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Royals Rumblings - News for January 2, 2021

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I bet you aren’t having trouble writing 2021 on your checks this year.

2021 Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

We did it. If you’re reading this, you made it through the 1st day of 2021 and I hope it was the best day of your life. If it wasn’t let’s make today the best day of your life.

I celebrated the day by playing in the snow with my daughter. I pulled her around the block in a sled, even jogging some of the way (hello New Year’s resolution!). When we got back home we built a snowman. It wasn’t the biggest or tallest snowman, but it was the first one I’d built in maybe two decades. It was filled with grass clippings, dead leaves, and some pitiful little-ass sticks for arms. If the year 2020 was a snowman, it would be this snowman.

And it was magnificent.

It’s cliche and I’m nauseous just typing it out, but spending that time with her was so filling for both of us. Her reaction to the snow is the same as my reaction to The Rock getting added to the Fast and Furious franchise back in 2011...

But, if we’re being honest here, I was drug out into that snow for this experience. I did not really want to do it. I limped across the finish line of 2020 and I did not wake up yesterday with a sense of renewal or refreshment that a lot of us were naively hoping would accompany flipping the calendar over.

2020 was a struggle for all of us; a grind that many of us have never experienced. We all had our battles this year so I’m not going to list mine like they’re more important. For me, the holidays were especially weighing because we didn’t see any of our family in person for the first time in my life. We did a Zoom call, which was excellent, but just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t fulfilled emotionally like I usually am from the holidays.

Fast forward to that first couple of minutes with my daughter out in the snow. Her joy was intense and infectious. Immediately my mantra of staying present hit me (hello New Year’s resolution) and I went full send into the moment. And the result was a runny nose, a 2’ tall snowman with scoliosis, and memories that will last a lifetime.

So to all the readers out there, make 2021 YOUR year. The Year of You. Embrace your flaws. Stay present. Appreciate what you have while shooting for what you want. Be a little more kind than you were yesterday, everyday. I hope that in one year from now, you can look back at 2020 fondly, recognizing that it motivated you to be a better person.

On to the Rumblings...

Lynn Worthy at the KC Star takes a look at the weird year that was 2020 for the Kansas City Royals.

According to STATS the Royals had the third-youngest average age in the majors, at 27 years, 266 days. Rookies accounted for 43 percent of the team’s total innings pitched, and the 222 1/3 innings thrown by Royals rookies were second-most to the Houston Astros’ 266.

As the late-July regular-season start progressed into August, the career renaissances of relievers Trevor Rosenthal, a Lee’s Summit native, and former Royals draft pick Greg Holland led the most-improved area of the ballclub. The Royals traded Rosenthal before August’s deadline, but the bullpen remained a strength.

The Royals’ bullpen posted a 3.84 ERA (eighth-best in MLB), more than a run lower than their 2019 ERA (5.07, 27th in MLB). Royals relievers recorded the fourth-most strikeouts (275) in the majors, and their 19 saves ranked third.

Andy McCullough at The Athletic lists New Year’s resolutions for each MLB team and the one he has for the Royals might surprise you (it won’t).

Royals (26-34): Fight out of the cellar

The AL Central has become a tough division. The Twins are good. The White Sox might be ascendant. Cleveland can always pitch. Thus the rebuilding Royals have spent the past few seasons in the bottom of the standings. General manager Dayton Moore can no longer abide that paradigm, which is why they went after veterans like Carlos Santana and Mike Minor this winter. With a fleet of starting pitchers on the rise, Kansas City wants to present a competitive environment for its young prospects. That concept worked the last time Moore went through a rebuild.

Flanny at mlb.com wrote about the 5 big questions facing the Royals in 2021.

3. Where does Jakob Junis fit in?
Junis has been an inconsistent starter in his career with the Royals. And the organization has long believed that Junis might be more effective as a short reliever. Matheny said Junis will be stretched out in camp, simply because the Royals need depth for the rotation. But my guess is that Junis eventually will become part of what’s becoming a shutdown bullpen, with Holland, Jesse Hahn, Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont, Kyle Zimmer, Tyler Zuber, etc.

Also at mlb.com, Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Mike Rosenbaum listed a prospect from each team they expect to debut in 2021.

Royals: Daniel Lynch, LHP (No. 3/MLB No. 54)
The No. 34 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Lynch may have the best stuff in the Royals’ system, boasting a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s that he complements with a devastating slider and a curveball and changeup that both continued to improve this past summer at Kansas City’s alternate training site. He has all the ingredients needed to become a starter in the big leagues, and there’s zero doubt that the 6-foot-6 southpaw would thrive in a bullpen role on the strength of his fastball-slider combo.

Kevin O’Brien wrote about the 10 things he’ll remember about the 2020 Royals.

Leigh Oleszczak at Kings of Kauffman doesn’t think the Royals should trade with the Cubs.

While we’re at KoK, David Scharff thinks the Royals have found the secret(s) to prospect success.

We at the Clearing Waivers Podcast answered one of the questions that Royals Review posed to its followers on Twitter regarding the possibility of bringing Moustakas back.

Fantasy Football Player Curse of the Week

Well your season should be over and I hope they ended better than my track record for the FFPCotW. I played in three championships last week out of three leagues despite my inability to predict a good standout fantasy projection. Those three appearances resulted in one title because Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs decided that too many good things have happened to me. They combined to throw my perfect run in the garbage along with most of my picks in this portion of the Rumblings. I’ll still call this season a success and maybe I’ll try my hand at baseball in March. In the meantime, throw your fantasy season reviews at me. How’d you do? Any memorable bad beats, received or delivered? I promise that I care.

Song of the Day

“Victory” by The Avett Brothers

Every New Year’s Eve, the Avett Brothers have a big concert in their “home city” of Raleigh, North Carolina, counting down to midnight about 34 of the way through. They’ve done a few of their live concert recordings in these shows before and they’ve become a Bucket List item for me. This year, they streamed the concert to an empty auditorium, and we jumped on it. It was worth every penny. There was no audience so the energy of a typical live show wasn’t there. It was like watching a long music video. The sound quality was excellent and the small tweaks they did to all the familiar songs made it feel special and intimate. Their overarching message they kept stressing was the ability to maintain our connection to each other despite being the farthest from each other than we’ve been for a long time. That’s a message I can get behind. “Victory” was the first release from their 2020 album The Third Gleam and has become one of my favorite songs of theirs. Let their lovely harmony get your day started on a beautiful note and carry their joy forward to the world.