In the middle of another week without the KC Royals, baseball thoughts turn to some spring training statistics, simulation, Royals helping others, and Al Kaline.
Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while missing baseball but realizing there are more important things confronting us:
Spring training good for lesser-known hurlers. While fan and media attention focused on front-line starters and relievers, four KC Royals non-roster invitees posted excellent Cactus League performances.
Leading the way were right-handers Yunior Marte and Arnaldo Hernandez, who joined Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis, Richard Lovelady, Jake Newberry, Trevor Rosenthal and Josh Staumont as the eight KC pitchers who held opponents scoreless. Marte struck out seven in five innings spread over four games, had a save and posted an 0.80 WHIP. Hernandez struck out two in four games and limited opposing batters to .214.
Marte, a 25-year old starter-turned-reliever with a 29-30 record over seven professional seasons, pitched well at AA Northwest Arkansas last year. He was 3-3 with a 1.59 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 26.1 innings, but fell to 0-0, 6.15 in 23 games at AAA Omaha and is set to return there when baseball resumes.
Hernandez, 24, primarily a starter with a 35-23 record in six pro campaigns, pitched parts of the last three seasons at Omaha. Like Marte, he’s on Omaha’s 2020 roster.
Kalish, a left-hander and at 28 (29 later this season) the oldest of the four, made four Cactus League appearances and struck out four in 4.1 innings with a 2.08 ERA. He pitched five seasons for George Mason University before turning pro; he’s started and relieved in five minor league campaigns and has a 24-27 record with seven saves and a 3.77 ERA.
Right-hander Machado, 26 but entering his age 27 season, held hitters to .125/1.00 WHIP and had a 2.25 ERA in four spring appearances. He’s the only hurler in the group with major league experience–he gave up nine runs on 10 hits in two games for the KC Royals in September 2017. Machado is 18-33 with a 4.59 ERA in eight minor league seasons and is on Omaha’s roster.
KC Royals helping the community. Like Ewing and Muriel Kauffman and David Glass before him, it appears head man John Sherman will keep the Royals involved in helping the community when it needs it most. Sherman announced last week that the club will help pay for over a half-million meals to people who need them during the pandemic.
Baseball-Reference sim. As Kings of Kauffman’s David Scharff recently reported, the website baseball-reference.com is simulating the 2020 season using Out of the Park Baseball 21; results of each day’s games are generally posted by Noon. The KC Royals found themselves leading the AL Central after a 3-1 start, but are now in third at 5-5, 2.5 games behind first-place Chicago and a half-game behind Cleveland.
Statistically, two Royals appear recovered from injury and surgery: Adalberto Mondesi leads the club with a .409 average and five stolen bases and shares the lead in home runs (three) with Hunter Dozier. Salvador Perez is hitting .361 with two homers and eight RBIs.
The Yankees and A’s lead the AL East and West. Miami (yes, Miami) is ahead in the NL East; St. Louis leads the NL Central, but only by a game over the Cubs, Pirates, Brewers, and Reds who all have 6-5 records. The Dodgers top Arizona by a half game in the West.
Al Kaline. I was saddened Monday to learn Detroit great and Hall of Famer Al Kaline died at 85. At the same time, I’m fortunate and thankful to have seen him play in the prime of his career when the Tigers visited old Municipal Stadium to play the Kansas City A’s; although I don’t remember who won (probably Detroit, considering the state of the A’s throughout their KC days), my memory of Kaline is distinct. He was a great talent and carried himself with grace and poise.
His passing made me wonder how he fared against the Royals, who he faced from the club’s 1969 inaugural season until he retired after the ’74 campaign. Kaline didn’t dominate Kansas City pitching–in 56 games he hit just .254 against the Royals, a remarkable 43 points below his career .297, and clubbed three of his 399 home runs.
To attribute the whole of Kaline’s pedestrian stats against the Royals to playing them late in his 22-year career would be inaccurate–although he hit only .255 and .262 against everyone in his last two seasons, he hit .272, .278, .294 and .313 from 1969-72.
Kaline was a long-time Tiger broadcaster. Elected to the Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible, he will be missed.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek Musings. Until then, be safe and stay healthy.