Some rehab updates from Anne Rogers:
—Drew Waters was scheduled to play a full nine innings in an extended spring training game today. Plan for him is to play a couple more this week before heading to an affiliate for a rehab assignment. All dependent on how he recovers from each game.— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) April 26, 2023
And some beat writer news! The Star will have one again!
Personal News: I am excited to announce I am joining the @KCStar to cover the @Royals. Thank you to @USATODAY for a great run and to everyone that helped me on this journey.— Jaylon T. Thompson (@jaylonthompson) April 25, 2023
This is a childhood dream to cover baseball and I’m excited to get things started. ⚾️
Two Storm Chasers notes:
- Last night was the first time ABS (aka robot ump) was used to call balls and strikes in the International League, of which the Chasers are a part. For the first three games of each week, it will be purely ABS calls, and appeals will become available in the last three games. Nick Pratto looked upset at a called strike three early in the game, which made me laugh because he famously argues with human umpires, but had nowhere to turn with this gripe.
- Outfielder Brewer Hicklen rejoined the team after rehabbing an injury. He came in as a defensive replacement late in the game, in a lineup shuffle that took Maikel Garcia out of the game.
At Kings of Kauffman, Jacob Milham finds three Royals minor leaguers to potentially help fill the Kris Bubic-shaped hole in the KC rotation.
David Lesky touched on that question as well, adding Drew Parrish to the mix, in the newsletter edition about Brad Keller’s control issues:
I think the curves just didn’t really do much for him because they all seemed to miss arm side outside of the few that caught way too much of the plate. But on the sliders, I don’t think the location was generally too bad. There were a couple that I thought were surprising takes given the Diamondbacks proclivity for swinging, so I stand by my thought that he maybe needs to catch more of the zone with it in order to give hitters something to think about. Brady Singer, tonight’s starter, is a great example of throwing more in the zone to get more swings and misses. I theorized last season that the lack of swings on pitches outside the zone for the team as a whole was that they weren’t throwing enough strikes to lead to those.
But regardless of the fix, we’re now five starts into the latest Keller experiment. And it’s one that I was getting excited about during spring training, mostly due to scouting reports I was given. He’s had one average start, one good start, one great start and two clunkers. The clunkers are back-to-back and, honestly, could have been way worse, but they just weren’t good enough. He’s now walked 11 batters in eight innings with just four strikeouts. That doesn’t work. I don’t care if he only gives up seven hits if he has a 2.25 WHIP. Keller finds himself lucky that there aren’t other options right now.
Craig Brown has this on Monday’s roster move:
I hope that in keeping Fermin, ostensibly the third catcher on the roster, it signals the Royals are committed to MJ Melendez as their regular right fielder. This would be absolutely the correct move. Melendez has improved by leaps and bounds over the adventurous fielding we saw last summer. He’s not necessarily smooth out there, but he’s doing well enough that he deserves continued reps at the position. The limited defensive metrics confirm this. He’s been worth one Outs Above Average, one of 12 right fielders to have a positive number in the early going. Going a little deeper, Statcast has his reaction time as a negative, which is understandable as he’s still learning to read the ball off the bat. His routes are a net positive as once he draws a bead on the ball, he’s getting there in a direct fashion. Throw it all together and you get an outfielder who is plus 0.7 feet over average in getting a jump. That will work. (Incidentally, it’s the same Jump as Kyle Isbel, who has a fantastic reaction time but less desirable routes to the ball.) The eye test will confirm the improvement of Melendez’s defense as well.
Tigers lefty Tarik Skubal is scheduled to throw a bullpen this week as he recovers from a forearm injury.
The Pirates signed outfielder Bryan Reynolds to an 8-year extension.
At FanGraphs, Davy Andrews wrote about the swinging bunt/tackle that broke up Drew Smyly’s perfect game in a fashion that would have been right at home in the weird, olden days of this websiet.
Cris Collinsworth said the Chiefs should use their first-round pick on Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker.
Paolo Banchero is the NBA’s rookie of the year.
Two Succession cast interview pieces, if you’re caught up with the most recent episode: Kieran Culkin for Variety, and Dagmara Dominczyk (Karolina in the show) for Vanity Fair.
Mattel released a Barbie with Down Syndrome in collaboration with the National Down Syndrome Society.
Colorado passed a ‘right to repair’ bill for farmers.
Some concertgoers are trying to sue Morgan Wallen for cancelling his show at the last minute.
Today’s fun question from Reddit: What eventually disappeared and no one noticed?
SOTD: One Direction - No Control