Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
In just two weeks, the Royals will be playing a real, live baseball game in Detroit. Because spring training feels like it’s taking forever to end, these two weeks will probably continue to drag on, but in the meantime, there will be some Royals baseball to watch. Tonight, the Royals’ spring training game against the Rangers will air on FOX Sports Kansas City at 8:00 pm (CDT), with Royals Live starting at 7:30. In even better news, Yordano Ventura will be making the start, which means we get to watch him throw lots and lots of fire. Let’s get to some links.
– Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star wrote about the importance of Wade Davis to the Royals’ bullpen this season. With Luke Hochevar out for the year, Davis appears to be Ned Yost‘s primary choice for the 8th inning role, although there are obviously other candidates in that incredibly deep bullpen.
– KC Kingdom’s Aaron Reese graded the Royals’ signing of Omar Infante, and he suggests that the fact that Infante is replacing Chris Getz has to make the move a great one. As long as Infante provides the average production he’s certainly capable of, the Royals should receive good value for the contract, even if that 4th year isn’t terribly attractive.
– From Grading on the Curve, Shaun Kernahan gives a report on what he saw from Sean Manaea last week. This report echoed what other scouts had seen: a fastball sitting 93-94 MPH, a solid slider, and kind of funky mechanics. Kernahan didn’t get a great look at Manaea’s changeup, which is a pitch some are saying is his best secondary offering.
– In other minor league news, the Royals traded infielder Brandon Laird to the Nationals over the weekend. The team will receive a player to be named or cash in exchange for Laird, who had a .928 OPS in 15 plate appearances while in big league camp this spring.
– At The Hardball Times, Jeff Zimmerman discussed the impact of a player’s speed on his power, specifically his isolated slugging percentage. Zimmerman uses the Royals’ Billy Butler as an example, along with Ben Zobrist, to prove something that we probably realized without every really thinking about. Fast players can turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples, which in turn improves their slugging percentage. The author then comes up with a model to essentially adjust a player’s ISO by using his speed rating.
– Also at The Hardball Times, there was a piece written by Eno Sarris on the language of baseball, and how it can be difficult for a sabermetrically-inclined journalist to fit in in a clubhouse filled with baseball players who have more of an “old school” mentality. In particular, Sarris dealt with some very rude comments from Royals players, including Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. David Lesky, who was able to visit the clubhouse while in Surprise a couple weeks ago, told me those guys were nothing but nice to him, so hopefully this episode with Sarris was more of a one-time thing, because they definitely are not portrayed in a positive light in that linked post.