stages of finalizing a plan that will change pickoff rules for a significant portion of the minor leagues. Two farm directors confirmed that they have been told that when the 2020 season begins, MiLB pitchers will be required to step off the rubber before they can throw to a base on a pickoff attempt. As such, the new rule will eliminate the Andy Pettitte-style pickoff move where a lefty hangs on his back leg before either stepping toward first base and throwing over or stepping toward home to pitch. Inside moves at second base are also prohibited by the rule change...
This pickoff rule was enacted for the independent Atlantic League (which implemented rule changes at MLB’s request) last season at that league’s all-star break, at the same time that the league began using an automated strike zone fueled by Trackman data to call balls and strikes.
As the Braves are owned by Liberty Media, a publicly traded company, their books are a bit more open to us than most. Craig Edwards at Fangraphs writes about them.
A year ago, the Braves reported $442 million in revenue, with $404 million of that baseball-related and $38 million from business development on the real estate surrounding the stadium. Expenses are not separated in the same way, but that totaled $348 million, giving the team $94 million in profits before writing off most of that in amortization and depreciation to avoid tax liability. That amount likely includes a $50 million payment for the MLB sale of BAMTech in 2018. Compared to Forbes’ numbers, which do not include the $50 million from BAMTech, they estimated the Braves’ revenues at $344 million, which is fairly close to the quarterly report numbers and a profit of $71 million, which would also be right in line with the team’s report assuming that business development expenses were fairly close to revenues. Forbes’ numbers do come with some skepticism given the closed-off nature of MLB teams’ books, but they come pretty close with the Braves.
This has nothing to do with rules but I can’t pass it by. Just check out the headline on this story from Rachel Marcus at ESPN: “A monocle, mustache and long hair: Justin Meekins has college baseball’s best headshots”. If I didn’t have you at “monocle” then you might be in the wrong place.
There are still a number of tracks we haven’t hit on The World Ends With You. Today’s is Twister.
Had you forgotten about the idea to include polls in Friday’s Rumblings?
This poll is closed
Clearly the Friday Rumblings guy did!