This week’s “KC Royals Midweek Musings” ponders efforts to restart baseball, the upcoming draft, how former Royals are faring in the KBO and a simulation update.
Some KC Royals Midweek Musings while waiting to see if baseball and the players can resolve their differences and clear health and safety hurdles in time to start a 2020 season:
The startup situation. Still abuzz in the baseball world is rampant speculation that Major League Baseball wants to reopen spring training around June 10 and start a shortened season in July. The league presented the Major League Baseball Players Association proposed health and safety requirements a few days ago.
A perusal of various Internet sources reveals MLB proposed some already-anticipated measures, including 50-man player pools for each club, with a smaller number active for each game; non-active members of those pools must social distance in the stands. Non-players allowed in dugouts, such as managers and coaches, must wear masks; base coaches will be discouraged from talking to players (watch for increased and more complicated hand signals); and much unnecessary physical contact, such as handshakes and high-fives, will be discouraged.
Mascots won’t be allowed in the ballparks (I, for one, can live with that); electronically-submitted lineup cards will replace the traditional pregame home plate exchange; and players will have personal, rather than communal, pine tar rags and rosin bags.
Players will be subjected to frequent testing and temperature checks.
As of this writing, management and the union continue to fire public shots over each other’s bows concerning player pay–the clubs claim the parties haven’t agreed how players will be paid for fanless games, while the players contend that issue was decided long ago. With some states reopening and some governors beginning to support games without fans, 2020 baseball might be within reach; let’s hope owners and players don’t scuttle the season over money, a result that could turn more fans away from the game than did the 1994-95 strike.
Former Royals in the KBO. Aaron Brooks and Ben Lively both pitched for the Royals and now earn their livings in the Korean Baseball Organization League. Each had three starts through Tuesday’s games.
Lively pitches for the Samsung Lions and is 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA. He’s given up eight runs in 13 innings and hit three batters. Brooks is with the KIA Tigers and is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and good control–he hasn’t walked anyone in 18 innings and has 17 strikeouts.
Draft update. Last week’s Musings mentioned MLB’s plan to hold its annual amateur draft, now reduced to just five rounds for at least this year, in June. It’s now been scheduled for June 10-11 and will be virtual. The Royals have the fourth overall pick. The MLB Network will televise both sessions.
Simulation update. Baseball-Reference’s simulated 2020 season continues and the virtual KC Royals remain well behind in the American League Central race. The Royals beat the Angels 2-1 in Tuesday’s game but, through that day’s contests, are 19-29 and trail first place Cleveland by 13 games. Brad Keller pitched 7.2 innings to get his second win and Ian Kennedy earned his 10th save. Back-to-back second-inning solo home runs by Ryan O’Hearn and Brett Phillips made the difference.
Statistically, Whit Merrifield is still the only Royal hitting above .300; his .309 leads the club but Adalberto Mondesi, whose eight home runs are KC’s best, is up to .299.
Jorge Lopez has been stuck at 5-1 but those five wins continue to pace the Royals, while Danny Duffy is now 3-5.
Joining the Indians as division leaders are the Yankees, Mariners, Braves, Cardinals, and Dodgers.
The baseball-reference.com sim utilizes Out of the Park Baseball 21 and is updated daily around Noon.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with more KC Royals Midweek Musings. Until then, stay safe and healthy.