Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
This Royals team is nothing if not unpredictable. After starting off the second half with a sweep at the hands of the lowly Red Sox, they’ve rebounded to win four consecutive series, including the most recent one against the best team in baseball, on the road. The A’s hadn’t lost a home series since early May, and Jeremy Guthrie, Raul Ibanez, and Christian Colon helped take two out of three from them.
Now they head to Arizona to face a bad Diamondbacks squad, but based upon the Royals’ season so far, they’re probably as likely to be swept as they are to win the series. Literally anything could happen in this series, and I would not be surprised. Ok, so maybe not anything. If a troop of monkeys were to parachute into the stadium and land in the pool at Chase Field, that would be surprising. And also really, really cool. Anyway, here are some links.
– Nathaniel Stoltz of FanGraphs wrote a great breakdown of several Royals prospects at rookie-level Burlington, including 2014 draft picks Chase Vallot and Scott Blewett. Vallot is still pretty rough behind the plate, but at 17 years old, the offensive talent is there. Blewett also needs some work, but Stoltz came away very impressed. Another fun note: the Royals have a 6’11” pitcher named Cole Way, and he does have some potential.
– The Kansas City Star has an excellent article from Sam Mellinger on the Royals Academy. It was such an innovative strategy implemented by Ewing Kauffman back in 1970, and that development center helped create Frank White‘s Royals Hall of Fame career. Several other big leaguers owe their success to the Academy, and some of the processes used there were stunningly ahead of the curve.
– Some of you may have already seen this, but the Royals will have a fan in town for the next week who has come a very long way just to see his favorite team. Sung Woo Lee is coming to Kansas City, and Pine Tar Press’ Chris Kamler, along with other Royals fans, have a fun week of events planned for him on his first trip away from South Korea. I’m very sad that I won’t be able to join in welcoming Sung Woo to Kansas City, but I hope each and every one of you in the area can help make this trip a memorable one for a guy who is as dedicated to being a Royals fan as one can possibly be.
– As Jeffrey Flanagan notes in this article on FOX Sports Kansas City, the Royals have had internal discussions about moving Hunter Dozier to another position, possibly right field, if he develops quickly. The organization seems to have enough faith in Mike Moustakas (probably too much faith) to think Dozier should be shifted elsewhere in order to get the latter’s bat to the big leagues. While I like the idea of giving Dozier versatility, giving Moose a longer leash is not what the Royals should be doing, based upon the 1,812 plate appearances he has accumulated thus far.
– Over at The Hardball Times, Neil Weinberg has a terrific piece on perfect games, and what makes them special. He recounts a few different stories that really capture how incredible that moment of perfection can be, even if it doesn’t actually hold any long-term significance. Those moments are so rare, and they can happen to basically any pitcher, on any given day. A lot has to go right, but when it does, it’s a joy to see.