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Royals Rumblings - News for June 25, 2021

Glass half empty says 4-14 in last 18; Glass half full is 3-3 in the last week against the Red Sox and Yankees

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees
New hitting star Sebastian Rivero
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Not a lot of new Royals news because of the day game yesterday. Most of the stories were about that.

Here’s some Alec Lewis from yesterday that slipped through the cracks

Also from Wednesday, an MLBTR story from Anthony Franco about the future of Danny Duffy:

The Royals operate differently than many MLB teams, though. The front office has a reputation for being more loyal than most, and they’ve re-signed or reacquired many of the players who contributed to their pennant-winning clubs of the last decade. Trading away marquee players midseason hasn’t been their M.O.

In the past, Duffy has expressed a desire to stick in Kansas City for his entire career. In response to 2017 trade rumors, he rather famously tweeted “bury me a Royal” and expressed a strong affinity for the organization and the city. Even if the front office were willing to consider moving him near the deadline, Duffy could end those discussions. He entered the season with 9.085 years of MLB service, meaning he’ll have eclipsed ten years by July 30. Players with ten years of service, the most recent five with the same team, are granted full no-trade rights under the terms of the CBA. If Duffy has no interest in moving elsewhere midseason, he could exercise his 10-and-5 rights and block a move.

This little Royals nugget was tucked into a national story about the stick substance snafu:

“If I’m a young kid at the game and I’m asking my dad, ‘Well, hey, what’s going on? Why they getting checked?’ What he’s going to say? ‘Well, they think everyone’s cheating,’” Britton said before the Yankees hosted the Kansas City Royals. “I mean, is that what we want the game to be about, like we’re assuming you’re cheating? I just think it’s a bad look.”

He’s not alone in that thinking, as people around the game examine the long term. Kansas City manager Mike Matheny warned opponents that if they act like Girardi and ask umpires to check Royals pitchers for sticky substances, it would provoke his team.

Hayden House at Royals Farm Report scouts “Top 5 Options” for the draft. Brady House and Kumar Rocker top the list. There are also reports for Jackson Jobe, Khalil Watson, and Jordan Wicks (who is also mentioned in a Mike Gillespie story later in this section):

Summary: Rocker was the number one arm before the spring but with the rise of his teammate Jack Leiter he has fallen some on the boards. Do not let this fool you, it’s not because of a lack of performance from Rocker, it is because of the dominance of Leiter. This right-hander doesn’t have much more room to grow with his frame, but he will get more efficient with his pitches and will learn how to pitch against professional hitters. Rocker gets down the mound well, his delivery isn’t high effort which profiles very well in the future because it shows that his velocity is easy. The Vanderbilt Commodore has been in a lot of big game situations in his career, so he is used to the spotlight. The Royals love their college arms so don’t be surprised if Rocker is on the board, along with another name like Jackson Jobe, they go with Rocker.

The Royals Reporter, Kevin O’Brien looks at O’Hearn vs Soler for DH, Brady Singer’s wildness, and a lack of Josh Staumont.

However, noticeably absent in Tuesday’s game, as well as in the month of June as a whole, has been Josh Staumont, who recently came back after a short IL stint. After returning to the Royals bullpen on June 6th, he has only made four outings, and in his last outing against the Tigers, his fastball was only topping out at 94.8 MPH. That is not a good sign from a guy who was regularly hitting triple digits with ease a season ago.

...Is he hurt? Is there a lingering problem with Staumont that the Royals are not disclosing? Does Matheny just not trust Staumont in the late innings, especially with Zimmer and Brentz emerging as dependable options in the 7th and 8th innings? It’s still early, but Royals fans have to be considered about Staumont. Ronald Bolanos went from possible middle innings guy to 60-Day IL just like that.

Has anyone ever seen Craig Brown and David Lesky in the same room? Both wrote for RR, both now have wonderful blogs on Substack, and both tend to have similar topics because they both have a really good pulse on the news, big and small, for the Royals. Heck, both even had lists of every Royals game with 11 walks or more in franchise history on yesterday’s post (in talking about Wednesday night’s game).

Craig Brown, Into the Fountains: “Walking to a loss

David Lesky, Inside the Crown: “Walks and Non-Walks Tell the Story

Royals Blog Roundup:

The All-Star Game gets its own section today.

The All-Star Game jerseys are out and, man, are they ugly. They’re in Colorado this year, so cool purple or purple and black jerseys, right? Nope! It looks like a bad corporate polo crossed with a minor league soccer jersey. Just awful.

They were met with near universal condemnation and every outlet had a story about negative fan reaction.

And then, to add insult to injury:

Unlike the past 90 or so All-Star Games, these jerseys will actually be worn during the game itself, (and not during the Workout Monday and the Home Run Derby – players will wear their usual caps for those events). This will sadly end the tradition of seeing all those different clean, crisp, colourful uniforms all lined up together down the baseline during player introductions or meetings on the mounds and in the annual All-Star team photos.

The last time I BOOOOOOOOO’d this hard at something All-Star Game-related, it forgot to invite Billy Butler to the Home Run Derby.

Hats are ok-ish.

At the Star, Pete Grathoff had a story with Royals fan reactions to the jerseys. One of the names looked familiar.

In other ASG news, Pete Alonso will defend his Home Run Derby crown but, sadly, Vlad Guerrero Jr. will pass.

A couple of quick stories from around MLB unrelated to the ASG.

More women than ever are playing college baseball.

Sports Illustrated starts its own sportsbook.

Who needs a good spin rate? The Orioles called up 33-year-old knuckleballer Mickey Jannis.

Just a little update on the CPBL from last week. Taiwan is still on a nationwide level three alert, but they are getting more vaccines by the day. So hopefully we’re getting closer to the return of baseball.

This week, for part two of our series catching up on Asian baseball, we’ll look at Korea and the KBO. Fortunately, for this week, I get to be lazy and mostly link to Justin Choi’s work at FanGraphs. Here are Part 1 and Part 2 of his June writeup about the league.

If you recall, our adopted team was the woeful Hanwha Eagles. Let’s see what Justin has to say about them

There’s not much to add onto what I wrote about the Eagles in May – they’re still in the midst of a complete rebuild, with its progress difficult to gauge as an outsider. One quirk I did notice is that the Eagles have the second-lowest ratio of flyouts to groundouts. Using this as a proxy for launch angle, it seems like the team’s young hitters could focus on elevating the ball more. Maybe the coaching staff is addressing this and it’s just I don’t know, but it did stand out.

Breakout hitter Si-hwan Roh 노시환’s own ratio is 0.67 (meaning more groundouts than flyouts), but he’s been torching baseballs when he doesn’t make outs. Roh was slugging .533 when I last wrote about him. He’s cooled down since, but only to a .497 mark, and he still leads his team with 11 home runs.

Per MyKBO Stats, the Eagles occupy the basement at 26-41 but are within striking distance of the 8th place Lotte Giants and 9th place Kia Tigers. Atop the standing, it’s a 4 team race with the LG Twins, Samsung Lions, KT Wiz, and SSG Landers are all within a half game of each other.

KBO’s official site is good for stats. We can check in on former Royals Aaron Brooks (2-5 with a 3.52 ERA for the aforementioned Tigers), Ben Lively (0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 33.1 IP), and Jamie Romak (.242/.349/.485 with 16 HR for the SSG Landers).

As mentioned in the preview, Korean native Shin Soo Choo had a homecoming, playing in the KBO for the first time. From Choi’s article linked above:

Meanwhile, I want to direct your attention towards Shin-Soo Choo 추신수’s .268/.427/.451 line. After posting an uncharacteristically low BABIP in April and parts of May despite hard contact, Choo’s batted balls have begun to land for hits. He isn’t hitting for consistent power, a fact that’s garnered criticism. It seems unjustified, though; his career slugging percentage stateside was .447. Choo’s value lies in his plate discipline, and it’s been on full display en route to a 143 wRC+. He’s doing his best.

In light of Matt’s comments last week, let’s revisit Super Monkey Ball. Just a reminder of my description of the game from a couple of years ago:

Why merely play Marble Madness when you can play Marble Madness with a monkey trapped in a plastic ball? Yes, you the player, guided a monkey inside a ball through an obstacle course where perspective changed as your monkey ball tilted on the course. You had to get your monkey to the goal before time ran off and without falling off the stage. So many dead monkeys must have littered the ground below these levels...

I’ll grant the premise is a bit odd, but behind it all was a really well designed game. Sure, it had a simple premise but it had that “just one more level” quality that game designers strive for. It eventually ramped up to insane difficulty levels and I never got anywhere near beating the harder courses in the game. But you couldn’t really fault the game: the levels were well designed and the physics engine precise. But, as the player, you had to be perfect.

Here’s the new trailer from E3 last week. Watching it raises my blood pressure 20 points and my palms start to sweat. But it’s also so cute and so very Sega.