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Weekend Rumblings - News for April 15, 2023

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

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Jackie Robinson pictured as a shortstop for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in 1944.

Matt Quatraro welcomes Josh Staumont back to the roster, writes Anne Rogers.

“Josh has great stuff,” manager Matt Quatraro said. “For him, it’s very simple. Get ahead, stay ahead, put guys away with your plus stuff.”

Pete Grathoff writes that the Royals have a plan for Dylan Coleman to get back on track.

“He realized that he was not himself,” Quatraro said of Coleman. “Whether it’s mechanical, strike-throwing, whatever it is, there’s something that’s off, and he recognizes that. And he said it’s not fair to himself, it’s not fair to the team, it’s not fair to the other guys to go out there and compete without an arsenal that can get major-league hitters out right now.

“So Brian and the pitching team, they got together with him today on a call and mapped out his plan. All kinds of stuff: physical, mental, pitch design, arm strength, all that kind of stuff. The whole process to map out for a while and see if he can get himself right.”

David Lesky at Inside the Crown considers the options at second base.

I wouldn’t make a move just yet, but he certainly has some competition breathing down his neck. Some is already on the roster. Matt Duffy has hit well in limited work. Maybe he gets exposed if he plays every day, but he’s one of three Royals with a current wRC+ above 100. It’s hard to ignore that. Nicky Lopez is one of the other two at 103. Now, he’s hitting just .208, but he’s actually picked up some extra base hits, even if some are of the hustle variety. And we know he can play defense. If either would take over as the starter (or as a true platoon), Massey should absolutely be playing every day to get right.

But those two aren’t the only options. There is a second baseman playing in Omaha right now who is on the 40-man and who is playing extremely well. I wrote about this when the trade was made, but I really liked Samad Taylor when they acquired him. He hit .360/.414/.760 this spring and has picked up where he left off to start the season in AAA. Taylor isn’t likely to become a Gold Glover but he’s perfectly capable in the field and he’s very quick. I wonder if the Royals aren’t thinking about making a move if Massey doesn’t start to come out of this soon.

Eno Sarris looks at seven pitchers with improved fastballs.

Game-to-game variance is real. Jake Mailhot wrote a great piece on FanGraphs about how Kris Bubic changed his fastball, added a slider, and upgraded his changeup. That’s what it looks like if you look at his games on average. But if you look at Bubic’s two starts, in the first start he showed good ride and less horizontal movement, and in his second start, his fastball was almost an exact match for last year’s.

This doesn’t take away fully from the fact that, on sum, and including his spring numbers, he seems to have made some changes to his fastball that have helped his Stuff+, but it does point to some possible regression there. The best news is that Bubic suddenly has a plus slider, so let’s give him an average fastball and a plus slider and a changeup we need to know more about. With the home park, he’s a useful pitcher that you might even want to pitch some on the road.

Kevin O’Brien at Royals Reporter highlights five pitches from Royals pitchers to watch.

The Giants sign pitcher Logan Webb to a five-year, $90 million contract.

The Rays finally lose for the first time, falling to the Blue Jays 6-3.

The show Abbott Elementary referenced an Adley Rutschman walk-off home run, and the next day he did it.

Rays pitcher Jeffrey Springs will miss two months with an elbow injury.

The Rangers are taking an old school pitching approach to get back to contention.

There is more buzz about the Athletics relocating to Las Vegas.

The Dodgers and Mets are seen as the favorites to land Shohei Ohtani in free agency.

Could MLB eventually stream all games on one service?

A look at the players that could get 10/5 rights this year.

Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the finalists for NBA MVP.

The Women’s Football Alliance grows to dozens of teams in 32 states.

Is Air one of the best sports movies ever?

A look at U.S. migration trends since the pandemic.

Why egg prices are on the way back down.

The company that brought you Angry Birds will be sold to Sega for $1 billion.

Your song of the day is The Rolling Stones with She’s So Cold.