Let’s Base Ball.
Royals Rumblings – News for April 1, 2021
Anne Rogers writes that Adalberto Mondesi felt something “minor” in his game on Monday, and the team sidelined him out of caution.
“Going in and talking to him today, he felt so dejected — the fact that he was going to be a big part of what we were doing [the] first day,” Matheny said. “But we all know things happen and we’re going to have to pivot. That’s just part of this game.”
The move is retroactive to Tuesday, but Matheny said Mondesi’s recovery could take “at least a couple weeks.” He is in Kansas City and is shut down from most activity for now.
She also answers FAQ about Opening Day and the first series against the Rangers.
Lynn Worthy also writes that the vibe around the team is all about winning now.
“Winning is a habit,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of his team’s spring training success. “From Day One, we want to win. I love getting to the end of those days and knowing somebody is going to do something big. …
“Only because a number of us have been in that situation where you can’t help it, because you’ve been kicked so many times and have so few good results that you fight it, but you can’t help but anticipate things going in the wrong direction. And that’s a bad place to be. That’s why we make a big deal about wins, whether they’re spring training or they’re out on the back fields. It doesn’t matter.”
Alec Lewis looks into why the Royals felt comfortable keeping Kyle Isbel on the roster.
Isbel would tally a 4-for-4 day with a home run against a big-league pitcher and arrive at the ballpark the next day almost unfazed about what he had done. He’d then strike out twice in the next game and arrive the next day with his facial expression and focus exactly the same.
Royals officials observed a similar response when they reassigned Isbell to minor-league camp a couple of weeks ago. There were no eye rolls. No questions as to why. No voicing of frustration.
To tell Kyle Isbel he would be making his MLB debut, Matheny called in Royals director of hitting performance Alec Zumwalt.
Zumwalt, Isbel and a ton of the hitting prospects have really tight relationships. Zumwalt told Isbel the news.
“It was really cool,” Matheny said.
— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) March 31, 2021
Lewis also has a great profile of Greg Holland that goes back to the day he tried out for his college team as a freshman.
Vahe Gregorian writes that Andrew Benintendi could benefit from getting back to his game.
Trying to hit for more power, he knows now, “was a bad idea for me.”
“I’m obviously not a huge guy,” said Benintendi, who calls himself 5-foot-9, 175 pounds. “So I think now that I kind of realize the player I am, I’ll run into a few but I’ll just be trying to hit the gaps and run.”
In a Royals-heavy Mellinger Minutes, Sam notes a change in how the Royals are operating.
Because think about what the Royals are telling you. They thought long and hard about jumping Bobby Witt Jr. from 37 games of Rookie League to the opening day roster. The reason they didn’t, essentially, was because they didn’t think he was ready to play regular big league second base.
Now they are signaling that Isbel will be the opening day right fielder, with Whit Merrifield playing his more natural second base, and the message is pretty clear:
The Royals are thinking about winning and nothing else.
Because they’ve been in spots where they might try to ride it out with Lopez at second base. They’d talk themselves into his (legitimately terrific) defense and character and say they need to give him time.
That’s all gone now.
Eric Longenhagen at Fangraphs gives his scouting report on Isbel from spring training.
Isbel is not a traditional burner but has viable center field instincts, and while he doesn’t have prototypical corner outfield power, he does have above-average feel for contact, gap-to-gap pop, and will hit 18-ish pull-side jacks. For now he’ll be a fitting platoon partner for both Taylor and McBroom, representing a defensive upgrade for one and a left-on-right situational upgrade for both, and he makes sense to start in center when the opposing starter is a righty and Brad Keller or Brady Singer go for the Royals.
Dan Szymborski at Fangraphs has ZIPS projections out with the Royals at 77 wins.
The Royals have a fun team, and it’s nice to see a team, you know, trying to win baseball games even though it isn’t very good. But from a cold, hard, numbers standpoint, the odds are still against Kansas City. Most of the name players added have a significant caveat: Andrew Benintendi’s coming off an awful injury year; Carlos Santana will be 35 and was dreadful in 2020; Michael A. Taylor is basically a fifth outfielder. The rotation has a lot of promise, but most of the offense is on the wrong side of 27. Kyle Isbel is one of the exceptions to that, but great spring aside, the last time he played professional baseball, he was dominated by High-A pitchers.
David Lesky at Inside the Crown has six numbers to watch for with the Royals this year.
Craig Brown at Into the Fountains gives his bold predictions for the season.
Put Ned Yost in your ear holes!
NED ON THE RADIO
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) March 31, 2021
The Kansas City/Cleveland game on Monday, April 5 will air on ESPN at 3 p.m. CT.
Dayton Moore’s son, a sophomore at Arkansas, hit for the cycle.
Francisco Lindor signs a 10-year, $341 million deal with the Mets.
Five Nationals players will miss the start of the season after one positive COVID-19 test.
After looking at spring training data, Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur think the new ball is still juiced.
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Umpire Angel Hernandez loses his racial discrimination case against MLB.
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More and more Americans say they will get vaccinated, but it is unclear how many will.
Your song of the day is The Jam with Start.