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Royals Rumblings - News for March 28, 2023

The K will have some new food offerings.

Anne Rogers writes the Royals have things to prove this year.

Beyond it looking cool, the Royals are sending a message: This is the future of the club.

“It’s motivation,” Witt said. “We all kind of came up together, so you want to go out and prove that you’re supposed to be here. That this isn’t a fluke. So, you want to keep going, keep working to get better each and every day. We have some things to prove, for sure.”

She also writes about Melissa Lambert, the Royals’ director of behavioral science, who will be the first person in her position to be in the dugout.

More from Anne.

Sam McDowell writes about how the Royals will handle bullpen usage this year.

A few days ago, Royals pitching coach Brian Sweeney reiterated an effort to more clearly define roles at the back end this season, or at least give players the best possible indication of when they might need to prepare to enter a game. Who wouldn’t want that? Those involved certainly do.

“We can’t script everything,” he said, though perhaps the Royals can inform a pitcher, “This is maybe the bucket of hitters that you’re going to join, or you’re going to pitch the eighth.”

The Royals have a group better prepared for that reality than a year ago. As it stands now, Barlow will open the season as the Royals’ closer, the role he prefers. That pushes Aroldis Chapman and Dylan Coleman to serve as primary setup men, with Garrett meshing into inherited runners situations, and that’s the role he prefers. Carlos Hernandez, Taylor Clarke and Ryan Yarbrough figure to factor into the mix, though with an ability to throw multiple innings. That too could alleviate some pressure on the back end.

David Lesky at Inside the Crown makes his bold predictions for the season.

Vinnie Pasquantino Gets MVP Votes

I wrote last season that Pasquantino would be a top-30 hitter in baseball in 2023. A few days later, I was looking at some stats and I realized that he already was a top-30 hitter, at least by wRC+. So that’s not terribly bold. But I think he takes a step forward because he’s a very smart hitter and I love the way he finished the year. Sometimes a finish to a season can be fool’s gold, but in 52 games after the break, he hit .328/.409/.489. After returning from in injury in September, he hit .361/.449/.482 in 23 games. The power was not quite there, but I believe he puts it together in 2023 and gets a 10th place vote or two.

Craig Brown at Into the Fountains looks at how much the pitching staff can improve.

I think the question at this point is, how much improvement has to happen for it to matter? League average strikeout rate last summer was 22.4 percent, so if you’re looking for the Royals to be even average, that’s going to have to be a massive improvement. It’s not impossible, but with a staff that remains largely intact from last season, the addition of Jordan Lyles to the rotation isn’t going to get that done. Nor is the continued presence of Zack Greinke, who, although I continue to love unconditionally, is no longer a strikeout pitcher.

On the other hand, the walk rate is something that feels like they can pull back toward that average. Last year, the average walk rate landed at 8.2 percent. This is the area where the small tweaks such as having pitchers trust their movement so they aim for the plate and let it ride or the catcher receiving the ball a little closer to the hitter, could make a big difference.

Richard Lovelady expressed some frustration with his demotion in a deleted Tweet.

The move was made despite a stellar spring for Lovelady. In eight games, he allowed fives hits, two walks and no runs in eight innings pitched. He struck out 10.

It wasn’t good enough to break camp with the Royals.

“What I did never even matters!” Lovelady wrote on Friday.

Kauffman Stadium will have some new food options this year.

Joey Votto begins the season on the Injured List, snapping a streak of 14 consecutive Opening Days for him.

The Cubs sign infielder Nico Hoerner to a three-year, $35 million extension.

Guardians pitcher Triston McKenzie will be shut down for two weeks.

The Brewers sign Luke Voit to a one-year deal and designate Keston Hiura for assignment.

Top Orioles prospect Grayson Rodriguez won’t make the club to start the year.

Baltimore releases former Royals outfielder Franchy Cordero.

A look at exit velocity leaders from spring training.

The Mets part ways with Darin Ruf after acquiring him last summer.

Does playing experience matter at all with coaching anymore?

USA Today ranks all 30 stadiums, with Kauffman ranking 16th.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson requests a trade out of Baltimore.

The Dallas Mavericks have been a disaster since acquiring Kyrie Irving.

The first 3-D printed rocket failed to reach orbit.

Some directors are trying to produce films with tiny budgets.

Your song of the day is Loud Pipes with Ratatat.