Anne Rogers breaks down the latest roster battles in camp.
Kris Bubic and Ryan Yarbrough both entered camp looking for a rotation spot but both sustained injuries — Bubic’s shoulder and Yarbrough’s groin — that delayed them. Yarbrough seems prepared for a multi-inning reliever role to start the season; the Royals signed him to be that swingman pitcher for them this year.
Where does that leave Bubic? If he’s not in the rotation, the Royals could put him in the bullpen as another option for length, or he could go to Triple-A to continue his build-up.
Jim Callis at MLB.com reviews the Royals’ farm system, and has Carter Jensen as his breakout candidate.
Jensen, the club’s No. 10 prospect, improved significantly in the final two-plus months, batting .286/.440/.429 with 51 walks in his final 52 games. He also made progress with his receiving while throwing out 30 percent of basestealers, and Kansas City is optimistic he’ll continue to get better on both sides of the ball. ”The strides he has made behind the plate after never catching as much as he did last year, Carter has done a great job,” Maier said. “From an offensive standpoint, he has really performed well in the metrics we value. He walks, he controls the strikes zone, he swings at good pitches, he uses the entire field. He’s also very mature for his age in the way he goes about his work.”
Pete Grathoff writes about how Zack Grienke wanted to work on pickoffs in his last outing.
Royals pitcher Zack Greinke had been so sharp this spring that he wasn’t able to hone his pickoff move. Before Sunday, Greinke had given up five hits and a walk in seven innings pitched.
“I’ve been complaining, actually, that people haven’t been getting on so I can’t work on pickoff moves all spring,” Greinke told the Royals website. “So wanting to work on pickoffs. That’s what spring training’s usually for, stuff like that.”
David Lesky at Inside the Crown writes about how the rotation could be a weak link on the team.
Daniel Lynch, on the other hand, I’m less enthused by. He started on Saturday against the Rockies back in Surprise. The line was ugly. He went 3.1 innings with five hits allowed and gave up four runs (three earned) with just one strikeout. He did only walk one and I couldn’t hear any of this game, but I did get a chance to catch up with a scout who’s seen a lot of Lynch.
“It looks the same, but just with more strikes,” he said. “I see the stuff, I see how he can get there, but I don’t see it happening and I can’t figure out why. I’m sure the staff is just as confused.”
Baseball America talks to scouts about standouts in spring training, with Michael Massey listed.
Scout’s Take: “He had a slow start to spring but he’s really turning it on and finding his stride. Timing is there. Barreling up balls. Surprise isn’t a tough place to hit, but it’s not like it’s wind-aided or smoke and mirrors. It’s legit. I think this guy is primed to take the second base job. He’s had more opportunities to start there with Nicky Lopez playing for Team Italy, but even when Nicky was there, they were grooming him to be the utilityman. They’re giving Massey every opportunity . . . and he’s earned a spot on the major league roster. Defensively he’s a little bit limited, but he will make the plays at him. This guy’s bat is legit and there’s some power there. I see quite honestly a .270-.280-type hitter with the potential for 20 bombs. I think this is a legit everyday player.”
Fangraphs ranks each team by value at the catcher position.
There’s probably no player in baseball who has more reason to dislike the emergence of catcher framing metrics than Salvador Perez. If you subscribe to the notion that framing is an important skill, at least until the robo-umps take over, Perez is a fun, aggressive, power-hitting backstop with serious defensive flaws that make him a rather ordinary player in terms of WAR. If you don’t, that’s a whopping 107 runs added back to his defensive totals, or about 10 WAR, basically putting him within range of possibly being a borderline Hall of Fame candidate when all is said and done.
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