The nice thing about yesterday’s off-day was that it gave the Royals a chance to rest before heading into an important stretch of the schedule, and a day off is particularly critical to someone like Salvador Perez. The bad thing about yesterday’s off-day was that the Royals didn’t play baseball, which is something they’ve done kind of well recently. Now they’re going to play a two-game series before getting another day off. This is your regular reminder that two-game series are dumb and pointless. Let’s now take a look at some things written about the Royals that are not dumb and pointless.
- The Royals recalled Donnie Joseph and optioned Wilking Rodriguez yesterday so they could have an extra left-handed reliever before the series against the Indians, as Andy McCullough notes here. The top 3 hitters for the Indians are lefties – including Lonnie Chisenhall, who’s having some sort of out-of-body experience this season – so it makes sense to stack the bullpen for late-inning matchups. Then again, Joseph has an extreme reverse platoon split this season, so perhaps Ned Yost is forcing the Indians to play right into his hands. The man’s a genius.
- Shaun Newkirk from Royals Review has a nice breakdown on all of the Royals’ draft picks from last weekend, along with some notes from scouting reports on a few of the more prominent future farmhands. It seems like many informed people like what the organization was able to do with their picks.
- Speaking of the draft, the Royals were apparently considering drafting Johnny Manziel before the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback was selected by the Padres in the 28th round, according to a report from FOX Sports Kansas City’s Jeffrey Flanagan. While I understand the idea behind drafting a project with athletic talent, this whole situation shows why the MLB Draft is several rounds too long. Manziel hasn’t played baseball since high school, and his draft spot took a potential signing bonus away from other players who may not have the same opportunity. It’s silly, and there’s really no reason for it.
- Over at Royals Authority, Craig Brown suggests it’s time for the Royals to shake up their lineup. Their best hitters are currently hitting 5th and 7th, while the 3 guys at the top of the order are all in terrible slumps. Obviously a bad lineup is going to have a few black holes, but Yost would be wise to mitigate those problems by getting Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain more at-bats.
- Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs wrote a fascinating piece on the dramatic increase of infield shift usage, along with hitters’ relative success on ground balls. Contrary to what one may expect, shifts haven’t resulted in lower batting averages on grounders, which then makes one question how effective the shift really is. I would suggest the shift isn’t solely about creating more outs, but also as a way to make the hitter adjust his approach. It’s a very interesting discussion to have.