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Royals Rumblings - News for February 18, 2021

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Who is in the best shape of their life?

Royals spring training John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for February 18, 2021

Lynn Worthy writes about three big questions for the Royals in spring training.

What’s a reasonable expectation for this pitching staff?

In a 60-game season, the Royals team ERA ranked near the middle of the majors (12th, 4.30) with the relievers having performed better relative to their counterparts. The bullpen ranked eighth in ERA vs. 18th for the starters.

Overall, the Royals pitching staff finished in the middle third of the majors in strikeouts per 9 innings (16th, 9.00), walks per 9 innings (16th, 3.67), WHIP (19th, 1.38) and the bottom third in batting average against (22nd, .251).

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Royals started last season with a rotation in shambles because of COVID-19 having temporarily sidelined Brad Keller and Jakob Junis, and because of Mike Montgomery’s lat injury.

Lynn also talks to Mike Matheny about some of the safety protocols to keep everyone safe.

Sam Mellinger writes that there is a lot of optimism going into camp.

This is a club on the come. The trade for Benintendi is the franchise saying this group is ready to compete now, a bet that any excess long-term value they might be giving away is a fair price for Benintendi’s right-now talent and what it says to his new teammates.

The Royals tentatively planned on giving Franchy Cordero regular time in left field, so this is the Royals buying increased certainty at the position. This is the Royals believing that their culture and Benintendi will be good for each other, that their coaches will help bring out his best, and that they believe in minor-leaguer Kyle Isbel.

One other interesting part of this trade is the existence of two players to be named later. Those will not come from the Royals’ collection of top-shelf pitching prospects, a source confirmed, but their mere existence is worth noting.

Alec Lewis looks at how a perfect Royals season would play out, which includes Adalberto Mondesi reaching his potential.

A more sustained performance begins with health. Mondesi has struggled to avoid injuries throughout his career, and health works in tandem with development. The other big hurdle for Mondesi will be cutting down on his swing-and-miss. Mondesi has a career 29.7 percent strikeout percentage; the league average is 21.8 percent. Interestingly, though, over the final 23 games, Mondesi still struck out 28.7 percent of the time. It’ll be a balancing act. The strikeout numbers won’t disappear. Limiting them, in any way, will go a long way toward Mondesi reaching that ceiling.

Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs has three Royals prospects in his top 100 list, including Bobby Witt, Jr. at #19.

How much contact does Bobby Witt Jr. need to make to be a star? He swung and missed a lot during his showcase summer but Witt’s subsequent fall and spring were strong enough to make him the second overall pick of the 2019 draft class. His skillset compares quite closely to Trevor Story’s. There are going to be some strikeouts but Witt is a big, athletic specimen who is very likely to not only stay at shortstop but be quite good there. He also has a swing geared for pullside lift (he can bend at the waist to go down and yank balls away from him, too) and the power to hit balls out even when he swings a little flat-footed. He is the son of a former big leaguer and carries himself like one, which has endeared him to scouts and coaches during the course of a high-profile amateur career laden with very high expectations. His debut statline lacked power on the surface, but the batted ball data suggests we shouldn’t worry.

The Royals will be on TV soon.

David Lesky at Inside the Crown continues projecting the roster.

Craig Brown at Into the Fountains takes a closer look at Scott Barlow.

Clint Scoles at Royals Academy looks at who the Royals could trade this summer.

MLB.com looks at AL Central middle infielders.

Former Royals pitching prospect John Lamb opens up about his drug addiction.

The Padres sign shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. to a record 14-year, $340 million deal.

Clint Frazier will be the Yankees starting left fielder.

The Blue Jays will begin the regular season playing home games in Florida.

Tim Kurkjian looks at the changes to spring training.

Jerry Reinsdorf knew about Tony LaRusa’s DUI but decided not to tell anyone about it.

Tim Tebow retires from baseball.

Reliever Cody Allen also announces his retirement.

How the Chiefs could close their salary cap gap.

Joe Buck admits that he and Troy Aikman used to drink during broadcasts.

Facebook bans Australians from sharing news.

Martin Scorsese accuses streaming services of devaluing films.

The greatest movie lines in trailers.

Your song of the day is The Dead South with Broken Cowboy.