Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It is now September 3, and the Royals are still in first place. This is a strange, exciting, and terrifying feeling. Each game feels more important than the last, so seeing the team grab a one-run win without using their three best relievers was a lot of fun. And by “fun,” I of course mean “stomach-churning anxiety.” In all seriousness, I hope you’re enjoying these games as much as I am. I look forward to each one, knowing that just about anything could happen. I’m sure this month will be filled with all sorts of emotional instability, but I’ve been told it’s worth it. Let’s get to some links.
– At FanGraphs, Jeff Zimmerman wrote about Alex Gordon‘s defense, and how his outstanding defensive metrics are a reflection of the quality (or lack thereof) of left field defense across the league. Many people are skeptical of defensive statistics, and even though they may slightly overrate Gordon’s defense, it’s clear he’s elite, and the numbers do have a basis in reality. The Royals have a fly ball pitching staff, which has given Gordon more opportunities, and if there are fewer good defenders at his position, it makes sense to rate Gordon so highly.
– Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has a great piece on Tim Grimes, a hardcore Royals fan who was recently diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Grimes’ odds of surviving the next 18 months are around 5%, but he hasn’t let that deter him from living his life to the fullest now. Thanks to his friends, and social media, fund-raising efforts are underway, including a Twitter account that encourages other Royals fans to donate $10 for every win. My words can’t summarize this story well enough, so just read it. It’s well worth your time.
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– Royals Authority’s Clark Fosler breaks down the acquisition of Jayson Nix, and how bringing him into the fold isn’t a bad idea, as long as he’s used appropriately. Nix offers quite a bit of versatility defensively, and there is no guarantee he’ll be on the Royals’ playoff roster, if they do reach that point.
– This is a report from a little longer ago, but Baseball Prospectus has a scouting report from CJ Wittman on Raul Mondesi, and it’s very flattering for the young shortstop. Mondesi appears to have made some mechanical adjustments at the plate during the season, again showing why he’s thought of so highly by the organization and by scouts around the league. I’m incredibly excited for Mondesi to get some time in the Arizona Fall League before jumping up to Double-A next season.
– Also in prospect news, Dan Weigel wrote a glowing scouting report for Minor League Ball on Miguel Almonte. Almonte showed off some of his best stuff for this viewing, and Weigel came away very impressed. Almonte will be joining Mondesi in the Arizona Fall League, and likely in Northwest Arkansas in the spring.
– Former player Gabe Kapler wrote a post on FOX Sports’ Just A Bit Outside blog about how difficult it can be for a batter to hit the ball to a certain spot of the field. With defensive shifts becoming more widespread around the league, many fans have wondered why players like Mike Moustakas don’t just hit the ball to the left side. Kapler points out that pitchers are not pitching machines, and executing something like that in a game is harder than it looks.