Craig Brown gave some insight into his votes for Royals player and pitcher of the year in his Into the Fountains newsletter:
It’s all about the angles. Keller is crushing opposing hitters with geometry. The sinker moves one direction, the four-seamer a little more counterclockwise, comparatively. And the slider is something else altogether.
With so many different looks on offer, hitters just have a difficult time squaring up against Keller. Last year, according to Statcast, he allowed a “barrel” in just 2.8 percent of all plate appearances and opposing hitters had an average exit velocity of 88.7 mph. Both measurements are very good compared to his fellow starters.
The Royals are not in on Yasiel Puig. Which makes it a clean sweep. The 3 teams rumored to be in on Puig — Marlins, Yankees and Royals — are not interested. For his sake, hopefully there are teams.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 3, 2021
Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Grant Jackson died at 78 from complications from COVID-19. Jackson pitched for the Royals in 1982.
[CW suicide attempt, gore, mentions of completed suicides] I’m going to preface this by saying: reading this is not going to be OK for everyone. But if you’re feeling up for it, Jeff Passan wrote the story of outfielder Drew Robinson, who survived a self-inflicted gunshot to his head. It is going to wring you out, but also travels through so much more nuance than a typical sports hero tragedy-to-triumph story.
[CW suicidal ideation] Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who just signed with the Twins, also opened up about his depression, which he revealed was the reason he opted out of the end of the 2020 season.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are going through stressful times,” Simmons wrote. “For different types of reasons. Which brings a lot of fear or anxiety. And I know there’s the fear of seeking help/assistance because of the perception of people thinking there’s something wrong with you, but I think in reality there are way more people than you might think that are going through stressful stuff, which can come in different ways: fear, loss, trauma, problems with loved ones. You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up. Find someone that can help you express your emotions freely and that can assist you with it.”
The more people like Simmons who tell their stories, the more others can find help, according to Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, the director of the psychotherapy program at the University of British Columbia.
“We hold athletes high up on a pedestal,” Ogrodniczuk said. “Rightly or wrongly, they are seen as role models for many people in society and they have a public platform that many others don’t. What they do, what they say can have a large effect on other people in general.
“When an athlete says ‘I’m struggling with depression and it affects my life,’ the right thing to do, the courageous thing, is to share. Let people know if you are struggling and need a hand.”
[end of CW]
Chris Archer is going back to the Rays, bringing his trade from TB to Pittsburgh to a conclusion of sorts.
The Orioles brought back lefty Wade LeBlanc on a minors deal.
Elsewhere in bird-mascot teams reuniting with pitchers, the Blue Jays signed Francisco Liriano to a minor league deal.
Kevin Goldstein is back in the writing game after spending eight seasons working with the Houston Astros. Yes, during the cheating years, and his introductory post at FanGraphs addresses that.
EA Sports is making a college football video game for the first time since 2013.
This executive assistant had to sort through her boss’s emails, even the ones where he was setting up a love nest with someone from work who was not his spouse. How would you have handled it?
Jeff Bezos is stepping down from his role as CEO of Amazon.
The Weeknd’s halftime show of the Super Bowl will be completely live, for some reason.
Fun (or maybe horrifying, depends on your answers!) Reddit question of the week: “What was the worst job interview you ever had?”
SOTD is this orchestral cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters,” from this captivating video of excavators doing a choreographed dance.