An Opening Day FAQ for Twins at Royals, courtesy of Anne Rogers and Do-Hyoung Park:
Greinke ended his Cactus League season with a good tune-up against the Dodgers, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings, and best of all, he’s healthy and feeling good. Garrett didn’t allow a run scored all spring, while Barlow was his usual, efficient self. On the hitting side, Isbel and Reyes led the team in hits this spring (16), while Melendez came back from the World Baseball Classic and homered twice in three games. Witt hasn’t had much time to adjust to big league pitching in games with his time away at the WBC (and lack of at-bats there), but he did homer against the Dodgers’ Dustin May on Saturday.
Rustin Dodd, who has (sort of) taken over Royals coverage at The Athletic, answers 10 burning questions for the team this year ($):
Who has the most to lose (or gain)?
Brad Keller, SP
Right-hander Brad Keller will be a free agent after this season. Here are his ERA totals in his first five years: 3.08, 4.19, 2.47, 5.39, 5.09. His best season came in the shortened 2020 campaign, which makes it a bit of an outlier. But at times he’s shown glimpses of being a solid back-end starter. He’s added a curveball and tweaked his repertoire this past offseason. He’s trying to prove he can be a consistent piece in a rotation (rather than a middle reliever) before he enters the market at the age of 28.
David Lesky at Inside the Crown looks back on Spring Training as we enter the regular season:
Waters obviously suffered an injury at the very start of camp, so that left six spots undecided. I think coming into spring, we had a pretty good idea that Michael Massey was the favorite to win the second base job, but if he didn’t, he’d probably be back at Omaha. I think Edward Olivares was also close to a lock, but he wasn’t a guarantee. Nate Eaton had a leg up, but he was no guarantee. We knew Matt Duffy was going to compete wth Matt Beaty, but we didn’t know that Jackie Bradley Jr. and Franmil Reyes would be brought in. We now know that you can add all of them but Beaty to the roster (though Reyes hasn’t technically been added yet).
There were some clear spring winners.
Massey won himself a job on the strength of a .299/.333/.674 spring line. There was an article in Baseball America about 25 players who stood out to scouts this spring and Massey was mentioned. I’ll put some of the scout’s take here and then elaborate a bit.
Continuing with the Substacks, Craig Brown at Into the Fountains shares some preseason predictions:
Kris Bubic will be this year’s breakout starter.
A new slider, plus a new philosophy of filling up that zone will equal new successes for Bubic in 2023.
Bubic has been inconsistent—and otherwise mediocre—since his 2020 debut, but he seems like the guy who, with a new pitch at his disposal, can take a step forward with some guidance from pitching coaches Brian Sweeney and Zach Bove. The spring results were encouraging, with plenty of swing and miss that had previously been missing from his arsenal. If he can drop the hammer consistently and get some quick outs, he could be set for something of a takeoff.
He is officially the fifth starter for the Royals and will make his 2023 debut on the first Tuesday of the season against the Blue Jays.
Here’s some Royals Opening Day tidbits from Kings of Kauffman. Can you guess what years the Royals had their highest and lowest attendance at their home opener?
We’ve got several pieces about the ballpark situation. First up, from Anne Rogers:
Royals owner and CEO John Sherman said on Wednesday the club’s ownership group is getting closer to deciding a site location for a new ballpark and having that vision presented to taxpayers on a ballot. Sherman confirmed two site considerations that the Kansas City Star reported earlier this week, including an area in the East Village and the former Kansas City Star printing pavilion on McGee Street, closer to T-Mobile Center and the bars and restaurants within the Power and Light District.
“I would confirm that East Village, we’ve talked about,” Sherman said before the Royals’ workout at Kauffman Stadium. “We’ve probably done the most work on that site. And then the other site was The Star building, we’ve certainly heard from them. The owners of that property have some creative ideas. There are some challenges. I wouldn’t say it’s been eliminated, but it’s a site that’s got some challenges.”
Stand Up KC, a labor advocacy group, is pushing for a community benefits agreement in connection with the new ballpark. Some quotes that stood out to me from spokesperson Terrence Wise:
“Who is the expert at these low-wage jobs,” asked Wise. “Folks like me and folks around Kansas City who live it every day. We should have a seat at the table with all the other experts to develop what a strong CBA should look like so we can all benefit.”
“If [Royals owner] John Sherman and the Royals were saying, ‘We’ll cover the whole deal,’ then we wouldn’t have a say,” said Wise. “But they’re asking for a lot [of public funding] and w [sic] should be asking for a lot in return.”
Dan Szymborski picks some 2023 breakout candidates on the mound. Unfortunately, his selections do not include any Royals.
Jeff Passan believes the pitch clock could be the single most significant change to the on-field product of MLB that we’ve ever seen. I would argue integration was far more significant, but what do I know?
The pitch clock isn’t quite as newfangled as you might think.
If you’re not already subscribed to The Athletic, this conversation with Bryce Harper walking through his homer in the NLCS last year is worth the price of admission.
Entering Week Seven in college baseball, a mid-major in ECU moves to #8 in the rankings, while the defending national champions Ole Miss drop out of the top 25.
ChiefsAholic, Chiefs super fan and notorious bank robber, is on the run from the law after cutting off his ankle monitor.
The NFL is expanding their jersey number rules. Players will be allowed to wear #0 for the first time in league history, among other changes. I personally choose #0 in any situation in which I choose a jersey number, so I’m very much on board.
Overland Park, KS ranks as the most “pickleball-obsessed” city in the United States.
With tourism booming at the Lake of the Ozarks, more family-friendly entertainment options are coming to the area.
TikTok creators have learned how to manipulate their voice in such a manner to boost engagement.
It has long been believed that Stonehenge is a sort of ancient calendar, but new evidence suggests we still don’t really know its true purpose.
A family moved into an old RV to explore the United States and bring their repair skills to the forefront.
Inside how the creative minds behind John Wick: Chapter 4 upped the ante.
Your song of the day is Begin Again by Knife Party.