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Royals Rumblings - News for January 19, 2023

Congratulations to Freddy Fermín!

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Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Anne Rogers writes about minor league signing Nick Wittgren, eyeing a bounceback:

“I was pitching a little bit backwards to what I usually pitched like,” Wittgren said. “It got me out of my groove.”

In the Dominican Winter League, Wittgren focused on his cutter and slider, two pitches he hadn’t thrown much nor had produced much success.

“I love my cutter now,” Wittgren said. “And with the slider, I’ve focused on getting it tighter, which is how it was back in the Minors coming up. That’s the slider [Starlin] Castro saw in winter ball.”

David Lesky at Inside the Crown looks at the state of the AL Central:

I guess we’ll see. The Royals and the Tigers are very similar, only the Royals haven’t had the young pitcher injuries. They’ve had plenty of ineffectiveness, which I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than injuries. I think the 2023 season and subsequent winter will tell us a lot about the future of the Royals. Looking at the lineup, I see a lot of young hitters who could be a group of impact bats in the near future. Maybe Brian Sweeney is exactly what guys like Daniel Lynch and Kris Bubic and Jonathan Heasley and all the other young pitchers need. We just don’t know.

If you told me today that the Royals and Tigers would be battling the Guardians for the 2025 AL Central title, I’d believe you. If you told me that they’d be battling to avoid the basement in 2025, I’d believe you. I want to see improvement in 2023 and then I want to see a willingness to supplement the roster when they have a better idea of what they have and what they need. I feel comfortable with the offensive development plan in the minors, but both need to see more at the big league level to be 100 percent bought in and need to see results on the pitching side. I know they’ve made changes in their approach based on things I’ve heard from people both in and out of the organization but with so few names changing, I’ll need to really see it to believe it.

Freddy Fermín received MVP honors in the Venezuelan Winter League:

Fermin, a 27-year-old backstop who has spent the last seven seasons in the Royals organization, was named the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year of the Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional — Venezuela’s premier offseason baseball league — over the weekend. Fermin, a native of Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, batted .404/.484/.566 with 13 doubles, a triple, four homers and 28 RBIs in 45 regular-season games during his first winter playing for Leones del Caracas.

The winter league honors are the latest positive developments in what’s been a stellar 10-month stretch for Fermin. The 5-foot-10 right-handed hitter, who for most of his professional career has been more highly regarded for his defense than his offense, had a breakout 2022 season with the Omaha Storm Chasers. In his first extended opportunity at the Triple-A level, Fermin batted .270/.365/.480 with 17 doubles, 15 home runs and 56 RBIs in 87 games.

Jordan Foote explores potential trades with Boston:

According to Chad Jennings of The Athletic, Boston has discussed Mondesi but there’s “absolutely no indication” that talks have advanced past the exploratory stage. If there’s even remote interest in the 27-year-old, Kansas City would be wise to at least entertain communicating with the other party about it. In the event of a trade, what could Mondesi net in return? Because of recent injuries (ACL in 2022, most notably) and inconsistent play throughout his career, his value is difficult to get a read on.

A low-tier prospect may be the best place to start. This is a very imperfect science, but the Baseball Trade Values trade simulator gives Mondesi a median trade value of 1.5. In Boston’s farm system, there are three pitchers with respective median values of 1.4, 1.7 and 1.7. The highest prospect ranking of the group in the organization’s top 30 list is 25th, so an overpay in a straight-up swap is unlikely. Let’s take an individual look at what these pitchers could offer Kansas City if one of them were hypothetically sent over in exchange for Mondesi this winter or spring.

The Royals have released the spring training broadcast schedule:

Dan Szymborski continues his 2023 ZiPS projections with the Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, and Seattle Mariners.

Daulton Varsho is making bunting for hits cool again.

Jeff Passan presents eight takeaways from this offseason’s free agency ($).


The preseason college baseball top 25 is out now, with LSU the clear-cut #1.

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Yet another area of the US is learning why having pavement everywhere is a bad idea.

John Larroquette confirmed that he narrated the opening of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in exchange for weed.

How technology, corporate greed, and supply-chain chaos have transformed the lives of modern truck drivers.

Your song of the day is What Would I Change It To by Avicii & Aluna.