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Royals Rumblings - News for January 31, 2023

Could Bobby Witt Jr. go 40/40?

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Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Gavin Cross is the only Royals prospect on Keith Law’s top 100 list, coming in at #57.

He looked more like a polished hitter who might have some power in the spring, showing a strong approach and generally good feel for the barrel, but over the summer he showed better bat speed and more impact when he squared it up, so his power ceiling might be closer to 30 homers than the 20-ish expected of him when he was an amateur. He’s a center fielder now but more likely to end up in a corner, with good reads but probably not the speed or first-step quickness to stay up the middle. It’s a tiny sample from after the draft, but if that power spike is sustainable, you could play him at left tackle and it wouldn’t matter. The Royals needed to get some quick impact from the 2022 draft, and the very, very early returns say they might have done it.

Sarah Langs of looks at the top 40-40 candidates.

Bobby Witt Jr.

Witt was yet another rookie displaying power and speed in 2022. He hit 20 home runs and stole 30 bases, becoming the second player with at least those respective marks in his first MLB season. He joined 1977 Mitchell Page, who had 21 homers and 42 stolen bases. Witt had an average sprint speed of 30.4 ft/sec. For context, 27 ft/sec is the MLB average, and anything 30-plus is considered elite. Witt is projected for 27 stolen bases, tied for the fourth-highest mark.

ESPN ranks the Royals lineup #25 in baseball.

The Royals have speed, even after trading away Taylor on Monday and Mondesi on Tuesday. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the stolen base landscape for sure this season, but K.C. should again have a high number of steals. The Royals also have the seventh-ranked speed score, though that ranking was second before the trades.

These seem like classic Royals traits but these aren’t your grandfather’s Royals. K.C. forecasts to rank 29th in batting average but 12th in long ball percentage. (Remember, again, these are park-adjusted observations.) This club is very light on contact, patience and general strike-zone command.

Boston trades reliever Matt Barnes to the Marlins for reliever Richard Bleier.

Longtime reliever Darren O’Day retires after 15 seasons.

The Angels have strong interest in free agent reliever Zack Britton.

The Phillies sign infielder Josh Harrison to a one-year deal.

Marlins infielder Jazz Chisholm will be on the cover of MLB The Show 23.

Left-handed reliever usage continues to decline.

Sinclair’s bankruptcy issues could give MLB an opportunity to provide direct-to-consumer streaming.

New plans are unveiled for a Rays ballpark district.

Is Joe Mauer a Hall of Famer?

The Yankees hire Brad Wilkerson as assistant hitting coach.

Are the Miami Heat the future of NBA defenses?

ChatGPT is forcing universities to rethink plagiarism.

More people are using saunas, but are they actually good for you?

The new Kansas City airport is set to open February 28.

Your song of the day is Jimi Somewhere with Bottle Rocket.