Alex Rios Newsbeat
Monday, March 02, 2015
In Milwaukee during his first two big-league seasons, Aoki spent most of his time defending batters straight up, without much shading in either direction, Kuntz explained. Aoki preferred to charge in, rather than charge back, and glued himself to the same spot before almost every pitch.
The Royals operate a more fluid defense. Kuntz does not just ask his defenders to adjust from batter to batter. Sometimes he calls for shifts from pitch to pitch. Aoki was an “analytical” player, Kuntz said. He required an explanation for instructions. Kuntz would flash a signal and Aoki would hesitate before moving.
During games, Kuntz only had a brief window in between innings to communicate, because his presence was required to coach first base. Soon after a sign was sent to the outfield, Kuntz would often receive a visit from Aoki’s translator, Kosuke Inaji.
“Nori wants to know why we don’t play everybody straight up,” Inaji would say.
Kuntz had to remind Inaji: “At times, I don’t have time to explain it to him. He just has to get there.”...
During that first workout, when Rios asked for advice, Kuntz suggested he alter his mechanics when chasing drives over his head. Like 90 percent of players, Kuntz said, Rios executed a drop-step as his first movement, which elongated his route to the ball. Kuntz counseled him to swivel his hips instead and straigthen his line.
Two days later, as he swatted fly balls, Kuntz watched how Rios hunted for balls and noticed the difference.
“Just like that, he’s got it,” Kuntz said. “But he’s an athlete. And he’s coachable.”
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Never take “We’ll owe you a favor” for an answer. Ask CM Punk!
I’m beginning to wonder if the Royals just gave us that incredible postseason run last year so that they could spend the next few years trolling us with the sorts of signings that used to make them baseball’s laughing stock…
I can’t in good conscience do anything but grumble quietly. The Royals were a Bumgarner away form a World Series victory. I wish they wouldn’t celebrate that magical season by paying way too much money for declining 30-something players. But, you know, winners are entitled to celebrate however they want.
I don’t get why the Royals are doing this and not just, you know, going all out to sign James Shields. Understand: I don’t think the Royals SHOULD sign James Shields. He’s 33 years old and, as such, will undoubtedly get way too much money for his declining years. But, then, I’m not as big a fan of Shields as the Royals are. The Royals LOVED him, I mean all caps LOVE because of his leadership and mentorship and all that. If the Royals already planned to plunk down $48 million for three old players who have been dumped by teams in the last year or two and have a combined negative WAR, why not just put that into a big-package deal to keep Shields? That would have made WAY more sense.
There are times, I think, that the Royals just get excited when anyone says they are willing to come to Kansas City to play baseball — and especially excited if it is a player who they heard of once…
none of the recent signings they have made in their celebration tour are club-crippling gambles the way, say, the Jose Guillen signing was. They’re all short term…The Royals haven’t burdened their future with any of these deals. And, who knows? Maybe they get lucky. Hey, it’s happened before.
Monday, December 15, 2014
for his generous support.
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