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Long Live The Process

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This winter has felt especially long.  But finally, after four and a half months without Royals baseball, the team is set to check into Surprise this afternoon as the first wave – the pitchers and catchers – report for duty.

While there are always a number of positional battles in every camp, I think the attention will be mostly on the pitchers – specifically the relief corps.  There are a ton of young arms on the roster, and a number of those young arms will be expected to contribute meaningful (for the Royals) innings this summer.

Of course, it is spring training, so any feelings of enthusiasm or optimism you may have should be tempered by the reality that March stats and performance should be taken ever so lightly.  Remember Aaron Crow and his spring from a year ago.  Then counter that with his regular season.  Ying and yang.  It happens.

Still, this is one of the best days of the year, if only because we are one step closer to meaningful baseball.

With that in mind, what positional battles are you looking forward to this spring?  What young arms will you be watching?


Just in case you missed it, yesterday Nick and I took over the main Sweet Spot blog on the baseball page at ESPN.

Nick led off with a look at the Jackie Robinson Award.

Then I followed with my take on the possibility Albert Pujols crosses the state to play for the Royals.  I also wrote about the late Chuck Tanner and how he arrived in Pittsburgh.

If you’re hungry for more baseball coverage, check those out.

Sometimes the bullets come on the weekends, sometimes they come on a Wednesday.  I’m unpredictable like that.  If you are like me, you scour the internet for hours on end looking for interesting articles and tidbits relating to the Kansas City Royals.  If you are unlike me and have a much better way to spend your free-time, then just let me do the work for you.  I’ve scoured the entire interbots for you to bring you these bullets and links.  Enjoy

  • I’ve heard entirely too much about how many double plays Billy Butler has grounded into.  The bottom line is that it really isn’t a big deal.  First, here is the list of players who hit into the most double plays in the MLB in 2010:
  1. Billy Butler
  2. Michael Cuddyer
  3. Pablo Sandoval
  4. Adrian Beltre
  5. Albert Pujols
  6. Derrick Lee
  7. Ty Wiggington
  8. Torii Hunter
  9. Derek Jeter

It’s pretty darn good company.  With runners on 1st and less than 1 out Billy Butler had a .950 OPS, Albert Pujols had a .901.  Butler is slow, puts the ball into play a lot and plays for a team with a bunch of singles hitters.  It’s a perfect recipe for hitting into a ton of double plays.  It’s really not a big deal.

  • Matt Eddy at Baseball America has all of the minor league transactions for the past week.  The Royals re-signed Luis Mendoza, Cody Clark and Jamie Romak.  Nothing really surprising there.  Romak had a fantastic Pan Am Qualifying tournament where he was named tournament MVP.  The Royals have had an odd fascination with Luis Mendoza since obtaining him from the Rangers, I’ve never got it.
  • I-70 Baseball has been doing an epic retrospective on the 1985 World Series in honor of the 25th anniversary.  I contributed an article on Dick Howser’s use rather non-use of Dan Quisenberry in Game 2.  There are a bunch of articles, check them out.
  • I’ve read some things mentioning that Zack Greinke’s no-trade clause includes most of the big market teams.  This is pretty standard and it doesn’t mean he can’t get traded there.  Players usually put the big-market teams on their no-trade list because those teams have money to spend and the player can use his clause to get leverage and force the team to pick up options he has in his contract.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win or that he is scared of big markets.
  • Rustin Dodd over at the Kansas City Star’s Ball Star blog tells the story of Ian Kinsler who played at Mizzou and now is playing in the World Series.
  • Jeff Zimmerman at Royals Review busts out his slide rule and charts to determine with what I’d call 100% accuracy the reason the Royals didn’t make the playoffs.  Just try and prove him wrong, I dare you.
  • If you want to follow just two teams during the offseason, I’d recommend the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League and the Senadores de San Juan of the Liga de Beisbol Professional de Puerto Rico.  Both have a bunch of high quality Royals prospects.  You could also just get my Royals Report email and let me send you (almost) daily updates on who is doing what.  Just email me at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.
  • David over at Royals Zone has a list of the top 10 Royals of all time.  I think it might surprise you, however I am in 100% agreement with his #2.  It’s the most underrated Royal in history and if I could get one jersey, it’d be his.  That’s a teaser, check out the site yourself.  But the players name rhymes with Shmamos Shmotis, no more hints.
  • The World Series begins today, you should check out the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers blogs from the Sweet Spot Network, they do excellent work.  Who are you rooting for?  I’m not rooting for a team, I’m rooting for a 7 game series.
  • Would it surprise you if this was the least active off-season in recent Royals history?  It wouldn’t surprise me.  I’m of the belief that it’s a good thing, but it’s weird considering this season was so terrible.
  • Question:  Why don’t the Yankees outspend everyone in the draft?  I really don’t know the answer to this.

Nick Scott writes about the Royals for Royals Authority, podcasts about the Royals at Broken Bat Single and writes about the Chiefs for Chiefs Command. You can follow him on Twitter @brokenbatsingle, on Facebook or email him at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.

So the big announcement promised on Monday comes a few days late… The cat is already out of the proverbial bag at this point.  Anyway, just in case you didn’t hear:

Royals Authority has joined ESPN’s Sweet Spot Network as their Royals blog.

Clark, Nick and I are really pumped about this opportunity to partner with ESPN.  We have to thank Rob Neyer and the gang at ESPN for pulling everything together.  Rob made the announcement on Tuesday and kind of gave a State Of The SweetSpot laying out the reasons behind forming this network and his vision for the future.

Just because we’ve “gone corporate” doesn’t mean our coverage of our favorite team is going to change.  We are going to continue to break down The Process, piece by piece and while providing the same Royals coverage you (hopefully) enjoy on a daily basis.  It may sound corny, but you guys are the reason for our success.  We can’t thank you enough for reading and commenting.

Since the network is brand new, we’re still not sure about the total role we will play.  They’ll link to us from time to time and they’ve already used us for their Power Rankings.  We may get into an ESPN chat when the Royals are on the network.  (Not holding my breath on that one.)  If you are a basketball fan and you know about their True Hoop network, that is what we’re hoping to emulate.

One change you may have noticed is the navigation bar at the top of the site.  The pulldown menu features other bloggers on the network.  We also feature them on our sidebar. Visit them.  It’s a quality group.

In other site news, as part of our goal to be a one-stop for Royals information, we’ve added a few new pages at the top of the site.  The first link is 2010 Payroll, which breaks down the contracts of the 25 players on the roster and the three currently on the DL.  There’s also a graph that charts the Opening Day payroll going back five years to 2006.

We also added a page dedicated to Dayton Moore and the moves he’s made as General Manager.  It’s a resource that lists every trade, waiver claim and free agent he’s brought to Kansas City.  It will continue to be updated throughout the year.  It’s not meant to be a commentary, rather it’s a reference.  If you can’t remember who was involved in his first ever trade (Brandon Duckworth) or who his most frequent trade partner is (White Sox – 4 deals) you can hit his page and see for yourself.

Finally, on a personal note, I am currently writing about fantasy baseball at Baseball Prospectus.  I’m just as excited and enthused about this development as I am our partnership with ESPN.  Plus, I get to talk about RBI.  My latest piece is about cleanup hitters.

It’s been quite a month at Royals Authority.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Luke Hochevar vs. Max Scherzer on Wednesday. We’ll get to see how Hochevar fares after taking that comebacker off his ankle in his final spring start.  There’s also the matter of his new changeup.  Should be interesting.  It always is.

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