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Royals Rumblings - News for August 5, 2021

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Royals hitting comes alive.

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for August 5, 2021

Kris Bubic cited his heater as a reason for his successful start on Monday.

“At the end of the day, everything plays off your fastball,” Bubic said. “Your offspeed pitches are going to go as your fastball goes. I’ve gone through my bumps and learned that at the end of the day, that’s going to remain true, no matter how good your offspeed pitches are.”

David Lesky at Inside the Crown took notice.

From the 25th batter on, he faced eight more hitters and threw 19 fastballs. Of those 19, 15 were 93+. He averaged 93.5 MPH on those 19 fastballs. And maybe unsurprisingly, he struck out six of the final eight hitters, all on his fastball. He topped out at 95.6 MPH, which is his fastest fastball of the season by almost a full mile per hour. He threw two pitches harder last year, both to Javier Baez when he was with the Cubs, so maybe he’s amped up for Chicago, but I think this is something worth watching to see if he maintains it. It ended up turning his start from what could have been a disaster to at least a quality start.

Mike Matheny hopes Andrew Benintendi can avoid the Injury List.

“(The trainers) were really impressed with some of the range of motion, some of the strength,” Matheny said. “He’s still sore, but not nearly as sore as they thought he’d be.”

Matheny said they’re hopeful Benintendi may avoid having to go on the IL, but he had not done any baseball-related testing, such as throwing and swinging a bat, as of Wednesday afternoon.

Whit Merrifield has had to re-train himself for second base, writes Anne Rogers.

“It took some time to adjust,” Merrifield said. “I was doing some things defensively that I was just trying to get by, honestly. Not screw things up. Wasn’t really able to really play. Kind of got over that, and got into where things started feeling normal again.

“I really think I’m a good second baseman. I really do.”

Alec Lewis takes an in-depth look at the revamped minor league hitting development.

“When our hitters come into the organization and see how it runs,” Zumwalt said from Surprise, Ariz., where the Royals staff has been working with recently drafted hitters, “they should feel like they’re walking into the biggest store with all the custom options for them as opposed to just a place that has one option. We have to come in and understand every guy is going to come in with different things, and they might teach us something. … You can’t teach a cookie-cutter swing. You may be able to teach a nice swing, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to hit. That’s what I care about. Let’s shore up their process to get ready to hit, and then let’s evaluate the hit tool, not the swing tool. There are a million people coaching swings. It’s less available where you can teach someone how to hit.”

That teaching has paid off.

“There’s clearly a difference,” Picollo said. “We’ve flipped our numbers. So you’re talking about the same players, who have gone up a level, and they’re out-performing what they’re doing. They’re hitting the mark. Getting on base. Slugging. Walking. The players have done the work.”

Kevin Goldstein at Fangraphs wrote what losing teams should look for in the final two months.

The Royals have already used this season to try to learn about their young starting pitchers, primarily the quartet comprised of their first four selections in the 2018 draft. Two-thirds of the way into the season, however, the club unfortunately still has more questions than answers...This season has been, and will remain, a time to test young pitching, while 2022 will be a time to look at the young bats. After that, the team hopes, 2023 should be where everything starts to come together.

In his column at ESPN, Jeff Passan lists MJ Melendez as a minor leaguer fans should know about.

Two years ago, Melendez was a former second-round pick stuck in neutral. He struck out 165 times and batted .163 at high-A. Now, he’s one of the most intriguing catching prospects in the game. His 25 homers rank second in the minor leagues. He’s ready to join Bobby Witt Jr. and Nick Pratto, his fellow next-gen Royals, at Triple-A. And with a phenomenal arm, a great sense behind the plate and instincts honed by his father, Mervyl, a longtime success as a college coach, Melendez looks like the whole package.

Pete Grathoff notes that Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez have had terrific defensive numbers lately.

The USA baseball team defeats the Dominican Republic and is just a win away from the gold medal game at the Olympics.

The Dodgers sign veteran pitcher Cole Hamels.

The Athletics sign former home run champ Khris Davis to a minor league deal.

Why Max Scherzer is likely to test free agency.

Can a catcher be called for a balk?

The Giants could lead the league in home runs without a 30+ home run hitter.

Can the draft be reformed to avoid the Kumar Rocker situation?

Scott Kazmir is back and having a blast.

Two players selected in this year’s draft could blaze a path for Orthodox Jews.

Who is the best player in baseball at each age?

Simone Biles reveals her family has been dealing with the unexpected recent death of her aunt.

Could college basketball benefit from conference realignment?

A reporter gets tricks of the trade from scammers.

HBO Max is getting into the podcast game.

The new immersive Star Wars hotel experience is going to cost you a lot of Republic credits.

Your song of the day is Fleetwood Mac with Gold Dust Woman.