clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Royals Rumblings - News for June 30, 2023

Friday Rumblings First Half in Review

Cleveland Guardians v Kansas City Royals
I don’t get why everyone is so down on this team. Royals haven’t lost on a Thursday since May 4th. That’s almost 2 months, people!
Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Max is out there stealing all the big news, first about John Sherman’s press conference and then about Alex Marsh’s MLB debut tonight.

At MLB, Anne Rogers has a couple of stories about Sherman’s comments.

At The Star, Jaylon Thompson has stories both about Sherman and about Marsh.

Pete Grathoff has a story about Indians manager Terry Francona praising Matt Quatraro:

Although Quatraro and Royals pitching coach Brian Sweeney, who also had been on Cleveland’s staff, are now in Kansas City, Francona still considers both friends.

“We knew we were gonna lose both of them. We knew it,” Francona said. “The only reason Q was a hitting instructor for us was because we were trying to get him, because we liked him. We didn’t think that’s what his job was gonna be. We just liked the person and we knew we’d lose him, and Cashy took him.

“And Sweeney we knew he wouldn’t be here long. We’re proud of them. You know, I hope we beat them but also love them to death.”

At Fangraphs, Davy Andrews’s “midseason check-in on rookie third basemen” includes a Royal!

Maikel Garcia - 93 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

Garcia was not one of those 149 different third basemen — nine of them Royals — with a preseason projection in our Positional Power Rankings, though he did show up at shortstop. Up until May 1, the Royals had accrued all of 0.2 WAR at third base, tied for 22nd in baseball. Since May 2, the day Garcia was called up, they’re at 2.1, second overall. The 23-year-old’s contributions have mostly come on the defensive end: In just 298 innings at third base, he has 10 OAA, tied for the lead. On a per-inning basis, all of the defensive metrics rank him highly. That part’s not a surprise.

The surprise is that Garcia is running an 88th-percentile hard-hit rate and an 85th-percentile average exit velocity. A little over a year ago, our evaluators had all but given up on the possibility that he would ever find some power. The thing is, they’re still not wrong. Among the 280 players with at least 150 plate appearances, Garcia’s 6.5-degree average launch angle is 27th-lowest; 44% of his hard-hit balls have been grounders. To give you a frame of reference, that’s just two percentage points lower than noted groundball enthusiast Ke’Bryan Hayes. Garcia also possesses a fantastic eye and great contact ability, so pitchers have thus far been happy to throw the ball over the plate and let him hit a grounder somewhere. That’s how someone with an 85th-percentile average exit velocity ends up with an in-zone rate of 54.1%, third-highest among players with at least 150 PAs.

It’s still early in Garcia’s career, but right now it’s easier to imagine his hard-hit rate coming back down to earth than his launch angle rising away from it. In the meantime, he is doing an excellent Hayes impression, running a 93 wRC+ and a .103 ISO — perfectly good for a solid shortstop moonlighting as a superlative third baseman.

Speaking of listicles, let’s see who Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline has the Royals picking in his latest mock draft:

8. Royals: Blake Mitchell, C, Sinton (Texas) HS (No. 14)The two names that come up the most with the Royals are Mitchell and Meyer. The bias against high school catchers could drop Mitchell into the back half of the first round, so Kansas City might be able to save money and get an extremely talented player. Lowder, Teel and Dollander are other considerations.

Craig is back! Craig is back! Craig is back! After taking a few weeks off, Into the Fountains has returned:


If I were to pick one word to describe the 2023 season for the Royals, it would be disaster.

Of course, there are varying degrees of what constitutes a disaster. Especially in baseball. The A’s are a disaster, but they were built for that purpose. Mission accomplished! Across the state, the Cardinals calibrated their expectations per usual, where a spot in the postseason is the minimum. So when, at the season’s midway point, St. Louis owns the third-worst record in the NL and the best fans in baseball are yearning for the days of one Mike Matheny, well…that’s a different kind of disaster. If I’m being honest, it’s kind of fun.

For another blog entry, I stumbled across Patrick Glancy and Powder Blue Nostalgia a few weeks ago. The entries I’ve read are typically part Royals, part baseball, in general. Today’s (ok, technically yesterday’s) is about old stadiums:

I will miss Kauffman Stadium. Yes, it is fifty years old, but especially after the renovations made before the 2010 season, the stadium definitely doesn’t look its age. This is not an argument against building a new stadium, just an acknowledgment of the K’s charm and general upkeep. Most of the criticism of the stadium from out-of-towners is about its location, so far removed from the rest of the city, but few have any issues with the stadium itself.

With its iconic fountains in the outfield and massive Crown Vision scoreboard, Kauffman is a beautiful place to watch a baseball game. I’ve seen more games there than I can count, and with the possible exception of one incredibly hot afternoon in 2019 when the hapless Royals got shut-out by an uninspired White Sox team while I tried to wrangle a group of restless kids in the miserable heat, I’ve never had a negative experience. And I can’t even blame that one on the stadium.

I was out of town most of the week and got back on a 2:30am flight last night (Thursday am) after many delays. However, that was only part of the motivation for this week’s Off Topic. With the Royals finishing up their first half of the season, let’s take a look at Friday Rumblings’ First Half.

On the very first Friday Rumblings of this year, I posted this:

We’re going to try something a little different this year for my Songs of the Day. Back in the day, video games garnered a lot of discussion, but, now, not so much, and I feel like I’m running a little low on fun stuff to contribute. There will still be video game Fridays, some with new game discussions and some with old songs from past discussions. But I’m also going to start combining some of my movie/TV reviews into SotD territory so I can use soundtrack songs. While working, I often listen to soundtracks, so this is an opportunity to feature those, as well. There will also be other oddball things. I think today’s fits into both of the “movie” and “oddball things” categories.

From there, Friday’s have gone all sorts of directions the first half of this year.

For a refresher, here’s the ground we’ve covered in the first half for Friday’s Rumblings (if the SotD is different from the OT topic or tangentially related, it’s in parens):

2023.01.06: Pacific Rim/MST3K Reboot

2023.01.13: How to do a Rumblings (GI Joe - Knowing is Half the Battle PSAs)

2023.01.20: GI Joe

2023.01.27 Children's Books I

2023.02.03 Rebuild of Evangelion, part 1

2023.02.10 Rebuild of Evangelion, part 2; Superb Owl facts

2023.02.17 OUT

2023.02.24 Movies: Fletch, Beverly Hills Cop (Harold Faltermeyer)

2023.03.03 Children's Books II

2023.03.10 COVID 3rd anniversary (Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter)

2023.03.17 OUT

2023.03.24 CPBL Preview (Men Envy Children - Rock You 10)

2023.03.31 Opening Day look-ins (Field of Dreams “People Will Come”)

2023.04.07 KBO Preview (Xenoblade Chronicles - Guar Plain)

2023.04.14 NPB Preview (FF4 - Golbez Clad in Darkness)

2023.04.21 ChatGPT/Bard talks Royals (Kingdom Hearts II - Space Paranoids)

2023.04.28 KidsWB vs FoxKids battle in February 2000

2023.05.05 Lorenzo Cain memories

2023.05.12 Children’s Books III - Dr Seuss

2023.05.19 OUT

2023.05.26 Roller Coasters

2023.06.02 Lost, Part I

2023.06.09 Lost, Part II

2023.06.16 Mediocre Movie Reviews

2023.06.23 OUT

2023.06.30 Friday Rumblings Half Year in Review (you are here)

I’ve got some other ideas rattling around in my head, but getting from idea to full blown thousand (or eight thousand) word post can be a long and circuitous process. My future calendar for topics is always written in pencil. Sometimes writings take longer than I expect to turn into a full post (or never do): the Roller Coaster post had been kicking around in my inbox for months before I could put enough time into it to feel good about post it. Other times, something topical pushes its way to the forefront and gets written in a day: the ChatGPT/Bard topic or Lorenzo Cain memories ahead of his retirement. What I had planned for that week just gets moved back.

Any thoughts on what has worked and what hasn’t? As I’ve said, I do a lot of writing for myself but I figure if those things might garner discussion, I’ll share them here as well. Also, I’m just awful at determining what other people want to read about. That realization a while ago helped push me towards writing what I want to write about versus trying to guess what others want to read. Maybe not something I shouldn’t be saying out loud too much, but it’s led to better writing and better responses.

If anyone’s curious what is penciled in for the second half, we’re going to sweep around the Asian baseball leagues for the mid-season, and then at the end of the season, I’ve got more movie reviews that I need to cobble together into a couple of posts, at least one more set of Children’s Book reviews, a couple of potential music topics, another peek behind the scenes on RR writing, a video game that I can’t believe I’ve never featured, and some talk about Legos. I’m sure more will come up, too.

Thanks for reading! I stay up way too late almost every week but I really appreciate doing these and I’m glad folks get something out of them. Here’s to a great second half of the year!

I’ve mentioned Guitar Hero a number of times in this space as I definitely was all in on that little fad. Good music? Video game controller fake guitars? Awesome! Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s was fun idea as arena rock and hair band music is perfect for the franchise. Of course, this was after Activision bought up Guitar Hero for a cool $100 million and got greedy so there were only 30 songs for $50 and no new gameplay or anything.

The “boss” song for this particular entry was Extreme’s “Play With Me”, made famous in a scene in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The guitar bits of Mozart mixed in made this really fun to play.