Bombs, Graphs and Winning over Fans


Waiting for the Royals first spring game seems like an eternity. To pass the time, various members of the Kansas City media are in Surprise for spring training and sending updates along. With battles for a spot in a deep bullpen and a much-discussed starting rotation, it’s almost enough to keep a fan from getting impatient.


Until then, we’re stuck with updates.

The Royals did announce their pitching groups heading into the first spring game against Texas. According to Bob Dutton, they are as follows:

  1. Sunday vs. Texas: Luis Mendoza and Sean O’Sullivan are scheduled for two innings each, with Vin Mazzaro, Nate Adcock, Tommy Hottovy and Kelvin Herrera behind them.
  2. Monday vs. Texas: Bruce Chen and Mike Montgomery go two innings, followed by Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Blake Wood, Chris Dwyer and Jeremy Jeffress.
  3. Tuesday vs. San Diego (SS): Luke Hochevar and Jake Odorizzi get the two inning stints, then Joakim Soria, Greg Holland, and Jose Mijares step in.
  4. Tuesday vs. Cleveland: Will Smith starts for two innings, then Zach Miner gets two. Noel Arguelles, Brandon Sisk and Francisley Bueno finish up.

If I were to try to read between the lines, the middle two groups contain more names that one would expect to break camp. Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and Jonathan Sanchez aren’t mentioned by Dutton. Neither are Aaron Crow, Ryan Verdugo, Everett Teaford and Jonathan Broxton.

Of course, many eyes will be on the potential starters, particularly Montgomery. Maybe he won’t break camp with the team, but a strong spring would be encouraging after a rough 2011.

On the offensive side, Sam Mellinger witnessed the power of Eric Hosmer first hand. Apparently during batting practice, Hosmer went the other way, driving the ball out of the park and to the fence on the other side of the complex. For demonstration’s sake, a Twitter follower looked up the complex address and found an overhead shot on Google maps.

ESPN had a couple of interesting heat maps regarding Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez. Gordon’s demonstrates how he improved hitting the ball on the outer half of the plate against lefties. It focuses on offspeed pitches – and it’s an area where Gordon saw solid improvement.

Perez’s graph suggests that he had some luck on swings on pitches out of the zone. The article compares him to free swingers like Vladimir Guerrero and Pablo Sandoval. Perez has good bat control and is noted for a solid two-strike approach through his development, so it may be something he can sustain.

Finally, Danny Duffy won some friends on Twitter last night. At one point, he tweeted out what is being picked up as a motto – “Bury Me a Royal” – a testament to his excitement and devotion. A Phoenix radio host took the liberty of taking a shot at the Royals small-market ways and Duffy fired right back:

Now who’s ready for some baseball?

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