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Weekend Rumblings - News for March 12, 2022

Surprise! The boys are back in town.

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Kansas City Royals spring training 2012 John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Weekend Rumblings - News for March 12, 2022

Anne Rogers writes about the big leaguers already in camp.

“I could not wait to get here today,” Isbel said after a round of batting practice on the George Brett Field with teammates Nick Pratto and Sebastian Rivero.

The three stayed in Arizona this offseason and worked out together during the lockout, when 40-man players weren’t allowed to communicate with their clubs as Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. When a deal was agreed upon and ratified by the players and owners Thursday evening, a sigh of relief rippled through the Royals organization.

“I don’t think I’ve ever packed my stuff up so fast to get here,” Pratto said. “It’s like a homecoming now. It feels good to hug people, shake their hands, have those conversations again.”

She also writes about the questions for the Royals in 2022.

Now that the Royals can check in with their players on the 40-man roster, they can ensure that each of them will be ready for Spring Training. That includes infielder Adalberto Mondesi, who had a specific offseason training program agreed on by the Royals, Mondesi and his agents in an effort to keep him on the field in 2022. Confirmation that he followed the recommendations of the Royals’ performance science and athletic training departments will be one of the first steps to figuring out what Kansas City’s infield will look like come Opening Day.

Alec Lewis has a great conversation with Royals minor league hitting coordinator Drew Saylor

Who else has caught your eyes in minor-league camp?

There’s a handful of guys. Luca Tresh, a 17th-round pick in 2021, has done a really good job coming up here in camp so far — lots of really hard contact, even off of some of our lives. Parker Bates is a guy who is standing out. Guillermo Quintana, a 20-year-old from Colombia, has done a really good job. I’ve liked the way he’s shown up and taken swings. Wilmin Candelario, a 20-year-old switch-hitting shortstop, made some small modifications. He doesn’t have a tap anymore; it’s more of a function-forward ease to the swing. He’s making some really solid contact.

Jake Mailhot at Fangraphs saw some really positive improvement in Kyle Isbel last year.

His hard-hit rate improved with the swing changes, but his average exit velocity on elevated contact and his expected wOBA on contact both dropped significantly. His popup rate also skyrocketed in September: six of his 34 balls in play were infield fly balls. It seems like much of his success in the final month of the season was BABIP driven. But it’s hard to surmise anything at all about his contact quality from his minuscule September sample, and he did show off some power in his previous minor league stops, including a .175 ISO in Triple-A.

The other big change that occurred after his return to the majors was a much more disciplined approach at the plate.

Prospects Live has their top 30 Royals prospect list out, with Asa Lacy coming in at #4.

It’s hard to deny the upside Lacy possesses on the mound. His ability to miss bats with three-plus or above-average offerings speaks volumes to the type of upside he presents. He’s a big, nasty left-hander that simply attacks hitters with his stuff. More refinement and command of his entire arsenal will ultimately decide if he can live up to his billing as a mid-rotation or frontline starter.

Bobby Witt Jr. doing baseball things!

The Royals will wear a uniform patch honoring longtime scout Art Stewart, who died last November.

Left-hander Carlos Rodón signs a two-year, $44 million deal with the Giants.

Clayton Kershawn returns to the Dodgers on a one-year deal.

The Cubs sign shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $4 million contract.

The Cardinals sign reliever Drew VerHagen to a two-year deal.

Texas signs left-hander Martin Perez to a one-year, $4 million contract.

The Braves, Yankees, and Rangers are pursuing Oakland first baseman Matt Olson.

Arizona and Miami are looking at free agent outfielder Michael Conforto.

The Cubs extend manager David Ross through 2024.

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A home run derby could decide a deadlocked All-Star Game.

Baseball will sign a deal with Peacock to broadcast games on Sundays.

Unvaccinated players won’t be allowed to play in Toronto,

The minority owners of the Rays sue principal owner Stuart Sternberg alleging he withheld financial documents.

Joe Buck is leaving Fox Sports to join ESPN.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson won’t face criminal charges for alleged sexual misconduct.

Mizzou fires men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.

Ukraine and Russia are fighting a war of propaganda on TikTok, but does it matter?

What happens to your Bitcoin when you die?

Is the Best Animated Feature Oscar category broken?

Your song of the day is Thin Lizzy with The Boys are Back in Town.