Nick Pratto is looking to prove that he belongs in the majors, writes Anne Rogers:
Pratto spent the offseason getting healthy and working on his mindset, although there were kinks to work out in his swing, too. He struck out at a 30.5 percent clip in Triple-A last year and 36.3 percent in the Majors. The lefty slugger is a patient hitter — his walk rate was nearly 16 percent in Omaha last year — but that can also get him in trouble if he’s too cautious. Pratto worked with the velocity machine in the batting cages this winter, setting the machine to spit out pitches from pitchers Pratto will see throughout the year.
“Not overdoing it, but I wanted to mimic what I’m going to see more,” Pratto said. “But really, most of the offseason was working on getting my body back to the shape I’m used to. I felt like I was deteriorating a little bit, whether it was stress or innings or whatever, I could have done a better job. I was banged up throughout the year, and I’m not used to that. The concussion took more of a toll on me than I guess I realized. I had a lot of work to do to get back to feeling good this offseason.”
Per Ken Rosenthal, J.J. Picollo is thrilled about Royals playing in the WBC ($):
Most clubs part only grudgingly with their players for the World Baseball Classic, but Royals general manager J.J. Picollo was enthusiastic about right-hander Brady Singer, 26, and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., 22, playing for Team USA.
“For two young players who have a chance to be around the most elite players in the world, I think it’s going to be a great experience,” Picollo said. “Neither guy has played in an All-Star Game. This will be the closest thing, the first time they’ve experienced something like that. That whole atmosphere of playing in front of big crowds, meaningful games, I think it’s great.”
David Lesky has his third roster projection for the pitching staff:
Zack Greinke - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1.80 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 21.1% K, 5.3% BB
Brady Singer - 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1.93 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 42.1% K, 5.3% BB
Jordan Lyles - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3.60 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 20.0% K, 5.0% BB
Daniel Lynch - 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3.86 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 17.2% K, 6.9% BB
Brad Keller - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5.79 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 28.6% K, 9.5% BB
Statistically, that’s excellent in a sample that is almost comically small. I think what we’re seeing in this group is kind of exactly what the Royals were hoping to see. Greinke is back and doing his normal thing of keeping guys off base because he doesn’t walk them. Singer had a great start on Monday that helped make his numbers look especially shiny and his comments about how his changeup was the best it’s felt were very encouraging.
Evidently a Clay County site is being considered for a new Royals ballpark. Here’s another theory worth noting:
JE Dunn and/or their family owns the east side of the downtown loop. JE Dunn is in the Royals ownership group. If you think a new Royals stadium is going anywhere else, I’d love to sell you some beachfront property in Waldo. Anywhere else is a charade to drive up land costs. pic.twitter.com/CPgf1tTthJ— Fatty Scott (@TheFattyScott) March 8, 2023
Jacob Milham writes over at Kings of Kauffman that Samad Taylor has a shot at the Opening Day roster.
World Baseball Classic action! In Taichung:
- The Netherlands allowed just three hits en route to a 4-2 victory over Cuba to open the tournament. Big victory for the Dutch considering Jurickson Profar, Xander Bogaerts, and Wladimir Balentein combined to go 0-12.
- Crooked numbers in the fourth and sixth innings key Panama’s 12-5 win over Chinese Taipei for their first ever WBC victory. Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt reached base four times in the rout.
- The Netherlands is off to a 2-0 start following a 3-1 victory over Panama. Solo homers from Bogaerts and Profar provided all the offense needed.
- Italy rallied to a 6-3 extra-inning victory over Cuba behind surprisingly effective pitching. Vinnie Pasquantino went 2-4 with a walk, while Nicky Lopez went 2-5 and knocked in a couple runs in the tenth.
- Australia retired the first 13 batters of the game en route to an 8-7 upset win over Korea. Royals farmhand Robbie Glendinning hit a three-run dinger in the seventh that gave the Aussies a lead they would not relinquish.
- Japan took care of business in their opener with an 8-1 victory over China. Shohei Ohtani was predictably awesome, tossing four scoreless innings, smacking a two-run double as part of a two-hit game, and reaching base twice more via walk.
I will be in Phoenix for Pool C play, so please share any recommendations for bars and restaurants in downtown Phoenix.
Can the Phillies make the postseason despite not having any clear replacement for Bryce Harper?
Louisville has vaulted into the top ten of the D1Baseball Top 25 after a strong weekend at the Shriner’s College Classic.
Greg Oden, one of the highest-profile busts in NBA history, is searching for basketball purpose on the sidelines at Butler.
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Scientists are turning to space-based irradiation to develop crops better suited for a warmer Earth.
Some Teslas are having problems with the steering wheel falling off. Maybe I’m wrong, but that seems just a bit unsafe.
Your song of the day is Until You Were Gone by The Chainsmokers, Tritonal, and Emily Warren.