Anne Rogers has her second roster prediction of the spring:
Outfield (4): MJ Melendez, Kyle Isbel, Nate Eaton, Edward Olivares
With Drew Waters out for what could end up being the first month of the regular season, the outfield picture got fairly clear — but also thin. Melendez figures to be the starting left fielder. Center field is Isbel’s job to lose. Right field is up for grabs; Eaton’s versatility between the infield and outfield, and Waters’ absence, likely gives him a roster spot. Hampered by injuries last season, Olivares still showed what he’s capable of, slashing .286/.333/.410 in 174 plate appearances. He could finally get an opportunity to play every day, whether that’s in right field or as the designated hitter.
Kansas City lacks outfield depth with the injuries to Waters and No. 20 prospect Diego Hernandez, so the club could add someone between now and Opening Day. Dozier is an option for the corners, while the Royals are comfortable with Franmil Reyes out there on occasion. No. 25 prospect Samad Taylor is on the 40-man and he could be an option in center, but his bat likely needs more development with Triple-A Omaha.
David Laurila talks hitting with Gavin Cross:
Laurila: Were you happy with your groundball/fly ball rate last year?
Cross: “I don’t really take too much into that, honestly. I want to hit the ball in the air — I want to slug — but at the end of the day, as long as I’m hitting the ball off the barrel, and hitting it hard, I don’t really care. I’m not chasing numbers. I’m just trying to put good at-bats together and hit the ball off the barrel. If I’m 50/50, and [half] of those groundballs are over 105 [mph] and go for hits… I mean, I’m not going complain if I’m hitting .500 on groundballs, if you know what I mean.
“I obviously don’t want to hit the ball on the ground. My goal is to hit the ball hard, and at the same time, hitting is hard. I’m just trying to train my body to see the pitch, recognize the pitch, and… I mean, the more you try to hit it in the air, the more you’re going to try to be out front, and that causes some more swings and misses. So, there’s a fine line between the whole fly ball/groundball ratio. I’m trying to hit for both average and power, and that will come from putting good at-bats together.”
David Lesky at Inside the Crown writes about opportunities for some Royals opened up by WBC departures:
Heasley and Kowar have both pitched already and both really struggled, so their extra opportunities may be even more important. Bubic hasn’t thrown yet, but he’s one of the guys I’m most excited to get to work with this new group of coaches because of the way he approaches the game. I think there will be a very good fit and I wonder a little if Bubic’s life just gets easier by throwing more strikes, which I think he can do with the catching changes they’re working on.
Regardless, this is a big spring for these guys. Assuming Bubic and Kowar don’t make the Opening Day roster, they’ll both be out of options after this season. Heasley will be down to one. Teams like inventory and don’t like being forced to roster a player or risk losing them. So they need to establish themselves this season and that starts in the spring. If the changes on the development side work the way the changes on the hitting development side did, there will be pitchers ready to pass these guys up soon, so the clock is ticking.
Craig Brown at Into the Fountains had notes on Tuesday’s Spring Training action:
We got our first look at Aroldis Chapman in Cactus League action, chipped front tooth and all. He struck out two in his inning of work. A few things to note: First, his velocity seemed extremely strong for a first outing of the spring. Second, he apparently has simplified his delivery a bit. Honestly, it looked pretty much the same delivery as he was using last year, but Quatraro noted the change in his postgame comments, saying it was different from the start of camp. So maybe he was complicating things a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps he wasn’t lifting his leg as high as usual. Dunno. Third, he was throwing with a decent tempo, seemingly not bothered by the pitch clock. Without the pitch clock, Chapman works about as fast as his new teammate Josh Staumont, so it was good to see that he didn’t seem to have any issues. Well, he did have a moment where he was called for a violation, but it did seem like he lifted his leg with a second left on the clock. And the Cleveland broadcast speculated he could’ve been called for a balk because he was running out of time and didn’t get set before he started his windup. There’s a lot going on in baseball these days.
Twins Daily laughs at the Royals and their incompetence:
They couldn’t pitch, but they made up for it by not hitting.
Jacob Milham shared his favorite highlights from the first weekend of Royals Spring Training.
John Sherman gave a small update on the pursuit of a downtown ballpark.
MLB writers at the Athletic picked a fantasy sleeper for each team ($). The pick for Kansas City was...Jackson Kowar. I feel like it’d have to be a ten-team AL-only league or something to justify rostering Kowar.
San Diego continues signing everybody, bringing in
professional boxer second baseman Rougned Odor on a minor league deal.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde wanted NRI Ofreidy Gómez to get an inning in their game on Tuesday, but they reached the bottom of the ninth with the home Pittsburgh Pirates leading. The umpires left, but the Pirates stuck around to play a backfields style half-inning so Gómez could get his work in:
You could support your home country or favorite Royals in the World Baseball Classic, or you could pull for the underdogs: the Czech Republic.
Florida State has entered the Top 25 ahead of week three of college baseball.
Florida’s Jac Caglianone is a menace:
ICYMI Florida's starting pitcher Jac Caglianone hit 3 massive home runs yesterday (exit velos of 118, 115, and 110 MPH) and struck out 6 batters while touching 97 MPH.— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 27, 2023
If that sounds insane, it's because it is.pic.twitter.com/gEHwllhAu9
The numbers behind Valentina Shevchenko, the UFC’s current longest reigning title holder.
LIV Golf’s first tournament on network television drew poor ratings.
This halftime dog perfectly encapsulates the current state of Louisville men’s basketball.
Making the case for Glass Onion to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
UDOT is considering a gondola to ease traffic near their busiest ski resorts. I love to see a DOT thinking beyond “just one more lane bro,” although I respect the reasoning for gondola opposition in this particular case.
Did you know the new year once began in March?
Your song of the day is You Were Loved - Far Out remix by Gryffin & OneRepublic.