Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
As far as made-up holidays in mid-February go, Pitchers and Catchers Report Day is by far the best. But much like the other holidays, this day doesn’t really mean anything. Sure, it signifies the start of Spring Training, but many players have been in camp for over a week already. So it’s just a day that weird people like me celebrate for no real reason. To be honest, I’m kind of surprised Hallmark doesn’t have a Welcome Back, Baseball! section in their stores. Suckers like me would buy the heck out of that stuff. Anyway, here are some links.
– Kiley McDaniel posted his top 200 prospects list at FanGraphs, and 7 different Royals are on the list. McDaniel focuses on future value grades and sorts players by tiers, so the individual rankings aren’t as important, but he has Sean Manaea as the top-ranked Royals farmhand, followed by Brandon Finnegan, Raul Mondesi, Kyle Zimmer, Miguel Almonte, Hunter Dozier, and Jorge Bonifacio. Brief – but free – scouting reports are listed for the prospects.
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– Speaking of prospects, Baseball Prospectus released their organizational rankings, and the Royals checked in at 14th. The farm system doesn’t really have any elite-level guys right now, but they do have enough depth in the minors to eventually make an impact. BP also tabs Northwest Arkansas as the Royals’ best affiliate to see this summer.
– David Lesky of Pine Tar Press suggests that while the projections for the Royals seem – and probably are – low, it’s important to not dismiss them right away. The Royals do have question marks this year, and it isn’t that hard to envision a scenario in which they end up fighting for .500, instead of for a playoff berth.
– MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan makes his prediction for what the Royals’ lineup and starting rotation will look like in 2015, and he’s thinking Ned Yost will go with Alcides Escobar at leadoff, followed by Alex Rios, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Kendrys Morales, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante, and Mike Moustakas. It’s obviously just one man’s guess, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that’s not the best lineup possible. There will be plenty of time for hand-wringing over lineup order in the coming weeks, though.
– Even though the 2015 season hasn’t started yet, it’s not too early to start looking to the 2016 offseason. MLB Trade Rumors ranks the top 10 free agents for next winter, and holy cow, that class is stacked. Obviously players may sign extensions before then, but I count at least 6 players who could be in line for $150 million or more. It should be a lot of fun to watch.