Royals Rumblings - News for March 11, 2021
Lynn Worthy writes about the progress Royals prospects made at the alternate site last year.
But might the unusual alternate training site setting have served as an accelerator for talented young players such as budding phenom Bobby Witt Jr., left-handed pitching force of nature Daniel Lynch and potential center fielder of the future Kyle Isbel?
“I think we’re stuck in this thing of not giving due credit to what those guys did last year,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “I’ve watched some of these players improve from 365 days ago. How much they’ve improved, you normally would not see that had they played every day of a typical minor-league season. What they were doing was everyday baseball.”
Mike Matheny is raving about catcher Sebastian Rivero, who homered yesterday.
“I’ll make a bold statement,” Matheny said on Tuesday. “Behind the plate, he’s ready to catch. He does everything you’d want to see as far as game management, as far a communication, as far as taking charge, as far as receiving, blocking, throwing. He checks all those boxes.”
Jorge Soler also homered, and was asked what he thought about his potential free agency this fall.
“I’m just worried about the Royals,” Soler said of potentially hitting the open market. “I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got, and I’m happy to be here.”
Mike Matheny likes what he sees from Soler.
“Every time he walks in there, you know you may see something that you haven’t quite seen before. It’s unique. What he brings is unique. Just how much power he has, and when he gets into one, what it looks like. And the fact that he doesn’t chase outside the zone that much. He does take his walks. You’ve got some depth behind him on guys that can do some damage as well.
“It’s starting to make some people think. But he’s one they’ve got earmarked — don’t let this guy hurt you. You try to get him in that place where he just gets his rhythm. We saw for a little bit last year, and we’re starting to see it already this spring.”
Tyler Zuber reflects on his rookie season with Anne Rogers.
“I played like I was nibbling on the corners versus when I went right at people sometimes,” Zuber said. “Just trusting myself and that it was good enough. It took me 80 or 90 percent of the season to realize that. And then it was like, I can just do what I’ve been doing my whole life and get guys out. I don’t have to trick them or do anything special. That was the biggest thing — my stuff was good enough to get guys out at the Major League level. Now I just have to go out there and do it on an everyday basis. That’s my focus now.”
Nicky Lopez is looking to make more contact this year.
“I know what I did to get up to the big leagues, and I need to just get back to that,” Lopez said. “Put the ball in play, play small ball. I’m going to be batting low in the order, I know that, so any way to get on, any way to move a runner so that they’re in scoring position for Whit [Merrifield], [Adalberto Mondesi], Benny, Soler to drive them in. That’s what I need to do. Slowly but surely getting back to that.
In his Mellinger Minutes, Sam weighs in on whether to put Bobby Witt, Jr. on the Opening Day roster.
The question is whether the Royals should promote their most valuable asset immediately, essentially trading a season at 20 years old for one at 26, at a point in history when the whole of his professional experience consists of 37 games in rookie ball, a few months against other non-big-leaguers at T-Bones Park, and some spring training games.
That’s a no from me, dog.
David Lesky writes about Adalberto Mondesi’s amazing turnaround last year.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Mondesi isn’t what he was at the end of the season, but the guy’s insane talent and natural ability can carry him for stretches. If the improved plate discipline is real and the ability to punish pitchers for throwing him strikes is real, then he has a chance to put together his best season yet. The issue is that we simply can’t count on the plate discipline from him.
Craig Brown points out that Mike Minor will need to rely on his change up.
Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein give some scouting reports from Arizona, including a report on Royals lefty Jake Brentz.
Brentz has an incredibly fast, explosive arm action and is a great on-mound athlete. His fastball velocity has crept up from the 91-94 range to 95-99 in his most recent spring outing. His fastball’s spin axis is not conducive to creating bat-missing life, though, and righties have a nice long look at his pitches. There’s exciting raw material for the Royals to work with here but I wouldn’t expect Brentz to make an immediate big league impact even though he has elite lefty velo.
Yankees reliever Zack Britton has elbow surgery and will miss the start of the season.
The Texas Rangers will allow full capacity for two exhibition games and Opening Day.
RJ Anderson at CBS Sports ranks the rebuilding teams.
RJ McDaniel at Fangraphs looks back at 100 years of baseball on the radio.
Astros pitcher Forrest Whitley needs Tommy John surgery.
After an 18-year professional career, pitcher Tim Dillard announces his retirement.
Former catcher and manager Norm Sherry dies at the age of 89.
Body cam footage from Johnny Damon’s DUI is released and woo boy.
Maybe everyone wants to come back to movie theaters after all?
The true story of cocaine bear, which will be the subject of a new movie.
Your song of the day is The Zombies with She’s Not There.