David Lesky at Inside the Crown has his take on the pitching coach search.
A few days ago on Twitter, we get the eyeballs emoji from Brian Bannister. It wasn’t in response to anything. It was just there. That, of course, made people speculate. It also came right when USC defeated UCLA in football, so the smart money is on that, but I hadn’t realized that in the moment because I saw the tweet a day later and it made me ask around a little bit and, yes, the Royals are still interested in Bannister from what I’ve heard. And yes, Bannister is still interested in the Royals from what I’ve heard. A holdup could be that MLB had a rule last year that without an exemption, unvaccinated coaches couldn’t be with their teams (remember last year’s rule, I could not care less about your thoughts on Covid or the vaccine, this newsletter is about baseball). Bannister isn’t vaccinated. So my theory, based on nothing anyone has told me, is that they’re waiting to find out if that rule will still exist in 2023.
Who were the top defenders according to Statcast this year?
Utility: Nicky Lopez, Royals
+14 Outs Above Average
Baseball’s top overall fielder in 2021 as a shortstop, Lopez split his time between short and second for Kansas City in 2022 and was still excellent as a middle-infield hybrid. Lopez’s +14 OAA made him a top-10 fielder overall in MLB.
Maikel Garcia, SS, Tiburones de La Guaira (VZ)
After making a pair of Major League cameos in July and August — he was a solid 7-for-22 with a double and two RBIs — Garcia joined the Tiburones (Sharks) for the third winter in a row. The LVBP is undoubtedly a hitters’ league, but the 22-year-old has been among the circuit’s best, ranking first in runs scored and second in RBIs (behind MLB veteran Hernán Pérez) to supplement a .316/.422/.526 slash in 24 games. Across 71 games in the three seasons he’s played for La Guaira, Garcia is hitting .332 with 43 RBIs.
Carlos Collazo at Baseball America has his Royals draft report card.
Best Fastball: The Royals have a number of pitchers in the 2022 draft class with intriguing fastball characteristics: RHP Mack Anglin (7) has one of the harder fastballs, touching upper 90s regularly, in addition to having high raw spin rates on the pitch; LHP Ryan Ramsey (13) doesn’t have the velocity—he pitches 88-90 mph and touches 94—but he gets tons of riding life and around 20 inches of induced vertical break that allows the pitch to play up; RHP Mason Barnett (3) has a 93-95 mph fastball with a flat approach angle; and RHP Brandon Johnson (9) sat around 94 mph with 20 inches of induced vertical break in a brief pro debut.
The Pirates sign former Royals first baseman Carlos Santana to a one-year, $6.7 million contract.
Albert Pujols and Justin Verlander are each named Comeback Player of the Year.
Who will be Carlos Correa’s top suitors?
Former Royals farmhand Blake Perkins gets a MLB contract from the Brewers.
The Mets and Yankees are cleared in MLB’s collusion inquiry over Aaron Judge’s free agency.
An early look at next year’s free agent class.
Dan Szymborski has extra early ZIPS projected standings with the Royals at 74 wins.
The Pirates are trying to transform their infield.
A Sporting Kansas City executive pushed Kansas to enact sports betting to lure the Chiefs to the state.
Nebraska is working on a deal to hire Matt Rhule as their new football coach.
Vertical farming needs to grow more than just salad.
Does the FTX collapse spell doom for crypto?
Is Andor the greatest story in the Star Wars universe?
Your song of the day is Ozzy Osbourne with Bark at the Moon.