At the KC Star, Lynn Worthy talked with Lonnie Goldberg about the scouting for this odd upcoming draft:
Teams were prohibited from contacting players or their agents and gathering video or data on draft-eligible players. However, by early April, MLB relaxed restrictions on what had been a full-stop scouting shutdown.
The restrictions were lifted after MLB and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement regarding temporary changes to this year’s draft. That allowed scouts to call, email, text and hold video meetings with players, advisers, coaches and trainers. Area scouts were anxious to reach out to players and their families just to check on their health and well-being, baseball aside, Goldberg said.
Activity has since picked up quickly for the Royals’ scouting staff. Even though they aren’t able to hit the road for live games or meet with prospects in person, their days have been filled with video analysis, Zoom calls, mock drafts, guest speakers and collaborative sessions with the club’s player development, sports science and strength and conditioning departments.
In times like these, even the Star can be forgiven for going the listicle rout every once in a while. Right now, Pete Grathoff and Blair Kerkhoff are teaming up to count down the top moments in Kansas City sports history. Numbers 6-10 included Royals moments from 1985, 2015, and 1980
With one swing of the bat, George Brett erased years of angst for the Royals — and their fans...
“The people in Kansas City are going to feel that we won the World Series,” Brett told Sports Illustrated. “For us to beat New York is the ultimate for them.”
Jim Callis at MLB.com had his latest mock draft:
4. Royals: Nick Gonzales, SS/2B, New Mexico StateIt seemed like the Royals were heading toward taking another college arm after having success with three in 2018’s first round (Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch), but now they seem to be zeroing in on two hitters unless one of the big three prospects drops to No. 4. Gonzales and Florida prep outfielder Zac Veen, the best all-around offensive talent in the high school class, are running neck and neck.
Tis the season. Over at The Athletic, Keith Law had his latest mock draft as well:
Also, at The Athletic, more news about the draft.
NEW — How has the Royals’ draft strategy changed in recent years? Here’s a deep dive into their approach: https://t.co/ZhsdA8BP7w— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) May 28, 2020
To finish off this trio of The Athletic stories:
Sandy Alderson reflects on the 2015 World Series: “If we had won that first game, we would have won the Series." https://t.co/9j4qwc059J— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) May 28, 2020
I still subscribe to Rany’s wonderful theory about the 2015 World Series. Looking at the quote above, perhaps Sandy Alderson would agree with it:
But after the Series, Brian Kenny wrote about this for Sports on Earth, and pointed out that his studio colleague (and former closer) Dan Plesac liked the decision to go to Familia in Game 3 “because he believes even an elite closer needs to re-establish confidence”. I can’t say for certain that was Collins’ motivation, but I can’t think of any other reason why he would go to Familia there.
And if that’s the case – if Familia pitched a meaningless inning in Game 3 of the World Series because he gave up a home run to Gordon in Game 1 – then think of the repercussions: Collins didn’t go to Familia to start the 8th inning in Game 4, when the Mets were leading by just one run. Instead Collins let Tyler Clippard start the inning, and only after Clippard gave up back-to-back walks to Zobrist and Cain (Moments #104 and #103) did Collins finally turn to Familia, who thanks to some shoddy defense allowed three runs to score. Maybe those runs score anyway if Familia starts the inning; we’ll never know. But if Familia hadn’t pitched in Game 3, he almost certainly would have started the 8th inning in Game 4, and his arm would have been fresher. Instead, the Mets lost.
So in an alternative reality where Gordon doesn’t homer in Game 1, not only do the Mets win Game 1, they might also have won Game 4. In which case they would have led the series 3 games to 1 going to Game 5, and they would have been three outs away from a championship going to the 9th inning that night. If it plays out that way, does Collins give in to Matt Harvey wanting to throw a complete-game shutout? Or does he say, we’re three outs away from a championship, and I’m making sure my best pitcher is on the mound for that moment? In modern baseball it is basically a tradition for the team’s closer to get the final out of a clinching event – Wade Davis pitched the 9th inning in Game 5 against the Astros up five runs, Greg Holland pitched the 9th inning in Game 3 against the Angels up five runs. (Davis pitched the 9th inning with the Royals up by seven runs against the Seattle Mariners – and gave up a meaningless home run – in the game that clinched the AL Central.) I actually think that with a championship three outs away, it would have been easier for Collins to stick with his conviction and bring in Familia to start the 9th. (And if he had stuck with Harvey and the inning played out as it did? Even Hosmer himself has said that he probably wouldn’t have tried to score had the Royals been down 3 games to 1 instead of ahead. Could you imagine if he had been thrown out at the plate to end the World Series?)
Apparently Brad Keller and Adalberto Mondesi stat-wannabe Tim Anderson are getting back into it.
In the CBS Sports simulation, the Royals continue to surprise.
It’s relatively early, but who would’ve thought that the Royals would have a 30-23 record and would be situated in a tie for second place in the American League Central? Kansas City’s fans should enjoy it while it lasts, because a deeper dive suggests their success thus far is of the smoke-and-mirrors variety. The Royals rank third in the AL in runs scored, yet ninth or worse in batting average, on-base percentage, and wOBA. They’ve also hit only the 13th most home runs in the AL, and their pitching staff is anything but spectacular. In other words, the Royals seem primed to slip in the standings as the year progresses.
Blogs, blogs, blogs.
Ed note: I have some constructive criticism for Fansided. Look, I’m a big fan of the writers for KOK and and KC Kingdom. They put out good content and I’m happy to link to it and give them the eyeballs. Royals fandom is best when lots of people are writing about the team, not just RR. But sometime in the last month or two or three or... hell, I dunno - it’s been about 7 years since 2020 started and I’ve lost track- anyway, sometime in there, they screwed up their site so I can’t see it nicely in Firefox. I’ve tried unblocking everything I’m comfortable allowing and their pages still look wonky. And if I run them in Edge or Chrome or Opera (hey, it still exists): my gaming laptop’s fan to start going because of all the autoplay junk and scripts running. I really want to read your site and I really want to link to articles from there but I hate that it takes three times as long as it used to and makes my laptop sound like it’s trying to take off from my desk. Fix that so I can read the following in peace: Cullen Jekel’s analysis of the MLB vs MLBPA feud and great stuff from KOK like retro stories about Bret Saberhagen, Greg Pryor, and All-Star Mark Redman and Tyler Dierking’s interview with Jonathan Bowlan.
Royals Farm Report with lots and lots of draft profiles. These are just the ones from the last couple of days:
Finally, a trio of other blog stories
- UL’s Toothpick continues his walk through 1980. We’re almost to the end of May and Brett still isn’t even hitting .300 yet. His next couple of months are insane, if I remember correctly.
- Royals Blue asks “Is Grant Gavin an under the radar prospect?”
- Finally, Royals Reporter (which is quickly moving up the rankings of Royals blogs) states “Sherman and new Royals ownership will show true colors as challenges of returning to play unfolds”
Today in Wikipedia History (we need a logo and a name for this):
Two states celebrate statehood days on May 29th. In 1790, Rhode Island ratified the Constitution and, in 1848, Wisconsin joins the union as the 30th state.
In 1453, the Ottoman Empire takes Constantinople. Historically, this is hugely significant as “The Fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, and effectively the end of the Roman Empire, a state which dated back to 27 BC, lasting nearly 1,500 years.” Think about that! 1500 years!
In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first people to scale Mount Everest.
Also, I always seem to learn about something new that I feel I can’t do justice in this space. So, there was this group called the Black Hand. They led the May Coup in Serbia, killing the King and Queen on this day in 1903. A decade later, they were linked to the killing of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of World War I.
Birthdays today include President John F. Kennedy (1917), entertainer Bob Hope (1903), and composer Danny Elfman (1953).
It’s not a great baseball birthday. There were no former Royals born on May 29th. Eric Davis (1962) had the highest bWAR of anyone born on this date. He’s legit. However, the only other players with greater than 10 bWAR in their careers were: George McQuinn, Jerry Hairston, and Charlie Hayes.
I’M SURE YOU’VE SEEN THE NEWS! IT’S EVERYWHERE! THERE’S SCANDAL ROCKING THE SPORTS WORLD ONCE AGAIN!!!
Taiwan has their own juiced baseball drama going on. But the CPBL has been refreshingly open about why home runs are up, disclosing COR values almost immediately, and they are now taking steps to de-juice the baseballs. Huge contrast from MLB. https://t.co/dROHwpdLER— Rob Arthur (@No_Little_Plans) May 22, 2020
Ok, so maybe I overstated it a bit.
Rob (different Rob, I believe) at CPBL Stats has a timeline on COR-gate. We can call it that, right?
Last week was rough for the CPBL, too, as there were no games scheduled for Monday but rain wiped out games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Fortunately, the weather has cleared up and there has been baseball most days this week.
Also, coming soon:
Taiwan CDC set to remove the attendance limit at the #CPBL games on June 7. As of today, there have been 441 confirmed coronavirus cases with 416 recovered and 7 death. The country has extended its streak of no new domestic cases to 44 days. pic.twitter.com/i6GEveWdzO— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) May 26, 2020
Finally, I haven’t tried this out yet but you can bet I’m going to:
⚾️How to buy the #RakutenMonkeys merch overseas in Rakuten Taiwan online shop— Shang-Hung Lin (@Lin_ausBerlin) May 11, 2020
"using Google broswer translator on each page"
1. log in or sign up a Rakuten member account https://t.co/kd7JTiDOAZ
2. go to Monkeys shop https://t.co/WCDRA2xI1R
3. follow this guide pic.twitter.com/rVdW8qM9T9
In other sports news:
MLB teams are reportedly releasing HUNDREDS of minor league players.
Across baseball, hundreds of minor league players were cut today and lost their jobs, sources tell ESPN. Hundreds more will be released over the next week. In the end, upward of 1,000 players could see their baseball careers end. The minor leagues have simply been devastated.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 28, 2020
Because the league wants to further alienate fans, MLB Network will be showing 64 straight hours of Derek Jeter programming. Apparently we’re no longer just in a bad timeline, we’ve descended into one of Dante’s circles of Hell.
Two stories about former players go in wildly different directions.
First one from ESPN’s Peter Keating is about Andre Dawson (full disclosure: I was raised a Cubs fan and The Hawk was one of my favorites of all time)
Andre Dawson’s new career differs dramatically from his days on the baseball field. The former Cubs and Expos star is a mortician in Miami and, like the rest of the world, is grappling with grief and uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The other is from B-R’s Scott Miller about Esteban Loaiza and is, somehow, a bit darker than one about a former player-turned mortician.
The two-time MLB All-Star had it all: A career worth millions, the love of a country and a marriage to an international music sensation. So how did he end up broke and in federal prison?
COVID sports news around the rest of the country and world is mixed:
- Texas is opening up sporting events at 25% capacity
- The Premier League will start back up on June 17th in empty stadiums
- The Boston Marathon will be cancelled for the first time and will be run... virtually?
Mentioned Danny Elfman earlier so let’s use some music inspired by him. Here’s the battle music from Halloween Town in Kingdom Hearts.
Side note: Hokius (or anyone else), did you ever play the 3DS Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance? I’m having a hard time getting into it because of the parallel play and the “drop” mechanic.