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Royals Rumblings - News for April 30, 2021

If the Royals win tonight, they will have baseball’s best April record

Kansas City Royals v Pittsburgh Pirates
You’re right, Hunter - if the Royals win tonight, they’re #1 for April
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Games without Thursdays make Rumblings both easier and harder. It means all the stories that are out there are going to be out there by mid afternoon. But it also usually means there are fewer.

THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! If the Royals win tonight, they will have the best record in baseball for April. That’s crazy!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

Max put out our story about the Minor League rosters being set yesterday.

Anne Rogers had one for ICYMI: Bobby Witt Jr. is headed to AA:

After his first season with the Royals’ rookie affiliate in 2019, Witt is expected to move quickly through the Minors this season, with many believing he’ll make his debut at some point in 2021. As they’ve shown before, the Royals won’t hesitate to promote a top prospect when he’s ready, and there’s ample playing opportunities for him on the big league club.

The Minor League season is set to begin on May 4. Other notable prospects on the Minor League rosters include left-hander Daniel Lynch (the Royals’ No. 2 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list) and right-hander Jackson Kowar (No. 4) starting the season in Triple-A Omaha. Lynch especially has made significant strides over the past year, and both are expected to help out the Royals at some point in 2021, either as a starter or in the bullpen.

Sam Dykstra of wrote his from the perspective of where each player from the Top 30 Royals prospects will go and also had some notes:

Team to watch Two Kansas City infield prospects were the talk of Spring Training — Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto — and they will man the dirt at Double-A Northwest Arkansas to begin 2021. Given what both showed in the Cactus League, that should be a lot of pop in the middle of the Naturals lineup. In total, six of the Royals’ top 14 prospects will open up the season in Double-A, including three right-handers in Jonathan Bowlan, Alec Marsh and Jon Heasley.

Alex Duvall also has a team-by-team preview for Royals Farm Report:

This River Bandits team is absolutely loaded. Six top-20 prospects including both of 2020’s first round picks in Asa Lacy and Nick Loftin. A former first round pick in revamped Nolan Watson. This pitching staff has a ton of big names and the everyday lineup shouldn’t be short on big names either. I’m a little surprised that Jeison Guzman isn’t at AA, but that could have to do with him recently going back to being a switch hitter. I will 100% be making a road trip north as soon as I’m able to see this squad in action.

Alec Lewis with our daily dose of The Athletic (sub required):

I don’t usually link to these sort of promo things from but I like Salvy and his tattoos:

I know it sounds cliche and every team says it, but Lynn Worthy has the story from the Royals about the team expecting to win now:

Whit Merrifield, an All-Star who has led the majors in hits and stolen bases in previous seasons, put into words the contrast between showing up to work this season and in previous years. “It’s totally different,” Merrifield said. “I’ve come to the field every day expecting to win, feeling like we’re going to win the game. As opposed to coming to the field going, ‘All right. It’s going to be a struggle. What are we going to have to do? They’re going to have to be off. We’re going to have to be on.’ That was years past.

At The Ringer, Michael Baumann talks about how the Royals got to where they are:

I don’t think there’s really a good way to lose 100 games two years in a row, but the Royals came by their rock bottom honestly. After the Astros and Cubs turned full-scale teardowns into World Series titles, tank jobs have become an accepted part of the life cycle of a baseball team. Sometimes, it’s necessary—the Astros of the early 2010s, for instance, were so directionless that it made sense to rip the whole enterprise up, root and branch. But tanking gets less effective the more teams do it, and during the past decade, more and more teams have ripped up fairly young, cheap cores in an attempt to win later. Better to tear it all down a year early than a year too late, is today’s somewhat perverse logic...

Some of the younger members of those championship teams stuck around. Alex Gordon, a totemic figure in franchise history, remained a one-club man until he retired last fall, even though his bat all but deserted him in his early 30s. Danny Duffy and Salvador Pérez, who were catastrophically underpaid while the Royals were good, received long-term make-good contracts and remain with the team today. I don’t know if that’s a “smart” way to run an MLB franchise, in the amoral business school sense, but there’s something admirable about it—even if it led to back-to-back 100-loss seasons.

At Inside the Crown, David Lesky talks bullpen:

It sort of seems that the big five in the bullpen are Staumont, Scott Barlow, Zimmer, Brentz and Zuber. You can probably include Holland as a sixth, but guys like Wade Davis and Ervin Santana are just there as the “B” squad. The six listed have gone 66.2 innings with 44 hits allowed, 67 strikeouts and a 2.43 ERA.

At Into the Fountains, Craig Brown talks bats:

Soler is making ferocious contact. The fact he’s posted a .222 BABIP in this stretch while averaging an exit velocity of 97.8 mph is a joke. The man has been pulverizing the baseball. This may be the best way to visually present the blistering contact Soler has been making. These are the balls he’s put in play since April 17, covering 11 games before Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh. The cluster above 100 mph with the relative absence of plots below 90 mph is staggering.

They’re two of the best and most prolific Royals bloggers of the last decade. They used to be at BPKC and RR and now are both on substack. I’m allowed to use parallel structure

Here’s yesterday’s Fansided highlights:

I don’t usually do Power Rankings listicles, but the Royals are in ESPN’s Top 10 after their scorching April so I’m doing it today.

8. Kansas City

Royals Record: 15-8

Previous ranking: 19

Whatever happens from here, the Royals will be able to look back at late April and say that, for a couple of days at least, they woke up in the morning with baseball’s best record. There are a couple of obvious areas where it appears the Royals’ pace isn’t sustainable. They are 6-1 in one-run games. They are hitting .381 in late-inning, high-leverage spots, a category in which the MLB average is .156. Still, K.C.’s record is what it is, and there are reasons to think the Royals have yet to play their best baseball. — Doolittle

Here’s some fluff from around baseball.

I agree with the Twins that the new 7-inning doubleheaders and extra inning nonsense suck:

Extra-inning games: 0-5

Seven-inning doubleheader games: 0-4

Regular nine-inning games: 7-6

That said, if those 9 losses are the reason the Royals get into the playoffs over the Twins at season’s end, I’ll stop badmouthing the rules (for like a day or two).

The NFL Draft started last night, but how about the MLB Draft? It starts July 11th and the Royals have the #7 pick. R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports gives us his top 10 MLB prospects here.

Finally, I think most people here know what I think about sign stealing. If not, here’s about 8000 words I wrote on the topic back in 2019. But apparently, the Dodgers and Trevor Bauer were whining about the Padres stealing signs last weekend. Of course, this is the same Trevor Bauer who has used foreign substances on baseballs. And, of course, the same Dodgers who have been accused around the league of stealing signs, or of using foreign substances, lionized Joe Kelly for making fun of the Astros despite him being on the 2017 Red Sox team punished for stealing signs, or faking injuries to abuse DL (now IL) rules. Apparently, they were mad that Fernando Tatis Jr. may have snuck a peak back at their catcher signs. Also, the White Sox accused the Tigers (wait... they’re stealing signs and their offense is still this bad??) of stealing signs. Matt Snyder at CBS Sports breaks down all the lunacy.

Haven’t done some random Off Topic stuff in a while and I’ve seen some random stories the last couple of days so why not?

Karaoke - I went to CBS to see if there was any news about the Kansas football coach search (hah). Instead, it’s clear they have nothing to write about as their football crew did a karaoke song draft. I have done karaoke exactly one time in my life and it was a dismal failure - both because I’m awful at singing and because I made a poor song choice. I’m pretty sure the first is the real problem but maybe if I did better with the second part, I’d give it a go in another decade or so. My evidence: One of the other people there was stinking drunk and sang horribly off key but it didn’t matter because he was from Boston and sang “Sweet Caroline” so it was a crowd pleaser.

Aaron Rodgers and Jeopardy - So Aaron Rodgers wants to force a trade out of Green Bay. Makes sense, in that they drafted his successor, presumably, so he’s not long for the team, and this is the last time he might have a chance to dictate some of the terms of where he’s going. I ran across this sentence: “The 37-year-old wants to move closer to the West Coast because it’s closer to home (he was born and raised in the Bay Area) and because he’ll likely have more job opportunities in the entertainment industry, which would include potentially hosting Jeopardy.” So, wait? The Packers might lose their QB because he wants to be the next host of Jeopardy?

FYI: I haven’t been watching the progression of folks they’ve trotted out there except a couple of Ken Jennings episodes. But the consensus on Rogers seemed to be “better than expected” in a “Charles Barkley is funny” sort of way. The theory that Chuck is definitely the funny one on the set is true, but that’s more because it’s a limited set (Shaq, Kenny, EJ) and not because he’s funny when up against, say, the field of candidates which includes, say, people who do standup comedy for a living. I got the impression he did well because expectations were low, not because he was that great at it.

Talk Show Host Pay? Aaron Rodgers has made almost $250M in his career from playing football. So it got me wondering about how much various TV personalities are paid. How about the other potential Jeopardy hosts (using the accurate scientific method of “first Google result”)? Ken Jennings is probably the “poorest” with a $4 million net worth. LeVar Burton is worth about $6M. Noted quack (story: “Doc McStuffins More Evidence-Based Than Dr. Oz”) Dr. Mehmet Oz is worth about $20M. Anderson Cooper makes about $12M per year and has some wealth from the Vanderbilt fortune. Katie Couric used to make about $15M per year and is likely worth 9 figures but her current salary eluded my quick Googling.

Apparently, Alex Trebek made $10M per year and was the 2nd highest paid game show host, sandwiched between Pat Sajack’s $12M per and Drew Carey’s $9M. Also, I was randomly looking up late night talk show hosts and this site had their net worths and salaries of: Conan ($85M worth/$12M per), Colbert ($45M/$4.5M), Kimmel ($35M/$10M), Ferguson ($30M/$8.5M), Fallon ($25M/$11M), etc.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier - Max linked to this story yesterday and I hadn’t really seen a bunch of comments about it yet (I also miss a lot of non-Friday Rumblings). I don’t want to say too much up here as I feel it’s still well within the spoiler-text timeframe since it just concluded last Friday. But go nuts in the comments if you’ve been dying to talk about it. I got Disney+ for a month to watch Mandalorian season 2 (still haven’t - going to start next week), kindof WandaVision (we can chat about that, too, below), Soul, and Hamilton with Falcon and Winter Solider as an afterthought. But with all the spoilers flying around, we jumped in. It does a decent job of being the next Captain America movie and it got us to rewatch some of the other MCU movies over the past week. But it’s also got serious problems.

Mysterious Energy Weapon - I’m not getting a better segue from the MCU. This was on the front page of CNN yesterday (also, you can take your little snide and parochial “CNN and the MSM isn’t real news” somewhere else - it misses the point in the rest of this paragraph): US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House. It seems like I’ve heard mentions of this thing in the news for a few years now: some unexplained energy/sonic weapon that makes people feel ill. Doesn’t this just sound like something out of MCU? Aliens over New York, giant stealth helicarriers, not one but two attempts to “protect the world” with technolgy/AI (Winter Solider, Avengers 2)? What kind of technology do you think might be out there that we, as the public, don’t know about or understand yet?

We’re already well past 2000 words so we’re doing a repeat game. But first a silly personal note. Remember SNES SimCity from earlier this month? I finally got to hear that Metropolis theme. I had to spend a decent amount of time tweaking a couple of failing sections of my city pretty hard to re-develop them. But it worked out in the end and I nudged over 500K finally and I got my Mario statue for the first time ever. Yay!

Time to revisit some Phoenix Wright. I actually picked up this soundtrack on iTunes after doing the game last year in Rumblings (and the $12 or whatever for the digital copy was better than $80 for the import CD cost). Today we’re doing the Pursuit theme. As gameplay in the series is somewhat similar, there are common theme songs and song names for particular parts of the game.

In this case, per the Ace Attorney wiki:

Pursuit” (追求) is a series of musical themes in the Ace Attorney series that normally play during a trial chapter’s climax when the protagonist submits the final decisive evidence to end the trial. Each game has a track that usually plays prior to the submission of the evidence and a variation of the track that sometimes plays afterward, often after a sudden turnaround from a seemingly hopeless situation.

Here’s is the link to the original version. But I really like these compilation videos put together by a Youtuber which goes chronologically through all of the themes of the same name throughout the series: