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Royals Rumblings - News for May 26, 2021

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A light tan short-haired dog with white hair on its face appears to grin at the camera while it stands in a harness attached to a leash.
Big smiles for your Wednesday!
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

On whether the Royals will be buyers or sellers this summer, Jim Bowden at The Athletic had this to say:

The Royals are rebuilding from within in a systematic, smart way under GM Dayton Moore and manager Mike Matheny, but they’re a year away from being legitimate contenders. The best moves they’ll make this season will be minor-league call-ups, not trades. Expect to see righty Jackson Kowar and lefty Asa Lacy debut this season. (Fellow pitching prospect Daniel Lynch has already made three big-league starts in 2021 before being sent back down.) Bobby Witt Jr., the club’s top prospect, should arrive by the All-Star break. There will be a lot of development — learning, failures and success — for all of them this season, but by next spring training the Royals should be ready to contend again.

A business note about The Athletic - the New York Times apparently has an interest in buying it.

What’s wrong with Whit Merrifield? David Lesky has a theory:

I have a sort of weird theory.

He Makes Too Much Contact

Merrifield has always been a player who puts the ball in play and doesn’t swing and miss very often. His career high for whiff percentage is 20 percent, back in his rookie year of 2016 and in a solid year for him in 2019. This season, he’s swinging and missing on 13.1 percent of swings. On the surface, it’s easy to see that and think it’s a positive. Swinging and missing can literally never lead to a hit while putting the bat on the ball can. And for a guy with a career .336 BABIP before this season, you’d think that he’d get a hit about a third of the time he puts the bat on the ball.

But not all contact is created equal. I think about what hitters should be swinging at more than someone without a stake in it probably should, but such is my life. Plate discipline isn’t just taking balls and swinging at strikes but rather taking the balls and swinging at good strikes that hitters can inflict damage on. And pitchers are pitching Merrifield around the edges, many of which are pitches that a lot of hitters can’t do much damage on. Sure, there’s the occasional pitch in the middle and down that he can whack into the outfield, but 25.5 percent of the pitches he’s seen are on the edges in or out.

Mike Gillespie at KoK takes a look the recent hot hitting of Bobby Witt, Jr., Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez.

With a .473 average in his last five contests, a torrid clip that shot his young season average up 133 points (.138 to .271), Melendez is the hottest of the three. His performance over that span includes a three-hit game and a pair of two-hit appearances. He had a double (his only one of the season so far), eight of his 15 RBIs, and three home runs that put him on pace to restore the organization’s faith in his power.

Only a call-up to Kansas City would likely excite Melendez more than a promotion to Triple-A Omaha. But he may have to bide his time to join even the Storm Chasers—Meibrys Viloria is doing most of the backstop work in Omaha and is slashing .351/.455/.541 with a pair of homers and seven RBIs in 11 games, and Sebastian Rivero, who’s spent some time with the big club this season, is 5-for-12.

For more discussion about roster decisions if Melendez keeps up this kind of hitting, see the comments from yesterday’s ‘This Week in the Minors’ roundup.

On the rise of Bahamian baseball players making it to MLB. In the Royals system, Lucius Fox hails from the Bahamas, though he attended high school in Florida.

One reason strikeouts look SO very increased this year? Pitchers hitting, badly.

At FanGraphs, Ben Clemens continued to dig into data about sliders.

Some ladies brawled in the bleachers of the White Sox/Cardinals game Monday night.

The Associated Press is accepting money from FanDuel to cite only that company’s odds in the agency’s stories.

Fred McGriff admits he has never seen the Tom Emanski coaching videos for which he lent an endorsement in legendary TV ads.

Joe West tied the MLB record for most games umpired. Congrats to Joe on a job, well, done.

Phil Mickelson’s PGA Championship drew 6.5 million viewers on Sunday.


DHS will now require fuel pipeline operators to report hacks, following the major attack on the Colonial Pipeline a few weeks ago.

How to see the lunar eclipse that will coincide with the “flower” supermoon tonight. (Also, any mention of the flower moon means I have to give yet another hearty endoresement of the book “Killers of the Flower Moon.”)

Two agricultural items today:
Could we be headed for another dust bowl?
Bill and Melinda Gates’s Empire of Dirt

Guy Fieri’s new Food Network contract is reportedly $80 million.

A look at the money that goes into producing Bravo’s fantastic reality show, Below Deck.


SOTD: Justin Bieber’s ‘Peaches,’ but reimagined as a pop punk anthem. This guy’s whole channel is wonderful.