Lots from Anne Rogers today. First up, she writes that Salvador Perez is bringing WBC energy back to camp:
“I want it even more now,” Perez said about getting back to the postseason. “Every game is important [in the WBC]. Especially in the second round; you lose and go home. I didn’t want to lose. So it’s a different feel for me. I was fired up and wanted to get our team fired up.”
Perez compared Classic games to the World Series and even ventured to say playing in the tournament was better than Game 7 of the World Series because of the intensity and emotion of playing for your country.
“When you play for your country, it’s a different feel,” Perez said. “It’s different. I can’t explain it. I love the Kansas City Royals, I love everyone here, I love this organization, and I’m always going to play hard. But for your country? Especially with all the problems everyone knows we have. It is special. It always will be.”
She also writes about how new pitching coach Brian Sweeney is planning out the Opening Day pitching staff:
The skinny: The Royals haven’t announced their Opening Day starter nor who will follow in the rotation. The way the schedule has been planned, Zack Greinke would be on his turn for March 30 against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Jordan Lyles and Brady Singer appear to be rotation locks. The final two spots are undecided, and candidates include Daniel Lynch, Brad Keller and Kris Bubic.
Sweeney: “We’re working on it. It’s a work in progress. I’m sure we’ll find out soon. … We want to do what’s best for this team and what’s best for the guys.”
All three were in the mix to make the Opening Day cut, though perhaps long shots based on where they sat on the depth chart. The messaging to them upon receiving the news was that they should expect to be in Kansas City at some point this season.
“We feel it’s best for them at this point in their career to go down and get consistent at-bats, especially early in the season,” manager Matt Quatraro said after the Royals’ 4-3 win over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. “And all three of them we think, genuinely, are going to be a huge part of what we do in the future. But the timing right now, for various reasons, isn’t the right time.”
Fangraphs is running their annual Positional Power Rankings series, and the Royals entry for third base is... grim:
Your eyes are not deceiving you. There are nine names in that table. You know you don’t actually have a third baseman when you have enough third base candidates to field an entire team. The only player here with a projected wOBA over .330 is Bobby Witt Jr., whom you may know as Kansas City’s starting shortstop. Should Witt actually be Kansas City’s starting third baseman? That’s not in our purview at the moment.
Hunter Dozer has been a Royal since 2016, and he’s under contract for two more years, which appears to be reason enough to run him out there again. Dozier spent more time at first and in the outfield than he did at third in 2022. Assuming he does the same this year, there should be room at the hot corner for Nicky Lopez to do his Nick Madrigal impression, or for Nate Eaton to show off his versatility, or for Matt Duffy to Matt Duffy for his sixth team in six years. We haven’t even gotten to Maikel Garcia, but why not bring in a 10th name? Garcia isn’t on our table (seeing as he’s a shortstop), but he’s also being mentioned as a possible option at third as well. Shall we keep going?
David Lesky has his final roster projection for the pitching staff:
Zack Greinke - 4.66 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 14.3% K, 5.2% BB, 1.1 WAR
Brady Singer - 3.84 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 21.9% K, 7.0% BB, 3.1 WAR
Jordan Lyles - 4.99 ERA, 4.76 FIP, 16.3% K, 7.4% BB, 0.9 WAR
Brad Keller - 4.25 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 18.2% K, 8.8% BB, 1.0 WAR
Daniel Lynch - 4.35 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 19.7% K, 8.6% BB, 0.8 WAR
This is the starting five I projected before camp started and I haven’t deviated from it. Part of it is because we knew the first three spots were decided before anyone even got to Surprise and part of it is you could read the tea leaves. Keller got hit a bit his last time out, but his new curve and revamped slider have been big for him. I can’t talk to a scout who has seen him without him telling me how impressed I’ll be. And I was when I got the chance to see him on a televised game a couple of weeks ago. I hope he is able to carry that into the regular season and regain some of that effectiveness he had from 2018 to 2020 when he was actually quite good.
Drew Waters is progressing well in his recovery from an oblique injury.
The Athletic is holding a March Madness-style tournament for the best minor league team name ($). One Royals affiliate, the Quad Cities River Bandits, has reached the second round.
Here’s a big ol’ season preview of every team, courtesy of Jeff Passan ($).
With Bally Sports seemingly going under, where do MLB broadcasts go from here?
As he hangs up his cleats, longtime catcher Ryan Lavarnway shares what he’s learned in the game ($). Something tells me he has a future in coaching.
The case for holding the World Baseball Classic annually.
Speaking of, the USA-Japan final drew almost 5 million viewers in the United States. An impressive figure given it was relegated to Fox Sports 1 so the main channel could show... 911: Lone Star and Accused. I would love to see Japanese viewership numbers as they would blow us out of the water. 62 million (!!!) viewers in Japan tuned in to watch them beat Korea in pool play.
Entering Week Six in college baseball, the top 25 sees significant movement, but LSU holds strong at the top.
A blind résumé analysis of NFL coaching hires investigates the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule.
Minda posted in yesterday’s rumblings about Bard, Google’s new AI platform. Let’s just say it’s not quite Skynet:
Looking for a hero shooter that won’t get taken over by esports? Try out Exoprimal, Capcom’s new third-person shooter featuring dinosaurs.
Your song of the day is Ghosts N Stuff by deadmau5 and Rob Swire.