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Royals Rumblings - News for July 20, 2023

I am either on a bus or at Union Station as this is being published

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Hit the weight room Dairon Blanco:

The ball Dairon Blanco lifted to left-center field in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night traveled 395 feet. It would have been a home run in 19 ballparks. If it had gone over the wall, Blanco would have had the Royals’ first cycle since George Brett in 1990.

Alas, Blanco settled for his second double of the day, a homer shy of the cycle and his first career four-hit game as his speed and energy fueled the Royals to an 11-10 win over the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.

He’ll take it — right after he hits the weight room.

“Definitely went out there looking for it,” Blanco said through interpreter Luis Perez. “As soon as it left the bat, I thought I had a chance. But when I saw it hit [the wall], I thought I needed five more pushups, and it would have gotten out.”

Noah Barber, BVNHS grad and KU football commit, will get a chance to live out his dream of playing for his hometown Royals after signing as an undrafted free agent:

Barber’s favorite player growing up was Lorenzo Cain, and he finds himself emulating the former Royals outfielder in his own game now.

“Lots of hustle, lots of athleticism,” Barber said. “I like to get after it, steal bases, love making diving plays, setting up to throw somebody out at the plate. When I’m hitting, I like to attack mistake pitches.”

Barber remembers watching the Royals win the 2015 World Series on TV when they clinched the title in New York. He was only 10 and stayed awake late to watch Game 5 and the celebration and got the day off school for the parade.

Now he’s part of that organization. The decision to come home from KU was only hard because of the people he met on campus.

I’m sorry if that makes you feel old.

Nobody has seen their 2024 ZiPS projection decline more precipitously over the course of 2023 than our very own MJ Melendez:

This season has been a nearly unmitigated disaster for Melendez, and, honestly, the Royals as a franchise. Melendez has regressed across the board at the plate, outside of still hitting the ball fairly hard, but his bursts of decent power aren’t enough to support a contact rate down in Javier Báez territory. What’s even worse is that amidst an awful season for both player and team, the Royals aren’t even using him in a way where they’ll develop or learn anything about him. It’s become clear that he’s lousy defender in the outfield, but they’ve only given him seven starts as a catcher. While this would be justified if they were in contention, they were one of the first teams to have 2023 be, for all intents and purposes, over.

With Melendez’s offense in greater doubt, it’s increasingly looking like his only real shot at contributing is if he can catch, so if he’s not catching in the majors, he should be doing so in the minors. There’s no purpose to just sticking him at DH or in right field at this point; it’s a bit like going to a college that offers a major in crashing on your cousin’s couch.

The union representing Kauffman Stadium workers has won a new labor contract.

‘Tis the season for ridiculous trade proposals, such as this suggested swap sending Juan Soto to St. Louis.

I love overly specific/arbitrary stats from MLB such as this: Tuesday had the most games (four) in a single day in which both teams scored double-digit runs since 1894.

As they did with the Padres, MLB will take over the Arizona Diamondbacks broadcast.

Spencer Strider and the upper limits of K/9.

Ella De La Cruz was duped by Tyler Rogers’s unusual pickoff move.

I would just like point to out that Padres catching prospect Ethan Salas is hitting .280/.388/.500 in Low-A. Salas was born on June 1, 2006, younger than the aforementioned Noah Barber.

103 official, unwritten rules for sports and life.

The Open has already teed off at Royal Liverpool by the time you’re reading this, but here’s a preview anyway should you need to catch up real quick.

On a related note, anytime I run a search for “[x sporting event] Preview,” 95% of the results are odds/betting previews. The rapidity with which gambling has infected every corner of the sports world is disheartening, to say the least.

In the latest of a string of heat records, Death Valley just recorded their hottest midnight temperature on record at 120° F.

The feeling of invisibility, by people who wear camouflage for work.

Prepare yourself for Barbenheimer this Friday.

Your song of the day is Roses by The Chainsmokers and ROZES.