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Royals Rumblings - News for September 23, 2021

Congrats to Prospect of the Year Bobby Witt, Jr.!

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Minda Haas Kuhlmann

Royals Rumblings - News for September 23, 2021

Keith Law names Bobby Witt, Jr. his prospect of the year.

The second pick in 2019, Witt has already answered a lot of the questions surrounding him in high school — notably how he’d fare against a consistent stream of better pitching his own age, since the competition he faced as an amateur was not great — and all three of those Royals prospects are ready to take the next step to face big-league pitching. The future in Kansas City is extremely bright.

Alec Lewis talks to Cleveland beat writer Zack Meisel about how the two organizations compare in pitching development.

What’s interesting is, last year, when Cleveland was in Kansas City, I asked multiple Royals officials about Cleveland’s pitching development: What do you think of this? How do they do it?

Beyond applauding the job Cleveland has done, the responses didn’t reference some magic bullet but rather a belief.

“Pitching is really fragile,” one Royals staffer said. “And when you put together a group like that in the same cycle, so to speak, you’re going to benefit greatly.”

Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs writes about adjustments for prospect ratings, with Witt now ranked #2 overall.

Witt usurps San Diego middle-infielder CJ Abrams because a) he’s been healthy while Abrams has been out since July with a fractured tibia, b) he has progressed a level beyond Abrams, and c) he has more power. Abrams has the superior feel to hit, and the gap between the two on defense — where a healthy Abrams improved while Witt sputtered — has closed. Witt’s range and hands have both regressed; he’s not a lost cause at shortstop but he does need polish.

Kenny Kelly at Beyond the Box Score dismisses the parsing of Salvador Perez’s home run record.

Hmm. It appears that Salvador Perez has started more games at catcher than any other player this year. It’s almost as if teams realize that playing catcher every single day is detrimental to a player’s health and production, so no one starts more than 125 games at catcher every year. Even in 2003 when Lopez hit 42 as a catcher, there were eight players to start more than 125 games behind home plate.* It’s like the role of catcher has changed in the last 51 years, and it’s incredibly valuable if a player can find other ways to work himself into the lineup when he’s not in the squat. If Perez isn’t a catcher then no one is.

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench congratulated Salvy.

Craig Brown at Into the Fountains highlights that Andrew Benintendi has played well defensively so far.

It turns out according to The Fielding Bible, Benintendi has been worth +10 Defensive Runs Saved. That’s good for second-best in the majors behind the Cardinals’ Tyler O’Neill. It’s on par with what we saw from Benintendi with the Red Sox in 2017 and 2018. One of the things I like about The Fielding Bible is they track what they call “Good Fielding Plays” and “Defensive Miscues.” While Tuesday night’s slip would certainly fall under the latter, Benintendi does grade out at a +5 in that metric, meaning he’s made five more good plays than miscues. That’s the best in the majors.

David Lesky at Inside the Crown notes that Hunter Dozier has been better lately.

I mentioned the numbers yesterday, but I’ll lay them out again:

Since June 28: 280 PA, .263/.332/.441

Second Half: 229 PA, .264/.336/.443

September: 70 PA, .288/.371/.627

I use June 28 because that was around the time that he mentioned getting back to himself and the results showed that he was getting there. The second half is because that’s just a good marker that is used and September is because that’s where the power has really picked up for him.

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter wonders if Dozier’s hot play makes Carlos Santana expendable.

Jerry Edwards at Inside the Royals asserts that Salvy’s home run record is more impressive than you think.

The game postponed last night will be made up on Monday.

The Players Alliance made a stop in Kansas City to meet with a group of local youths.

The Blue Jays plunk Kevin Kiermaier after he refused to return a scouting card.

The Orioles will retain manager Brandon Hyde.

The Reds extend manager David Bell with a two-year deal.

The minor-league pitch clock cut game times by 21 minutes in 2021.

Are there players that would benefit from putting the ball in play more often?

Former Twins outfielder Lew Ford is enjoying a long career into his 40s in the Atlantic League.

How declining subscriptions for regional sports networks will affect expansion and relocation.

Two former coaches file a lawsuit against the Nationals for religious discrimination after they were fired for refusing to get vaccinated.

The Minnesota Timberwolves fire General Manager Gersson Rosas.

The NHL finds no evidence forward Evander Kane bet on his own games, as alleged by his wife.

McDonald’s will replace plastic toys in Happy Meals with toys made from recycled materials.

The case for funding bike infrastructure.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens next week as a celebration of film.

Your song of the day is Kings of Leon with Sex on Fire.