Lots of news yesterday, with a number of stories that would have been the top story any other day.
As Max covered yeterday, Mike Matheny had his contract option picked up for 2023.
For these next couple, we’re just going to have dueling stories from the Star and MLB and I’ll cherry pick the quotes that give different sides of the story.
Zack Greinke was named Opening Day starter (KC Star):
“Yeah, it will probably be a little different,” Greinke said. “Every time I pitch there is a little different than pitching at another place. Same with every time I pitched in Milwaukee, it’s been a little different. Those are the two places that I feel different when I pitch at them.” Greinke didn’t characterize it as a good “different,” necessarily.
He said the difference was the memories attached to the location. “It’s more just driving in a familiar area, like being by where you lived for a couple of years,” he said. “The drive to the stadium brings back memories, kind of like when I go back home to Orlando. When I go back to my street where I grew up, it just kind of has a different feel to it.”
The MLB.com story about it focused on Matheny’s quotes and some history:
“He asked when we were meeting that first time, ‘What do you see as my role here?’” Matheny said. “I told him, ‘You’re throwing the first day. Do you need to hear anything else? That should say it all. We expect you to be the guy we throw out there every fifth day or so. And show these guys how you go about your business.’
“At that point, you could see that registered. Me telling him later, it just validated what I’ve already told him. I know he’s excited to be out there.”
Greinke’s start on April 7 will come 12 years after his 2010 Opening Day start for the Royals, marking the largest gap between Opening Day pitching starts for the same team, according to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs and the Elias Sports Bureau.
Zack hit’s the Twitter in his understated (non check mark) way:
I get the nod for opening day. #RoyalsST— Zack Greinke (@ZackGreinke21_) March 31, 2022
The Royals announced their organizational awards for 2021. Is this always in the Spring? Seems an odd time to me, but maybe they were originally in the winter and delayed due to the lockout.
The Kansas City Royals honored seven individuals with organization awards for the 2021 season at the club’s Spring Training Complex in Surprise, Ariz. this morning. Two Royals affiliates were also honored for their league championships in 2021, including the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, winners of the Double-A Central, and the Quad Cities River Bandits, winners of the High-A Central.
The Star also covered the story:
In addition to the seven individual organization awards, MJ Melendez was also presented with the 2021 Joe Bauman Award, which is awarded annually to Minor League Baseball’s home run king. Melendez led Minor League Baseball with 41 homers last season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. He became the third Royals minor leaguer to win the award, which was first presented in 2002. He joined Chris Brazell (2007) and Mike Moustakas (2010).
The Royals keep on winning in the desert. They beat Oakland 5-4 and moved to 8-4 on the Spring. Clay Dungan and Vinnie Pasquantino hit 2-run homers, Bobby Witt got an RBI double, and Adalberto Mondesi tripled. Kris Bubic and Brady Singer each threw 3 innings.
The Star’s story about the game focused on Bubic:
“This year, I came in just a lot more confident in my abilities,” Bubic said of spring training. “I had finished on a good stretch to end last year. Then I kind of had a good plan going into the offseason, ‘OK, this is what I’m going to attack.’ And then coming in here, I’m in maybe a little better throwing shape to where I could come in a game and be as sharp as I can out the gate.”
He pointed to confidence as probably the biggest step forward after his first full season in the majors and having experienced some ups and downs and different roles. Bubic, who made his major-league debut during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, has been encouraged by the progress he’s made with his slider and curveball.
We haven’t done a listicle in a while! MLB Pipeline ranked all 30 farm systems. Guess where the Royals came in?
2021 midseason rank: 5
2021 preseason rank: 10
2020 midseason rank: 10
2020 preseason rank: 17
Top 100 Prospects: Bobby Witt Jr. (No. 1), MJ Melendez (No. 51), Nick Pratto (No. 62), Asa Lacy (No. 72)
MLB Pipeline has been ranking prospects since 2004, and this marks the first time a Royals prospect has claimed the No. 1 overall spot. The closest before Bobby Witt Jr. assumed the throne this spring was when Alex Gordon was No. 2 in 2007. Witt is Kansas City’s only Top 50 overall prospect, hurting the system slightly in this set of rankings. The Royals showed a real propensity to develop bats in 2021 – Witt, Pratto, Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino each finished among the Minors’ top six in extra-base hits last year – but they lack the same punch in the arms race. Lacy struggled with control and health in his first full season, and 2021 Draft picks Frank Mozzicato and Ben Kudrna are years away from Kauffman Stadium, though they do have solid ceilings.
We can even do two! AP has their AL Central Preview Capsules:
Outlook: The Royals this season are a collision of the past, present and future. The past would be Greinke, their 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner who was traded to Milwaukee so many years ago and then chased riches elsewhere before returning to Kansas City this season. The present consists of Singer, Bubic, Lynch and the rest of the young rotation, which moved through the minors together and took their first big league lumps together, too. And the future lies in Witt, rated baseball’s No. 1 prospect. He batted a combined .290 with 33 homers, 97 RBIs and 29 stolen bases at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha last season. Throw in the return of a healthy Adalberto Mondesi at shortstop and the Royals could have an exciting lineup. And if those young pitchers can learn a thing or two from Greinke, the club could make a big jump from 74 wins.
You didn’t think I forgot your daily Alec Lewis, did you?
NEW — He attended high school across the street. He was once a clubbie. Now, he's in the Royals' big-league camp. The road @realporterpotty has traveled is one for the ages:https://t.co/owceY7HEyL— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) March 31, 2022
Also, not a lot of Royals blog stuff as a number of popular ones took the day off, so Royals blog stuff is getting squeezed in here.
Craig continues his Letters from Camp series, talking about Hunter Dozier:
I decided to try to see if I could figure out what powered his 2019 season and if that was something Dozier could recapture. Maybe not to the extent as a 124 OPS+, but still something above league average, something he hasn’t been as a hitter in his other three major league seasons.
I was scrolling through Dozier’s page at Baseball Savant, looking at his Run Values by pitch type. This is a metric that illustrates exactly what you think it does…It’s where a run is assigned to the different types of pitches Dozier has seen as a hitter. A positive value is good. A negative one is…not. Last year, it will not surprise you, Dozier had a negative run value against almost every type of pitch he saw.
Then there are some quick hitters:
- Lucas Murphy at Inside the Royals: “Hunter Dozier Is Turning Things Around — For Now”’
- Mike Gillespie at Kings of Kauffman (KOK): “The wait won’t be very long now”
- Mark McCarthy at KOK: “KC Royals Projections: Look for Sebastian Rivero in Omaha”
- Also McCarthy at KOK: “Some possibly forgotten big KC Royals individual seasons”
MLB and MLBPA jointly announced the new rules for 2022. Most had already been leaked, but you can read more about them in the link above. Sadly, the stupid imaginary runner rule is still in place for extra innings. FYI:
For purposes of calculating earned runs, the runner who begins an inning on second base pursuant to this rule shall be deemed to be a runner who has reached second base because of a fielding error, but no error shall be charged to the opposing team or to any player.
I haven’t done the RR Asian Baseball preview yet this year. Maybe I’ll work it into the April Rumblings. But when I do, the NPB section will have to feature something about Tsuyoshi “Big Boss” Shinjo.
The 50-year-old arrived on a hovercraft inside the Sapporo Dome for the team’s home opener against the Saitama Seibu Lions. He was sporting a tinted helmet, white pants, a red jacket and the scene was complete with dramatic music. He did not miss one detail. He landed safely and then walked over to the diamond.
Can we get an MLB manager or player to enter on a hovercraft?
Finally, I think we all know where I stand on sign-stealing in baseball. I wrote something like 8000 words on it. Long story short: I think a lot of teams were doing it but, of course, MLB for political expediency, blamed the Astros for all of it, pretended no one else was doing anything, and hoped it would all go away. But then people like the longtime GM of their most famous brand goes and says things like this.
Houston’s title in 2017 does not include an asterisk. But Brian Cashman believes the Yankees’ World Series drought should. https://t.co/nqUL5hKLF3— Andy McCullough (@ByMcCullough) March 31, 2022
Lol Yankees. Brian Cashman quote from the article: “The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off” and noted they were “so illegal and horrific”.
Hold on, let me get out a megaphone, ala Cartman*, and remind everyone:
IN 2017, THE YANKEES AND RED SOX WERE BOTH FINED FOR STEALING SIGNS.
So forgive me if I don’t get out anything but the world’s smallest violin for Brian Cashman, his quarter billion dollar payroll, and Yankee playoff ineptitude.
*You only get a GIF because I was going to link to that clip from the South Park movie but, after rewatching, decided it’s more NSFW that I should probably be linking to here, but it’s the internet so you can always find it if you want it
Throwback... Friday? A little silly RoyalsReview history, in case you were not around 6 years ago today.
Back in 2016, the Royals were fresh off winning their first World Series in 30 years and those HO-scale misanthropes at Royals Review decided it was time for some April Fool’s Day shenanigans.
Those rapscallion writers took on names like Nigel P. Higginbotham, Nathaniel P. Arkham, Esquire, Cecil Gogswaddle, III, Cockney Jim, Ian Byrne, Lord John Marbury, and Alistair Picadilly.
Here’s just a sampling of the stories that were on the front page:
- 2016 Royals Season Preview: Hats!
- Top five Royal prospects (#1 is Prince William)
- Five reasons Prince Charles is rubbish!
- Royals Review Roundtable: Kate and William head to India
- England vs. Sri Lanka World T20 Open Thread (cricket, of course)
If you want to check out the entire archive, it’s here. Sadly, all of the comments are lost until they are transferred into Coral, which I seem to remember was supposed to happen any time now *cough* .
Last week, I mentioned listening to the Chrono Trigger soundtrack and that continued into this week. It’s just such a darn good soundtrack, especially for the 16-bit era. Next week, a remastered Chrono Cross, the quasi-sequel, is coming to the Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Did anyone play the original from the Playstation? I never did, even though I have it on my shelf. Any thoughts?