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Royals Rumblings - News for September 7, 2023

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Colorado Rockies v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

The Royals made history with their balk-off win on Tuesday:

It was just 32 games ago that the Royals recorded their first balk-off, beating the Mets in 10 innings on Aug. 1. That makes Kansas City the first team to win on two walk-off balks in a single season in the Live Ball Era (since 1920), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Something we practice a lot, clearly,” joked Michael Massey, who went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs.

David Lesky at Inside the Crown also talks Tuesday’s game, including Brady Singer’s poor outing:

That’s an average of 91.2 MPH. In his last start, I speculated that maybe some of the lower velocity sinkers were changeups. I will say that it is possible that’s the case in this one based on some of the movement on the pitches. The Statcast numbers show he threw just two changeups, but they averaged 31 inches of vertical break and 13 inches of horizontal break. His sinker averaged 23 inches of vertical break and nine inches of horizontal break.

I think it’s at least conceivable that three or four of the sinkers were changeups. The ones with the most vertical movement combined with double-digit horizontal movement were also among the slowest sinkers he threw. But even if you believe that, which I’m not sure I completely do, the velocity is a problem, especially given that we’ve now seen it from him in three straight outings. This isn’t an argument about him needing to throw a third pitch. This is an argument that Singer at 91 MPH just isn’t good enough. He’s barely good enough at 92-93, if we’re being honest.

Nelson Velázquez has been showing some serious pop:

Velázquez’s 36 games are still a small sample, and it would be hard to ask him to sustain that kind of production. But it’s hard not to be impressed by his sheer strength — and what that strength could mean for the Royals in the future.

Velázquez’s ability to hit the ball to all fields — as illustrated by his three homers this week — gives the Royals a middle-of-the-lineup weapon. Even if he’s not launching home runs every day, he has the potential for gap-to-gap power, especially at The K.

“Power hitters, we normally want to pull the ball thinking that we can hit homers to the left field,” Velázquez said. “But we have to understand that we can hit homers anywhere. Right now, I’m trying to stay middle, and whatever happens, I’ll take it.”

Rustin Dodd breaks down the path to a Bobby Witt Jr. extension ($):

Witt’s representatives could happily point to Tatis (who accrued 6.2 WAR when accounting for the shortened season before the extension and 9.3 WAR over the previous two-plus) as a reasonable comp and push for something close. Tatis’ injury and subsequent PED suspension aside, the Padres’ guarantee of $340 million is more than four times the largest contract in Royals history—an $82 million extension for catcher Salvador Perez signed in 2021.

Instead, it’s best to start with the Guardians’ recent extension with Giménez, which offers a floor for Witt’s value. Witt is enjoying the same kind of breakout season that Giménez had last year (Giménez was at 6.3 WAR for the season going into the extension and 10.5 for his career, again accounting for 2020’s abbreviated season), while Witt will be almost a year younger entering next season than Giménez was at the time of his extension.

Witt could argue for a larger deal, though, because he plays shortstop, is likely to earn more in arbitration than Giménez because of his traditional counting stats, and has more prospect pedigree.

Kauffman Stadium will host a playoff game golf experience in early October.

David Schoenfield makes the case that the 2023 MLB season has been an all-time great. ($)

David Stearns has been in talks with the Mets and Astros about front office positions.

Shohei Ohtani is looking odd lately, maybe he’s just sick:

Miami starter Sandy Alcantara is headed to the IL with a flexor strain.

Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen is done for the season after suffering an Achilles injury.

Atlanta pitchers Michael Soroka and Collin McHugh are headed to the IL.

FanGraphs has a new Cy Young prediction tool. Shockingly, Jordan Lyles is not leading the way in the AL.

With the Chiefs kicking off the 2023 NFL season tonight, look back on some tales from Patrick Mahomes’s rookie season.

A whole batch of US Open updates as we near the Finals:

Arkansas State takes the top spot in the first iteration of the 2023 College Football Bottom 10.

If you didn’t already know this after last Saturday, Shedeur Sanders is legit.

Ten graphics that represent the record-breaking summer of 2023.

Your song of the day is Cry by Alison Wonderland and Buddy.