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Weekend Rumblings - News for September 11, 2021

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Nicky Lopez, offensive superstar.

Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for September 11, 2021

Nicky Lopez has turned into an offensive force, writes Lynn Worthy.

“It’s one of the great stories in the game, in my opinion,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Lopez’s season. “A guy who didn’t make our club coming out of spring and now is leading our club as far as average goes.

“His OPS, his quality at-bats in tough situations and leverage, two-out RBIs, it’s just a really nice approach that I think is going to work for him for a long time. He’s been such a bright spot.”

Lopez says he still has room to improve, writes Jordan Foote.

“I’m still learning — it’s not like it clicked for me,” Lopez said. “I’m still learning, and I’m going to continue to learn. I’m still young and I’m looking forward to helping this team in the future because this is a very bright future for us, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

In his Mellinger Minutes, Sam defines success for the Royals in 2022.

Prospects continue to graduate into the big leagues, joining a culture with high standards and the ability to stop long losing streaks before they happen. It would be the Mondesi plan proving effective and Nicky Lopez continuing his success and other individual success stories that push the whole thing forward.

It would be a team that wins with consistent starting pitching, depth of power arms in the bullpen, very good defense, and an offense that doesn’t lead the league in on-base or slugging but does enough different things well — Perez’s power, Lopez’s on-base, Merrifield’s stolen bases, for instance — to win most nights.

The Royals have to prove it, but if you look around you’ll see enough to believe in long-term. I’ll be surprised if they’re not winning soon.

Bobby Witt, Jr. topped a list of “best tools” in a survey of minor league coaches.

At press time, he was one of just five players in the minor leagues with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and he was the only one to do it while playing exclusively at the upper levels.

Moreover, scouts who saw Witt during his early adjustment period still raved about the 21-year-old’s blend of tools and skills. In any year, his output would be astonishing, but when you consider that Witt’s last regular season game prior to this season came in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019, what he’s done becomes even more impressive and is a strong reason.

At Royals Academy, Clint Scoles looks at former first round pick Nick Loftin.

Nick Loftin has battled injuries much of the season, not playing at 100% early in the season and missing games late, but he’s looked outstanding for the past month. After starting a 16 game hitting streak in July, Loftin has hit .336/.424/.541 over the past 36 games with 21 walks vs. 24 strikeouts and 20 extra-base hits. I don’t believe he has the range to be a shortstop in the major leagues, but I also don’t see we saw a fully healthy player much of the season.

Chris Sale tests positive for COVID-19 and will miss his scheduled start.

Shohei Ohtani hits home run #44.

Rays infielder Wander Franco is likely headed to the Injured List.

The Cubs honor Kris Bryant in his return to Wrigley Field.

Can Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. hit for the Triple Crown?

Is Max Scherzer the best trade deadline pickup ever?

A loaded bullpen has helped the Rays to mitigate risk.

The Cubs are playing their best ball in weeks with rookies leading the way.

An unlikely reliever is on pace to set the record for hit batters.

A look at Babe Ruth’s final start as a pitcher.

Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave will last the remainder of the season and post-season.

The American Athletic Conference is willing to let departing teams go to the Big 12 before 2024 for a higher exit fee.

Netflix announces a number of new sports documentaries, including a new season of Last Chance U: Basketball.

A judge rules that Apple must allow other forms of in-app purchase.

A new documentary shows the dreams LuluRoe was peddling were empty.

26 movies the critics were wrong about.

Your song of the day is Ornette Coleman with Eventually.