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Royals Rumblings - News for January 18, 2024

This is one of the only photos from LIDOM I can use, and it’s from 2005.

BYRNES_009_CAG.JPG Former teammates, Miguel Tejada, and Eric Byrnes are now part of the biggest rivalry in the winter leagues. The Aguilas and Tigres have been compared to the Yankees and Red Sox of the Dominican Republic. Oakland Athletics’s outfie Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

David Lesky at Inside the Crown evaluates the other teams in the AL Central:

As I said at the top, this exercise is not to show that the Royals are great, but that the AL Central is mediocre and winnable. It’s a high-level view of the other teams and showing that they are as flawed as anybody. Assuming the White Sox are the worst team in the division without question, I really see about a 12-15 win gap between the best team and the fourth-best team. Let’s call it 15 and do some calendar math. If you think the Twins are an 87-win team and the Royals are a 72-win team, and they luck into an extra two wins a month while the Twins luck into an extra loss every month, suddenly the Royals are at 84 wins and the Twins are at 81. Two wins a month seems like nothing. Maybe the Royals make another addition and end up a 75-win true talent club while the Twins trade away Polanco and drop to 85.

The Royals Reporter Kevin O’Brien highlights four under-the-radar position prospects to watch this year:

Figueroa started slow last year in the Complex League with the Dodgers but he was on fire when he moved to Surprise to play with the Royals complex league team.

In 11 games and 44 plate appearances, he slashed .571/.659/1.029 which included three home runs and 14 runs scored. For context, his wRC+ was 296 with the Royals, a major upgrade from the 96 wRC+ he posted in 113 plate appearances with the Dodgers’ complex league squad.

Even though his numbers with the Dodgers last year weren’t eye-popping, when put together with his Royals numbers, they look much more impressive, as I mentioned in a Tweet yesterday.

It’s time for the last full winter-ball Royals roundup as most leagues are getting to the end of the line, beginning with LIDOM:

  • Dairon Blanco started four games in left field this week and went 4-15 with a walk and three stolen bases. He is hitting .327/.383/.509 in postseason play. The last semifinal games are tonight and it seems very likely that Estrellas will be playing in the finals.

Moving over to the Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP):

  • Maikel García had a hot week, playing six games and going 12-28 with a couple doubles and walks. He is hitting .306/.370/.388 in postseason play. The semifinal round robin goes until Sunday and Tiburones are well ahead of the pack.
  • Freddy Fermin played in five games this week and went 3-20 with a triple and two walks. He is hitting .222/.300/.417 in postseason play. Leones are in a dogfight for a spot in the finals.

Going across the Caribbean to the Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC):

  • Nelson Velázquez went 4-13 with a homer, a double, and three walks in four games this week. He is hitting .308/.438/.615 in the finals, where Criollos is tied 2-2 with Gigantes de Carolina in the best-of-seven series.

Finally, to the Australian Baseball League (ABL):

  • Jack Pineda drew four starts at shortstop and went 4-14 with two doubles. In 120 plate appearances, he has hit .232/.303/.315.
  • Milo Rushford played thrice in left field, going 0-7 with two walks. In 127 plate appearances, he has hit .177/.333/.294.
  • Hyungchan Um made four starts behind the plate and went 5-14 with a double. He is hitting .248/.266/.330 in 113 plate appearances.

There is one week remaining in the ABL regular season before the semifinals, which Brisbane Bandits have secured a spot in.

The Royals have officially come to terms with their international prospects:

Frank White will decide today whether to support or veto an ordinance to put a stadium sales tax on the April ballot.

Jacob Roy at Over the Monster writes up Daniel Lynch IV as a potential trade target for the Red Sox.

Roght-handed pitcher Yariel Rodríguez is signing a four-year deal with Toronto.

Right-handed pitcher Austin Voth is signing a one-year deal with Seattle.

Houston right-handed pitcher Kendall Graveman underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the 2024 season.

José Ramírez is perhaps baseball’s most atypical superstar.

When did the “innings-eater” become endangered, and can they make a comeback?

D1Baseball has released their preseason Top 25. Not a lot of local representation, but Iowa ranks #20 and Kansas State at #24.

Philadelphia Eagles legend and Taylor’s boyfriend’s brother Jason Kelce is hanging it up.

The Toronto Raptors are trading two-time All-NBA wing Pascal Siakam to Indiana.

The “science of reading,” which emphasizes phonics, has become the most widespread method of teaching children to read.

Move over Austin, Boise is on the rise as a destination city for tech workers leaving California.

Multiverse sagas in TV and film are increasingly falling out of favor with audiences.

School your kids, siblings, friends, or anybody else in Connect 4 with these strategies.

Your song of the day is Luv Me A Little by ILLENIUM and Nina Nesbitt.