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Royals Rumblings - News for April 8, 2022

162-0 still in play!

Cleveland Guardians v Kansas City Royals
I’m contractually obligated to use a Bobby Witt Jr. picture, aren’t I?
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Obviously, we had a game thread and recap yesterday so a lot of aspects of yesterday’s glorious Opening Day victory were already covered.

Here’s your recap from The KC Star also had a recap and a number of other articles like Vahe Gregorian waxing poetic about Witt Jr’s magical moment or Lynn Worthy writing about Zack’s start:

Greinke didn’t throw a pitch faster than 91.5 mph and his slowest went 69 mph. He used his fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. While he didn’t get a lot of swing and miss — five whiffs on 37 swings — he also allowed just one extra-base hit...

“I think we all know there’s just things Zack can do that nobody else really can,” Matheny said. “It’s so unique to watch the artistry in action. Just how he’s constantly manipulating pitch movement and shape and velocity. Moving it around the entire plate. What a clear idea he has and then being able to execute. It’s really impressive. “As our guys continue to watch, they are going to see the effectiveness of making a quality pitch in a quality location, and it’s not all about velocity.”

Speaking of Greinke, here’s your daily Alec Lewis:

I also found a number of things on Twitter that were notable about the game but they weren’t in any stories anywhere else so bear with me or just scroll past them if you don’t like reading Tweets.

It was already announced that the late Art Stewart would be honored with a patch this season. However, others in the org did more than that:

After that, hardware was handed out:

Bob Kendrick (and his granddaughter) were honored in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat:

Chiefs coach and GM Andy Reid and Brett Veach were there, as were the 2022 Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, which won the national title on Monday night:

Members of the Kansas Jayhawks’ 2022 national championship men’s basketball team were guests of the Kansas City Royals for Opening Day on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. The Jayhawks, who defeated North Carolina 72-69 in Monday night’s NCAA title game in New Orleans, sat in a suite on the cold, windy day.

When the Jayhawks arrived and had exited their bus, they posed for a photo with Chiefs coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach, who both were wearing Royals apparel. KU director of basketball operations Fred Quartlebaum, who accompanied the players to KC, posed in the photo as well. The Jayhawks were wearing sweatshirts signifying their national title victory.

Minor aside: I hated the lockout and the weird delayed schedule we got this year due to it. I don’t like starting on a Thursday instead of a Monday. But I really like that Opening Day was after the Final Four was over and not overlapping. I like that nice dividing line to keep the sports seasons separate. Unfortunately, every major sports outlet has The Masters as its top story so MLB gets bumped anyway. But if we go back to, say, a 154 game season, starting the Monday after the NCAA tourney and The Masters would work pretty well.

Lots of Royals blogs getting in their last minute thoughts before the season started.

How about we lead off with Craig (Into the Fountains), who was in the Twitter section above:

For me, the 2022 season opens on an optimistic note. While I don’t expect the Royals to contend for the divisional crown or even on of the myriad wild cards, I do expect them to be competitive and, more importantly, to be exciting and fun to watch. Honestly, my excitement level is practically off the charts. The season holds so much promise because we’re going to see that full influx of youth across the board. Maybe not as much as I would like at the start, but it’s coming…Soon.

Of course that means David (Inside the Crown) is second:

But in all, the biggest things I’ll be watching for throughout the season are the progression of the young pitchers and how often the defensive alignment is the one we’re going to see to start the year. For the pitchers, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It doesn’t matter who steps up as long as a few do step up. They don’t need to find a full pitching staff from the prospect base, but they need someone to become at least a number two starter, someone to be a three/four and someone to be a five. They can figure out two other spots. They need the bullpen arms to figure it out (though I think they’re almost there for the most part). If it’s Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic, great. But if it’s Austin Cox, Alec Marsh, Asa Lacy and Jon Heasley, that’s cool too. Just find the arms. The name on their back and the draft position is irrelevant.

At Royals Farm Report, Alex with some Opening Day hopium:

Really quick, here is a thread of my predictions for the 2022 MLB season before play begins today:

1. Nate Webb will debut in the big leagues before September 1st

2. Dylan Coleman will be the Royals closer by June 1st

3. Maikel Garcia will steal at least 40 bases and hit at least 5 HR this year

4. Angel Zerpa will start more games in the big leagues than both Jon Heasley and Jackson Kowar

5. Nick Loftin will be on 4 of the major 7 top 100 lists by the end of the season

6. Michael Massey will hit 25 HR between AA and AAA

7. Asa Lacy blows the doors off of AA hitters and is knocking on the door of the big leagues by August

8. Jonathan Bowlan returns from Tommy John and cements himself as a top prospect in the system

9. Maikel Garcia is a bona fide top-10 prospect in the system by year’s end and is knocking on the door of top-100 lists

10. Carter Jensen will hit 20+ HR in Low-A (assuming he plays every day, I’m a little skeptical because I think it’s possible he’s in a platoon role of sorts, but the power is legit and that’s more the point)

He also continues his profiles of college hitters the Royals could target in the draft. For example:

Jacob Berry, OF, LSU

++ Hit tool

++ Raw power

Great approach

Not much of a defender

If the rumors I’m hearing are true about Berry falling out of the first round, it would be a classic example of teams overthinking the bat. Berry is hitting .371 with 9 HR and just 12 K on the season and we’re a few weeks into SEC play. He’s got more BB (13) than K and a 1.112 OPS. Maybe teams are worried about the defensive ability, and I get that, but even if Berry is just a 20 HR guy in the big leagues, he’ll probably run into 40 doubles too and his hit tool is going to keep him from every having issues with strikeouts. Would love to see Berry get to KC at #9.

Kevin O’Brien (the Royals Reporter) had 5 observations about the game yesterday, including one about the attendance:

Getting less than 30K is just a big surprise, even for a bad weather day like today. And maybe it’s not just weather.

Maybe KC sports fans are disenchanted with MLB after the lockout and are following through on their promises “not” to support the Royals after everything that happened this past Winter. Maybe Royals fans do not believe in the future of this team and are looking to spend their dollars elsewhere (though Sporting KC isn’t doing much to sway them for their money, as they are struggling out of the gate).

It will be interesting to see if this disappointing Opening Day attendance-wise is truly an effect of baseball’s work stoppage and a legitimate sign that the game is in decline. It’s just one game, of course. And the weather will be better on Saturday (in the ’60s). I guess we will see if it was the weather that affected attendance or something else this Weekend at the K.

Darin Watson at U.L.’s Toothpick continued his retrospective of the Royals 1977 season, which also had an April 7th Opening Day: “The Royals kicked off the season with a 7-4 win over the Tigers in Detroit, thanks to big days from Amos Otis and John Mayberry.”

Mike Gillespie wrote the game recap for Kings of Kauffman.

Finally, the SI affiliate “Inside the Royals” added a few stories ahead of Opening Day:

Peter Gammons has a long and distinguished career as one of the greatest baseball writers and analysts of our time. There was also the time he said this about our fine blog:

He wrote about Opening Day for, of course, The Athletic:

Joe Posnanski’s 2022 baseball preview comes in at a svelte 75,000 words. It’s on substack so it’s behind a paywall, but you can still read like 2000 words of each before you hit the paywall part. Yesterday, he did his final division writeup: the AL Central.

Max and Matt detailed how to watch the Royals this year. If you didn’t see, Apple is getting into the streaming fray with Friday night games and a highlights show as well as some library fillers like World Series videos (sadly not 1985 or 2015) and old This Week in Baseball episodes. They even have a library of classic games. Just browsing the 2013-2015 seasons, they have the Justin Maxwell walk-off grand slam game, that That’s What Speed Deux game, the 2015 clincher, and a number of playoff games including the 2014 Wild Card Game.

Of course, there were a number of others games around MLB yesterday. Here’s just a couple of quick notes:

  • Former Royal and current Brewer Lorenzo Cain had the first RBI of the season, knocking in Andrew McCutchen. However, the Cubs won the game 5-4
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to the largest contract in franchise history with 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes yesterday. However, he left the first inning of the team’s season opener with an injury. The Cards beat the Pirates 9-0.
  • The Braves hung the 2021 World Series flag but fell to the Reds 6-3. During the game Joey Votto was goofing around for an in-game interview.
  • I tried to find something interesting for Mets-Nats but all I could find on Twitter was that there appeared to be more Mets fans than Nats fans in Washington and this led to a “Yankees suck” cheer even though the Yankees did not even play yesterday. Oh, and the Mets won 5-1.
  • Astros/Angels and Padres/DBacks weren’t done when I finished up Rumblings so just pretend you’re reading an old newspaper and it says “LATE” for those games.

We’ve got more than enough to discuss today, coming off a victorious and memorable Opening Day. Let’s just revisit a game from the past. We haven’t done Monster Hunter yet this year. How about Tremble of Sea and Land (Lagiacrus)?