A mixture of my opinions along with links from other quality baseball sources.
Changing the Message – The Royals front office has changed their tune this spring in regards to expectations of the players at the top and even towards the bottom of the organization. Â For years we have heard about development, being patient and remembering these guys were young. Â That song has changed from Ned Yost telling the media that he has to remind himself these guys or no longer kids and that he expects to win as do the players. Â It isn’t just at the major league level either as J.J. Picollo said a somewhat surprising statement about Bubba Starling while making an appearance on The Program with Soren Petro.
We understand that he had alot of football and not as much baseball as most of the kids that we signed prior to him in that type of pick but that’s three or four years ago now. Â He’s had those years to play and be a baseball player, I think this year is a big year to see what kind of strides he can make.
This quote shows the Royals staff isn’t waiting around for development of some of these guys, if they are to achieve in this organization then this is the year they are going to have to step forward. Â Listen to more of the interview here.
Sliding Duffy – I wrote about Duffy throwing his change up more when he came back from Tommy John last year but that isn’t the only change Duffy seems to showing in his arsenal after tossing 6 sliders out of 37 pitches on Thursday. Â Checkout more on this from Michael Engel at RoyalsPodcast.com.
Pitch to Contact vs Swing and Miss – The Royals and Tigers will face off this year with quite different rotations ,at least at the start of the season. Â The Royals rotation will lean heavily on their defense flagging down balls with heavy contact pitchers Jeremy Guthrie, Bruce Chen and Jason Vargas all in the rotation while the Tigers will be fronted by Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez. Â The two staffs couldn’t be much different with the three big Tigers hovering at over 9 K per 9 and the three soft tossing Royals in the high 5 per 9 range. Â Considering the six starters that we are talking about average roughly 6.35 innings per start we are talking a difference of about 3-4 outs per game via strikeout. Â Of course I’m leaving out James Shields and Rick Porcello in this equation but their K rates were separated by just a 1/2 of a K per 9. Â That leaves us with the questions can the Royals defense and bullpen be 3-4 outs better than the Tigers? Â That is hard to quantify but considering the Tigers offense is better than the Royals and they have also closed the gap considerably in the bullpen and defensively this offseason, the gap between the two teams could be larger than we expect. Â Lets hope the Royals trimmed the deficit offensively and their addition of a swing and miss Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer is enough to overtake the Tigers.
Need a Butler for Life?Â - Jeffrey Flanagan mentioned this as a possibility on our last podcast. Â That is shocking to hear after multiple years of trade rumors. Â Despite what fans believe this isn’t such a bad idea IF Dayton and Billy could come to an agreement that makes sense for both parties. Â Considering the DH market is seemingly at an all time low (Kendrys Morales) and more and more teams are getting away from carrying a full time DH I doubt the two sides could find an agreed upon contract. Â The front office could be asking this question very shortly about both Alex and Billy.
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