Song of the Day
“Rainy Zurich” by The Fray
Where my The Fray fans at?!?!? No one? None of you?
Well I love this band and this song. Some of the songs I love the most by them weren’t given “single” status and this is one of them. Hope you enjoy.
On to The Rumblings...
Vahe Gregorian at The KC Star writes that Mike Matheny is the right fit for manager of the Royals.
Accordingly, he knows this team is as much a work in progress as he is and he’s “not oblivious to the challenges” they’ll face together.
So he’ll keep grinding it out even as he remembers not to grind himself, or his team, down.
And he’ll finally appreciate the wins, which he seldom allowed himself to do as a player out of fear of letting his guard and edge down. That was why by the end of some seasons, he said, he almost needed to be “bedridden” because of the emotional and physical toll and weight loss.
Figuring he wasn’t good enough to sit back and let things play out, he initially took much of that mentality into managing and perhaps for a time inflicted expectations of that somber demeanor on others.
Sticking with The Star, Sam Mellinger writes that the Royals’ response to the latest struggles will define the season, and ultimately this group of players, in the future.
This group has not earned the comparison to 2015. That group broke through with a winning season in 2013, then a World Series run in 2014. A playoff run in 2021 would be skipping at least a step, but this group has been clear that’s exactly what’s expected.
No matter which way this season goes, it is hard not to feel like we’ll look back and remember how this team handled this specific moment of doubt. They’ve had some dark times the last few years. Nobody wants to go back there.
Speaking of tests, Anne Rogers at mlb.com writes that these tests as of late aren’t changing the attitude of these players.
The Royals are far from panicking yet. It’s only early May, giving them plenty of time and chances to overcome the past four games. They’re still over .500, and they’re still near the top of their division. They’re also expecting reinforcements soon, with shortstop Adalberto Mondesi (right oblique strain) and relievers Jesse Hahn (right shoulder impingement) and Kyle Zimmer (left trapezius strain) progressing well in their rehab.
But the Royals know they have to get back to the way they played in April, when they jumped out to a 16-9 record.
Kansas City did not view the first month of the season as a blip — that’s the kind of team it expects to have this year, after four years of sub-.500 teams.
Alec Lewis at The Athletic has been a busy beaver the last 36 hours (as if he’s not usually, Josh?)
- He recapped the series against Cleveland while also previewing and contextualizing the upcoming series vs. the White Sox.
Per FanGraphs, the Royals rank 23rd in MLB in defensive runs saved (-4). Per Baseball Savant, the Royals rank 25th in MLB in outs above average (-5). Digging deeper, it’s the infield that has been the issue. The infield ranks 26th in outs above average (-6), and it’s a group effort. Carlos Santana is the 24th-ranked first baseman in outs above average (-1). Merrifield is the 13th-ranked second baseman (+1). Lopez is the No. 22-ranked shortstop (-3). Hunter Dozier is the No. 32-ranked third baseman (-3). And Salvador Perez, per FanGraphs’ defensive runs saved (-3), is 15th out of 16 catchers.
Defensive metrics can be spotty, but the evidence is pretty glaring. Teams such as the White Sox will only amplify those types of weaknesses, so the defense will be important if the Royals want to get off the schneid. The opportunity will arrive Friday when Royals starter Brad Keller faces off against Rodon.
- He also wrote about five under-the-radar prospects to keep an eye on in the Royals farm.
Rylan Kaufman, LHP
How he was acquired: 12th-round pick in 2018
The younger the prospect, the harder they are to project. Kaufman, a 6-foot-4 lefty who will be pitching at Low-A Columbia, remains 21 years old. So there’s some potential for fluctuation here.
Kaufman’s fastball velocity hovers in the low to mid-90s. A breaking ball plays off of it. He only started two games in 2019 due to an undisclosed injury.
How Kaufman will perform at the Low-A level is anyone’s guess. Only three years ago, he was pitching as a freshman at San Jacinto College. There’s big-league potential in his stuff. Scouts will be watching closely.
- He also combined his powers with The Athletic’s White Sox beat writer, James Fegan, to have a conversational preview to this weekend’s series against Chicago.
What space does this weekend’s opponent occupy in your fan base’s mind?
Lewis: With Robert and Jiminez, it’s much more likely for Royals fans to really fear the White Sox. Even then, though, I’m not sure they would. Sure, the argument can be made about last year. About how the White Sox steamrolled the Royals nine out of 10 times. And you can point to Lynn’s shutout earlier this year. It’s just that the White Sox have not been able to do what the Royals watched their own teams do a half-decade ago. And that feeling, knowing that they’ve been there more recently than the White Sox have, almost certainly remains quite present in their minds. That said, this is the White Sox’s opportunity to pummel them in the Royals’ house in front of fans. That would go a long way to impressing upon the Royals the type of talent this White Sox team has.
In Jim Bowden’s latest rookie roundup, he mentions that a certain Royals shortstop prospect could be a candidate for callup next month. Bet you can’t guess who it is!
Bowden also ranked the MLB’s top 12 rookie pitchers, where no Royals’ rookies made the list, but he did name one that could be on the list next month.
Bradford Dootlittle at ESPN+ ($$$) wrote one good thing and one not so good thing about each MLB team. This fan base needs a morale boost so here’s the good thing:
A good thing: The Royals have ridden a 6-2 record in one-run games, some outlying clutch hitting marks and a tepid first month in their division to a relatively long early stay in first place. The good news is that while some of the underlying metrics don’t support the won-loss record, there are a number of key contributors who have fallen short of projection and really no one who has overachieved. If Hunter Dozier, Jorge Soler and Adalberto Mondesi (who has yet to make his season debut) do what they were supposed to do, the Royals should feature a strong attack.
Craig Brown at his substack Into the Fountains did a great recap of the Cleveland sweep.
Mike Gillespie at KoK writes 3 reasons why the Royals might get right this weekend.
Yesterday was the five year anniversary of baseball perfection...
Five years ago today, Bartolo Colon made the impossible happen. pic.twitter.com/GKGLsxvI5E— SNY (@SNYtv) May 7, 2021
Adrenaline Rush of the Week
Moments in MLB: The Show 21
Now that the family is finally moved in (well all of our stuff is at the new house and in boxes and that’s just my life now) I’ve had some time to dive in this year’s version of The Show.
In the past, I’ve mostly stuck with the franchise mode for 90% of the hours I put into that year’s installments, creating unstoppable franchises made of prospects who I can pay low contracts to for their controllable years before sending them out around their age 30 season for, you guessed it, more prospects. Baseball players aren’t good after they turn 30, everyone knows that. I am the equivalent of that guy in Monopoly that thrives on Baltic and Mediterranean, hoping that the rest of the teams will squabble over the more valuable assets just long enough for you to create the base of your success.
But last season, I started messing with Diamond Dynasty and the many addictive game modes within. You can work to build up your card collections, which turns into actual players to use in those numerous game modes. Those cards are both current players and legends from the past.
One of those game modes is called Moments, where you can relive memorable moments from baseball history. Are you a Yankees fan that wishes they could’ve put Luis Gonzalez away in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series? You’re not gonna get any sympathy in these parts, but you can do that sort of thing in Moments.
Most of the Moments are very important in the progression of one’s collection and they are some of the most maddening moments in my video game life. With the birth of online streamers of video gamers, those adrenaline pumping and infuriating times are comically on display for free.
If you like that one, here’s another round of them.
Nothing will make you want to start doing the things you’ve been putting off like not being able to score a run off Fernando Valenzuela because you can’t distinguish his screw ball from his change up even though they’re 10 mph difference in velocity...I’m not bitter.
Have a great Saturday/weekend, everyone! Give your mom a kiss!