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Royals Rumblings - News for February 16, 2022

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A light brown short-haired dog sits next to a stone wall, with a sharp shadow cast to its left.
A good dog and its shadow.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

At The Athletic, Alec Lewis profiled Bobby Witt, Jr.’s workout regimen:

Taylor Nelson-Cook, a performance coach at APEC in Fort Worth, said even after a demanding 2021 season taxed Witt’s body, he was jumping 40 inches. His weight dipped to 190 pounds, so the goal this offseason was to get it above 200 pounds while also improving the infielder’s mobility. With APEC workouts, Mondays and Thursdays focus on movement. Tuesdays and Fridays center on power and strength.

Today is movement day. Witt’s shaggy hair flows over a gray headband, and he winces while pushing a sled at a full sprint. He exerts himself alongside other professional baseball players, including Trent Grisham and Matt Carpenter. They toss a medicine ball to activate their hips as a remix of Fetty Wap’s “679” blares.

Next up is a 10-yard sprint across the green turf lined with white paint as if it’s a track. Two silver, tripod-looking objects are stationed at the start and finish lines. As athletes run past them, lasers measure their speed. Witt, as is often the case, competes against Grisham. After the 205-pound Witt breezes past the distance, he looks back, curious about his time. The 10-yard split: 1.43 seconds. For reference, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill ran a 1.50 at his pro day. But nobody here drops their jaws after Witt’s run. They’ve seen this day after day.

In this story, Lewis also found a way to reference the mobile game Fruit Ninja, which I appreciated.

Kiley McDaniel released his top 100 prospects at ESPN, with Bobby Witt, Jr. at #2, MJ Melendez at #24, and Nick Pratto at #78.

The son of a prominent coach, Melendez appeared early on the national prep scene, with advanced tools and feel for the game. When he was drafted (52nd overall in 2017), he had above-average raw power, but contact came and went in part because his swing was a little busy. He was also a standout, very active defender with a plus arm. He had a terrible 2019 season in high-A at age 20, striking out 39% of the time, with that pre-draft report still accurate on all counts.

In the 2021 season, he came out on fire and stayed on fire at both Double-A and Triple-A, getting his strikeout rate down to 21%, boosting his walk rate by 5% and leading all of the minor leagues in homers with 41, more than the 32 he had hit in the previous three seasons combined. This was arguably the most shocking prospect turnaround in years. Melendez simplified his swing, added strength and power, and it all clicked at once. He’s now on the doorstep of the big leagues, and I think he’ll end up with a 45- or 50-grade hit tool, some walks and 25 homers in his good years.

Royals single-game tickets will go on sale Friday, despite the possibility of a delayed season.

Alex Duvall at Royals Farm Report analyzed year five of the Royals rebuild.

Emily Waldon posted a thread of reactions she’s been sent from minor league players about the MLB proposal to cut minors rosters to 150.

Business owners in Arizona cities that rely on Spring Training tourism are angry at MLB and team owners over the lockout.

Former Royals beat writer Andy McCullough has provided some colorful “updates” throughout the lockout, like this one:

Updates from the Eric Kay trial include this detail about Matt Harvey, who pitched a bit for the Royals in 2020, using cocaine:

After saying he was subpoenaed and would have used his Fifth Amendment right not to testify without immunity, Harvey acknowledged being a cocaine user before and during his season with the Angels in 2019. The former Mets star said he tried oxycodone provided by Skaggs during his season with the Angels and also provided drugs to Skaggs.

Former Royals outfield prospect Marten Gasparini is now a javelin thrower at Grand Canyon University.

The Atlanta Braves made a foray into the metaverse with a digital Truist Park experience.

Washington Nationals icon Ryan Zimmerman announced his retirement.

Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens are engaged.

Dick Vitale had surgery on his vocal cords yesterday.

Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town will open for George Strait in a concert at Arrowhead this summer.

Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes will host the Oscars next month.

The family of late filmmaker Halyna Hutchins is suing Alec Baldwin and others for Hutchins’s death on the set of the movie Rust.

OK, I definitely need to try Worldle, a geography-based spin on Wordle.

How to throw a “less annoying” wedding. [Related: please tell me about wedding stories, great or terrible. My dad accidentally lit his table on fire during mine, and because no one was hurt and it was swiftly put out, it simply became my favorite story from the day. He was a firefighter!!]

You can book an appointment to view the new elephant calves at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

Today’s goodest dog is this sheep dog:

Today’s oldest dog is Médor:

SOTD: Pam Tillis - Maybe It Was Memphis.