Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Links: Sung Woo Magic, Billy Butler, Historic Defense, & More

Baseball is a really fun game, and it becomes even more fun when the Royals are winning. It just so happens that the Royals have been winning a lot of games recently – 16 of their last 19, to be precise – so what I’m saying is watching baseball is insanely fun right now. I’m sure the Royals will lose a game at some point (won’t they?) but even if/when that happens, they’ve played themselves into a great position, and they’re playing extremely meaningful baseball games in mid-August. Their first playoff berth since 1985 is within their grasp, as long as they continue to play quality baseball. Let’s get to some links from the last several days.

– I wanted to link you to a really great story about Sung Woo Lee’s visit to Kansas City, but there are far too many from which to choose just one. Rany Jazayerli wrote a very nice post on not just Sung Woo, but also the team’s recent hot streak. On the Royals’ team site, Jackson Alexander has an article on Sung Woo’s first pitch last night, and the experience overall. Pine Tar Press’ Chris Kamler posted this story on Sung Woo hanging the “W” on the Royals Hall of Fame following the team’s 8th straight win. As I said on Twitter last night, that moment of pure, unadulterated joy is what makes this game, and this team, so amazing.

This entire week has been so unbelievable, and I could not be more proud of the Royals’ organization, the fanbase, and the Kansas City community.

Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs writes that this year’s version of the Royals is almost an exact replica of last year’s version, and that their elite defense is the key to their success. According to several defensive metrics, the Royals are on pace for a historically great defensive season, and there is no question that players like Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson, and Lorenzo Cain have been immensely important to the pitching staff this year.

– At FOX Sports Kansas City, Jeffrey Flanagan tells us that Billy Butler would consider renegotiating his contract in an effort to stay in Kansas City past this season. I’ll probably write about this in more detail sometime soon, but if true, I see it as pretty big news. I would love to see Butler in a Royals’ uniform for many years to come, so it would be hard to see him walk away, if the team can make the money work.

Royals Review’s Max Rieper wrote about how far the Royals have come since Dayton Moore took over in 2006. That team was an unmitigated disaster, to put it nicely, and while it’s taken far longer than it probably could have, the Royals are undoubtedly in a better position now. That position, for at least a few more hours, is first place in the division.

Alan Siegel of FiveThirtyEight has a very interesting article on the 2-8 scouting scale, and how it is used around baseball. The author discusses strengths and weaknesses of the scale, and there’s a lot of fascinating information about a side of the game that holds a lot of value to many organizations around the league. Scouting a box score can only do so much, but having objective standards to grade prospects is incredibly important in the evaluation process.

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