Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals Caravan is currently touring various cities around the region right now, and the whole thing caps off with FanFest this weekend at Bartle Hall in Kansas City. You can see the full list of participants in the Caravan here, and the FanFest schedule is here. I’ve never been to FanFest, but it’s a good opportunity to see the players away from the field to get a better feel for their personalities, which is nice. It’s also a great event because it means baseball is almost here, which means I’m starting to get way too excited for the mostly meaningless date when pitchers and catchers report. Despite the Royals taking up one month of the offseason with their playoff run, this winter seems like it’s taking forever to end. To help pass the time, here are some links to words written about the Royals.
– At Pine Tar Press, David Lesky suggests the Royals should strongly consider bringing James Shields back to Kansas City. Now that Shields’ market has thinned, he could be relatively affordable, and even a franchise-record free agent deal could be worked around with deferments and/or trades. It’s highly unlikely all five current starters outperform Shields in 2015, so adding him to the bunch would give the Royals another boost in the crowded division race. Even if it’s only a 2-win upgrade, that could be the difference between being AL Central champs and missing the postseason altogether.
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– Craig Brown of Royals Authority is working his way through the Royals’ player profiles, and the most recent entry is for Lorenzo Cain. We all know Cain had a great year in 2014, and the author does an excellent job breaking things down statistically to show specifically what helped the budding star to such success. While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the rest of the profiles on the site, as Brown has provided a ton of solid analysis on several other Royals from last year.
– The Royals have started previewing some of their stadium giveaways for 2015, and FOX Sports Kansas City’s Jeffrey Flanagan recaps a series of bobbleheads that Royals fans can collect next season. Salvador Perez‘s game-winning hit in the Wild Card game, Mike Moustakas‘ catch in the dugout suite, and Yordano Ventura‘s awesomeness will all be celebrated.
– It’s once again the magical time of year when scouting services release their prospect rankings, and both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America have posted their top 10 Royals prospects. MLB.com is working their way toward their top 100 list, and Jonathan Mayo wrote about the top 10 shortstop prospects in the minors, with Raul Mondesi checking in at number 7. Mayo notes that while the tools haven’t translated into eye-popping numbers yet, Mondesi is still very young and has plenty of time to develop into a star.
– Bill Petti wrote a great piece for The Hardball Times on how teams can best utilize analytics in an era when every team uses some type of statistical analysis to be competitive. Even though there is a lot of data to be broken down and used for future gain, the data itself must be reliable, and teams must make sure their processes for converting the data into insight are sound. Otherwise, it’s kind of a waste of time.