Max already covered that Salvy and Witt are Silver Slugger finalists.
At the Star, Pete Grathoff compares them to the competition:
Silver Slugger award winners will be revealed on the MLB Network on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.
Max also covered all you need to know about the offseason.
I’m not saying Anne Rogers copied him but she put up her offseason FAQ about 30 minutes later:
Who is arbitration-eligible?
For the Royals, this is what will be the meat of their early offseason. They have seven arb-eligible players, all due bumps in their salary through the process. The extremely valuable Cot’s Contracts estimates each salary:
LHP Kris Bubic (second year, $2.3 million)
RHP Taylor Clarke (second year, $2 million)
RHP Carlos Hernández (first year, $1.2 million)
RHP Brady Singer (second year, $5.25 million)
OF Edward Olivares (first year, $1.75 million)
RHP Josh Staumont (second year, $1.3 million)
RHP Josh Taylor (third year, $1.2 million)
For the record - I’m sure Anne didn’t copy Max as it’s the logical time to post a postseason story now that the calendar is set. But I couldn’t pass up the joke.
OF Nate Eaton has been designated for assignment.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) November 2, 2023
The following players have been reinstated from the 60-day Injured List:
LHP Jake Brentz
LHP Kris Bubic
LHP Austin Cox
C Freddy Fermin
LHP Daniel Lynch IV
INF Vinnie Pasquantino
RHP Josh Staumont
LHP Josh Taylor
A reminder: Nate Eaton threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout against the eventual World Series champion Rangers back in April. https://t.co/G6qefDRpbx— Pete Grathoff (@pgrathoff) November 2, 2023
David Lesky suggests the Royals should “eliminate bad pitches”. Sign him up to be pitching coach! Oh wait, there’s more too it than that.
So today, I want to dig into seven pitchers who figure to be part of the 2024 staff and gave us enough data in 2023 to look at and see what they should throw more and what they should throw less…or not at all. I’m going to be using a stat called Run Value and I’m going to use the RV/100 number, which is the run value per 100 pitches to normalize the data. You might be wondering about run value.
He did conclude that Jordan Lyles threw 6 different pitches in 2023 and they were all bad. Can’t really argue with that.
- Mike Gillespie at KOK: 2 KC Royals have shots at major hitting award
- Also Mike: Grading the 2023 KC Royals: Speedster has good season
- Joe Summers at KC Kingdom (slideshow warning): 9 Royals Who Won’t Return in 2024
Let’s give listicles their own spot today.
The Royals come in 29th in Matt Snyder’s end of the season Power Rankings at CBS Sports:
They got Cole Ragans in the Aroldis Chapman trade and Ragans was outstanding down the stretch. The downside is this group has seemingly ruined every pitching prospect they’ve had lately, so there’s concern moving forward.
They’re 28th in ESPN’s “Way too early 2024 MLB Power Rankings”:
28. Kansas City Royals
2023 record: 56-106
2023 final ranking: 29
The Royals have two starters rostered who made more than 12 starts in 2023 — and both had ERAs over five and a half. They don’t have a single reliever returning who pitched at least 20 innings and had an ERA under 4.00. They do have Bobby Witt Jr. and Cole Ragans, who had a breakout performance the final two months and looks like a potential top-of-the-rotation starter. A healthy Vinnie Pasquantino will help, and maybe Nelson Velazquez will show up, but the pitching staff basically needs to be completely re-constructed — with a farm system that has little to offer.
Also at CBS Sports, R.J. Anderson asks which 100-loss team from the last 2 seasons is most likely to make the World Series, like the Rangers and Diamondbacks:
4. Kansas City Royals
You can make the argument this is too high for the Royals. That’s fair, but we’ll remind you of two points: one, it doesn’t matter — we’ve conceded the entire premise is outlandish, so who cares if they’re a spot higher than they ought to be?; and two, we’re high on aspects of their roster. Bobby Witt Jr. is a star; Vinnie Pasquantino is a legit big-league hitter; and Maikel Garcia and MJ Melendez have some interesting underlying metrics that hint at brighter futures. Add in Cole Ragans’ ascent — there aren’t many lefties with his kind of velocity, swing-and-miss capacity and control — and the Royals have a little more going for them than their record indicates. Alas, Kansas City’s front office has a lot of work to do to fill in the gaps around those players, to the extent that a flirtation with .500 would represent a win.
Finally, back to Snyder, who ranked the last 10 World Series:
6. 2015 - Royals reach the top
This one only lasted five games, but it packed a strong punch in the compressed series.
In Game 1, Alcides Escobar led off the bottom of the first with an inside-the-park home run. Still, the Mets had a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth when Alex Gordon hit a game-tying bomb. The Royals would walk it off in the 15th. Game 2 gave us the most recent playoff complete game, as Johnny Cueto went the distance. The Mets won Game 3 and nearly evened the series, but a three-run eighth by the Royals in Game 4 moved it to 3-1.
Then there was Game 5. Matt Harvey had shut the Royals out through eight innings. He was going to be removed from the game, but convinced manager Terry Collins to let him finish. The Royals tied it on a heads-up baserunning play from Eric Hosmer at third base. Remember that one? The Royals would then finish things off with a five-run 15th inning.
It was a great five games, but only five.
It was the 14th inning in Game 1 and then a five-run 12th in Game 5. Those games were long, but that’s a lot of 15th innings.
I want to throw out a couple of things about baseball’s World Series ratings. That’s been a big talking point over the past couple of weeks.
There’s, of course, the obvious that every TV event except, somehow, the Super Bowl, has lower ratings than in the past. The NBA Finals, top sitcom, etc - all of these are down across the board because there are just more outlets for entertainment like more channels and streaming services. Never mind the internet, in general, stealing eyeballs.
However, there are a couple of things that stand out.
First, new blood is required to keep baseball healthy overall:
“I think it’s a good thing for the health of baseball to have new pennant winners and new champions, new teams playing in the World Series. You don’t want it to be the same market and the same brands every year,” Fox EVP, Head of Strategy and Analytics Mike Mulvihill said. “But I admit it is difficult for ratings in the short term when you’ve got some brands paired up that don’t really have traditional national boards.”
Second, baseball made some bad decisions with what particular dates for this World Series:
“I think the Friday night start probably is something baseball might want to look at. It is usually the poorest-viewed night of the week. Then you had a couple games that were blowouts where people probably tuned out early,” he said. “Whenever there’s a chance for somebody to clinch, the numbers are usually high.”
Third, it’s not all is doom and gloom:
The World Series also continues to outperform every entertainment program. This was the eighth straight year that has happened. It was the most-watched event four of the five nights. The only thing to beat it was “Monday Night Football,” when the Detroit Lions beat the Las Vegas Raiders.
Also, having a bad team hasn’t dampened KC’s enthusiasm for baseball:
Source: top 10 local markets (household rating/share) for World Series Game 5:— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) November 2, 2023
San Antonio: 10.6/29
Kansas City: 8.2/22
St. Louis: 8.0/21
San Diego: 7.4/27
Just a reminder of what the Royals drew for their clinching games:
The World Series drew the highest ratings in 6 years and Game 5 drew a 60.0/80 (FYI: 58.3/83 for 2014 Game 7) in Kansas City. That means 80% of all televisions in Kansas City were on and 60% of them were watching the Royals!
So, yes, basically, a staggering 60% of all Kansas City TVs were watching the Royals in the 2014 and 2015 clinching games. Less than a quarter in Dallas were doing the same last night.
That said, looking at that list - I wonder what the Padres, Orioles, or Twins would do if they were in the World Series. I bet those cities would have impressive numbers, too.
If you remember six months ago (I know I don’t), we did some roller coaster rankings. If you only remember back to last month (still, nope here), I missed a couple of weeks. I was at Disney World for the first time, so I figured it was time to do the ride ranking thing, but for the four Florida parks.
This feels more subjective than the other roller coaster rankings since it’s comparing more varied types of rides. That’s not to say that there isn’t variety in roller coasters. It’s just that Disney features a lot of dark rides, a handful of coasters and/or thrill rides, and a number of things that don’t fit into any other category. Thus, personal biases mean more.
Plus, it’s hard to not let line times color your experience and you’ll notice that in some of my notes. The best rides, you’ll pay the money or wait the time for. However, more importantly, longer wait times set higher expectations. With theme parks from Cedar Fair, Six Flags, and the like - line times are usually proportional to ride experience - the better the ride, the longer the line. However, with Disney, this felt a lot less true. Also, when you start getting past those first few in the rankings, I started asking myself questions like “if I can ride one ride once or a pair of rides two additional times, does that make the experience for the latter two better?” If I can walk onto the PeopleMover versus waiting an hour for Frozen Ever After, which would I prefer? And that shaded my perception of these rides.
Another couple of notes to start us off. First, I’m trying not to be too spoiler heavy. I want to be able to give enough details to justify my rankings but a lot of the thrill is not knowing what it coming so you can be better surprised by the experience. Replayability (re-rideability?) matters but only so far. This really comes into play with ride #3.
Secondly, it should also be noted that that I’m coming at this cold. I went to Disneyland (Anaheim) a few years ago, but I’ve never been to Disney World (Orlando) and there’s not a lot of ride overlap between the two parks. In reading other people’s reviews, there’s a lot of “this used to be better” or “I miss X ride that this took over” that colors some veteran experiences. Meanwhile, they would probably take a look at these rankings and say I miss some of that magic that makes a Disney ride great or how influential a ride was at its time. We’d both be right, to some degree, but also answering different questions.
Here’s a couple of other nuggets, before we get to the 20-to-1 rankings countdown.
My 8yo son’s top 11
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Avatar: Flight of Passage
- Star Tours
- Mission: Space
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Toy Story Mania!
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Spaceship Earth
Major rides that we did not ride
- Tower of Terror – Early on in the week, we found out that our son really does not like dark rides and this is a problem at Disney. We did not even try this one
- Space Mountain – My wife and I have been on it at Disneyland and I’d slot it around 8ish if we had ridden it here; But, again, small kid with dark ride fears
- Splash Mountain – It’s closed right now and being redesigned as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure for 2024 so we did not get a chance to ride it
These didn’t quite make the cut but I thought they deserved mention (they’re grouped by park, but, otherwise, in no particular order)
- It’s a Small World – Annoying song stuck in head? Sure. But a classic ride? No doubt.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – It’s an older ride but with storytelling updated to go with PotC movies; you could easily talk me into putting it in the top 20
- Jungle Cruise - Old school ride with captains telling dad puns; Again a lot of classics in Magic Kingdom
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Rough, older ride; not a favorite of mine but deserves mention
- Astro Orbiter – Yes, it’s just an old carnival ride, but it has a great location that provides good views
- Carousel of Progress - Not so much a ride, but the room does move; it feels very “old Disney” as it’s from the 1964 World’s Fair
- Living With the Land - Sorry, MITCH! This didn’t make the top 20, but perhaps this is because we rode it before getting a snack and were already hangry
- Mission: Space – This one deserves more love it gets and there’s rarely a line; it could use a theming update
- Frozen Ever After - Really, it’s a fairly mediocre log flume ride, but it has a great Frozen soundtrack; Unfortunately, the line is completely disproportionate to ride experience
- Toy Story Mania – For being a shooting ride, it feels really responsive (unlike Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin); I was tempted to squeeze this into the top 20 because it is really good at what it does
Hopefully I didn’t lose too many people, mad that their favorite was “merely an Honorable Mention” and didn’t even make the Top 20.
20. Star Tours - It’s one of the few rides from the 80s/90s era that is still around today. Look at most of the things on these lists: they’re either from the 70s or older and retro or built since 2000. It’s maybe the best bargain ride in the park – the line is usually less than 10 minutes so you can walk right on. It’s simple, but the multiple missions make it feel like a slightly different ride each time. We rode 3 times and didn’t get a single repeated segment. Unfortunately, it’s away from Galaxy’s Edge and the other Star Wars rides.
19. Spaceship Earth – This is more of a “how do you rank something like this” sort of problem. For those unfamiliar, it’s the giant globe that is the icon of Epcot. it’s a slow ride through the history of invention from cavemen to modern times. Technically, it’s from 1982, but feels decidedly 70s to me.
18. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – I sometimes forget which things were at Epcot and which were in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. This feels like it should be in Epcot, but, instead, affords great views of Magic Kingdom in a simple but fun premise of being the transportation of tomorrow. It’s relaxing but has a few quick spots and there’s an amusing fake out with Space Mountain, however the current incarnation doesn’t talk much about the famous dark ride.
17. Na’vi River Journey - I know a lot of people don’t like this one, especially considering the wait, but both Pandora rides deliver exactly what I wanted and expected. We’ll get to Flight in a bit, but this one is a slow river ride that captures the “natural wonder” part of the first movie. The people who want to say Avatar is just Fergully or whatever missed the part where James Cameron made the only movie that’s ever truly used 3D to its fullest potential. Those beautiful parts in the forest with the animals are faithfully recreated in this relaxing ride. That said, the over 1 hour waits for this are not worth it for what it is.
16. Peter Pan’s Flight - I don’t get the insane wait times for this ride as it’s often the longest line at Magic Kingdom. It doesn’t help that it likes to break, either, being nearly 80 years old. After seeing the lines, I had higher expectations going in than a suspended boat ride, but that’s on me, not on Disney. That said, it’s one of the best of the dozen-ish rides that are “ride a condensed five-minute version of the movie, complete with animatronics and music”, especially considering its age.
15. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – We really are in the middle of the “I don’t understand the huge wait and that takes away from the ride experience” part of these rankings. Yes, I get that everything has waits at Disney, but some are just disproportionately long and make you go “this is it?” The swinging train design is kindof cool, but definitely not “paid Lightning Lane cool”, especially when compared to the other paid LL rides that are all in my top 10 and I don’t think it’s even “line drop cool” like, say, Slinky or Remy. I think a lot of people get a lot out of the mid-course break run through the caves with the singing and the ride being themed around one of the all-time Disney greats. If this were a 30-minute wait instead of a 90-minute wait, I think I’d like it a lot more.
14. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – I really want to like this ride more. I think maybe if I rode it again, I would – but, again, long lines. It’s similar to my #5, but I think that ride does it better. I really like the ride itself and the cartoon setup, but I really find the new retro Mickey animation style, especially Goofy, really off-putting and that hurts the immersion.
13. Slinky Dog Dash – It’s probably unfair that I have this ride this low, but it also speaks to what comes ahead of it. I wish I had another chance to ride it as it could jump into the top 10. However, this is often the longest line in Hollywood Studios: during our off-peak vacation, lines were often longer than 120 minutes long so it has to either be a line drop or something you’re comfortable tying up your Lightning Lane for half a day. The coaster itself is pretty good – it’s like the Pixar version of a roller coaster: designed for kids but with elements that parents could also enjoy. Where this ride really stands out is the amazing theming. The theming in the Toy Story area is clever, in general, with real effort put into making the whole area look like toys. However, along with the giant Scrabble tiles, Uno cards, dominoes, army men, etc. in the rest of Toy Story Land, Slinky goes to the next level with a giant box for the roller coaster set with Andy’s Slinky design scribbled onto it and kid blueprints of the whole ride. My description isn’t doing it justice.
12. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – Above here, I’m pretty solid about what my top 11 rides were. They were the ones I didn’t even have to think about what were my favorites, though there’s room for a little internal movement. But this is the last of the ones where you could push me off this ranking with a good argument. It’s a decent coaster but short and simplistic theming – I mean, I like Aerosmith and they make the ride work with this, but I could totally see them repurposing this in 20 years with another band or another idea entirely.
11. Test Track – Yes, it’s a thrill ride that gets up to 64.9 mph. But that’s not the appeal of this ride to me. It’s that it’s something different. Yes, it’s blatantly an ad for Chevy. But having those marketing people work on the ride helped. I love the design phase where you get to customize your vehicle. It’s the perfect use of the waiting room minutes. Heck, I wish we had more time to design as there’s never enough time to design more than 1 car. The ride in the dark is a little boring, but it’s also there to give the design part weight. Then the outside finale gives people a rush. Even the stuff after where you can make a commercial for your car or pose in front of a car is fun in limited doses.
10. Kilimanjaro Safari – Speaking of different, how do you rank something like this? How do you compare driving a car at 65 mph to riding by an elephant? How could I disagree if someone said this was the best ride at Disney? Sure, It’s a Small World has a singing hippo but Kilimanjaro Safari has real ones. It’s not a traditional thrill ride, but it’s a long ride with a lot of great things to see.
9. Haunted Mansion – It is amazing how well this has stood the test of time. It’s a simple dark ride but it’s so well done. The initial room is brilliant: the movement, the paintings, and the ending. The rest of the ride does a great job of showing just how spooky, but not necessarily scary, that the dark and ghosts can be. It’s easily the oldest of my top 10, probably to the disappointment of any Disney traditionalists.
8. Star Wars: Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run - I suspect I have this rated higher than most people and it’s the little brother to Rise. However, the entry area is amazing and the detail only gets better when you go into the cockpit – you feel like you’re in the Millennium Falcon. Yes, the degree of difficulty could be dialed back a little. Yes, there need to be more missions. Yes, gunners and engineers don’t always see enough to enjoy the ride to its fullest. Aside: Imagineers, have their panels in front of them and not to the side for a much better experience. But the flight is fun and insanely immersive. If you can, let the biggest Star Wars junkie in your group get right side pilot for (minor spoiler) the jump to hyperspace.
7. Soarin’ – It pains me to put this ride this low as it’s one of my favorites. It’s so simple yet so well executed: make plane-themed ride, people get in row of airplane seats, seats lift up in front of giant screen, screen shows flying video, seats move along with video, and passengers feel like they’re flying. We rode it 4 different times and I’m not sure I’d ever get tired of it, even on the second or third row (feet). It’s impressive that Disney can go get someone like Patrick Warburton to be an extra for one of their rides and his dry airplane humor usually has people reciting the pre-flight video by the end of the night. While we were there, it was “Soarin’ over California” versus “Soarin’ Around the World” or any of the other flights.
6. Expedition Everest - If you go straight to it to start your day at Animal Kingdom, you can walk right onto it a number of times as everyone else is crowding towards Pandora. However, my son didn’t want to go on it again, so, sadly, we only went on it once. I could see this moving up to #5 if I got another couple of rides on it. It does a lot of cool things for a roller coaster, especially one that’s more than 15 years old. It doesn’t have any huge drops (80-foot max) but the continual lift hills to make it appear like you’re climbing the mountain are used extremely effectively.
5. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure - Even better than Peter Pan and all the others, this is the best of the “live a short version of the movie” rides. It’s one of the most modern and tries to really throw you into the movie with lots of “4D” effects. The fall is more effective than Mickey & Minnie, the water splash is perfectly done, the 3D works great with the trackless ride, and the scents are effectively used like in Soarin’. It’s so simple and magical. It doesn’t get as much love as it should from the Disney review sites. However, the crowds love it as you basically have to line drop it or wait 90 minutes plus. I’m siding with the masses here.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind - There’s 4 brand new “best in park” headliner rides and they made my top 4. The Disney traditionalists would hate that about my list and that’s why I put my caveats and my experience at the top. If someone wanted to put Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise in their top 5, they’re not wrong. They’re just coming at it from a different point of view than I am. Similarly, if you polled 1000 average Disney park goers, the plurality (but not majority) #1 is probably Guardians. It’s got good, but not great theming - the ship outside, Terry Crews, the Guardians, and the soundtrack are excellent, but the whole “Wonders of Xandar” area that takes up a lot of the line feels like a real miss. It has a lot of elements of good, modern coasters while being a next level Space Mountain. They borrowed from a lot of good places but it feels like it’s not a wholly new creation, but an amalgam of a lot of good old ones.
3. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – This is probably the hardest one for me to rank and I can’t argue with anyone putting it #1: It is an incredible experience. If you only get to do one thing at Disney, this might be the one to do. You’re basically playing a role in a 20-minute movie, complete with actors and props around you. However, it’s not #1 so you know there’s a “but” coming. It has absolutely no replayability. Once I did it the first time, I had no desire to ride it again, especially not at $20 a person or wait in a 90+ minute long line. It is amazingly done and amazingly immersive, but once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it. The “ride” part isn’t that exciting - I think Remy is actually the better trackless ride. It really is top notch and it’s the crown jewel in the immensely impressive Galaxy’s Edge part of the park. I just can’t rank it higher because, if given infinite time and money, I could just ride the top 2 rides over and over again.
2. Avatar Flight of Passage – This is probably the best ride across all 4 parks, if we take everything into account. It just does everything right. The area around it in Pandora is well done. I can’t speak to the non-Lightning Lane experience, but the LL queue is well done. The interactive introduction tells you all you need to know, whether you know about Avatar or not. Then you get on a next-gen miniature version of Soarin’ where you feel like you’re flying on the back of a dragon for almost 5 minutes. It’s awesome.
1. Tron Lightcycle Power Run – This won’t be the top on most lists and my biases are showing. In this case, I don’t care. Yes, I like the flawed Tron: Legacy more than most people but the ride knocks it out of the park with amazing theming and is a pure adrenaline rush. The only sad part is that it’s much too short and that it’s VQ or pay only (like Guardians). Also, a number of people don’t like the fit on the lightcycle - but, unlike some other rides, I didn’t have that problem.
Spoilers beyond here. You’ve been warned.
The walkup is dramatic with part of the ride racing above the queue. Once inside, the ride story plays on a screen wall. When it’s over, the video fades and reveals the opaque screen to be glass doors. They open onto a dark bridge with the neon colored lightcycles launching below and Daft Punk blaring. My son all but had a meltdown and we had to talk him down. For those ready for it, though, it does a great job of pumping you up. There are Tron-themed lockers and a giant video board over the queue showing race highlights. Riders board their lightcycle and launch at 60 mph, but with lights going the opposite direction, it gives the optical illusion of going faster. Riders are launched out into the daylight to scream and waive at the crowd and then plunged back into the dark to complete the second half of the race. I would love to do this ride at night. I would love for a better interaction between blue and orange team. But what I’d really love is for this ride to be longer. Still, it was the ride I enjoyed the most and would love to go back on.
You really wanted this stuck in your head all day, right?
Quick bonus story - last time my mom and my sister’s family went to Disneyland, the ride broke and they got stuck in It’s a Small World for nearly half an hour. The boat wouldn’t move and there were minimal lights, but the animatronics and songs were working. After they got out, they got compensation passes to any ride in the park. I’m not sure that was even enough compensation but they did get a good story out of it.