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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Royals Newsbeat

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz’s numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites.

J-Doug Posted: October 06, 2015 at 04:19 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, pirates, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, yankees

After 1,691 games, Royals outfielder Alex Rios will finally get to experience postseason

For all Rios has observed and encountered in the game, though, he’ll witness something else he’s never seen before when the Royals begin postseason play Thursday at Kauffman Stadium against the winner of the American League Wild Card Game between Houston and the New York Yankees.

That would be himself as part of a playoff game, thus ending the longest drought among active players.

The closest he’s come before was playing for the Rangers in a Game 163 as they tried and failed to sneak into the playoffs in 2013.

“It’s something that has crossed my mind many times throughout my career,” Rios said last week at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. “I think that that is the main goal for a baseball player, for any athlete, to make it to the playoffs and win it all. …

“And to experience it with this bunch of guys makes it special, makes it memorable, you know?”

The next three on the list will also be in the playoffs - Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Chase Headley, leaving Adam Lind and his 1,099 as the active leader without post-season experience.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 06, 2015 at 02:52 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rios, post-season experience, royals

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Ode to Affeldt

Everything about that game felt flat, lifeless, colorless, like the whole scene had degenerated into black and white. I was sitting in the scout section with the Royals’ general manager at the time, Allard Baird, and we were talking about family and life and anything that came to mind to distract us from the dullness of the game itself.

And then Jeremy Affeldt entered.

Zach Posted: October 04, 2015 at 01:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, jeremy affeldt, retirement, royals

Friday, October 02, 2015

How Ned Yost Made the Kansas City Royals Unstoppable - The New York Times

I’d like the writer to name one team which doesn’t blend analytics and scouting. One.

Yost might not be the best tactician but he’s done an extremely good job with the clubhouse.

To many, Yost is a holdover from baseball’s Dark Ages, when managers followed their guts on tactical decisions, the way they might play a late-night game of Monopoly. Suspicion of anything even marginally unconventional or innovative, let alone intellectual, was woven into the fabric of the sport. Players were judged by looks almost as much as by performance.

The correction has been thorough. In recent years, the ability to track, accumulate and analyze data has affected the way teams scout prospects, position their fielders and make nearly every other decision on how they play the game. More than a few now operate strictly by the numbers, guided by staff mathematicians who barely watch the games, so as to not be overly influenced by appearances.[Emphasis added] Analytical commentators and other observers, armed with formulas and metrics, crunch the numbers involved in Yost’s decisions and conclude that many of them are simply wrong.

Hat tip to Ben Lindbergh.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 02, 2015 at 10:21 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: ned yost, royals

Thursday, October 01, 2015

NYT: How Ned Yost Made the Kansas City Royals Unstoppable

That chemistry appears to have offset the construction of curious batting orders. Alcides Escobar, who has hit leadoff for much of the season, historically reaches base less often than the league average. The potent Alex Gordon was hitting sixth before he strained a groin muscle in early July. This in particular rankles the analysts. “Batting order is something a manager very clearly has control of,” says Dave Cameron, the managing editor of the widely read website Fangraphs, “It’s something Yost has done particularly poorly.”

Yost dismisses such criticisms, but others in the organization feel compelled to respond. “We have information that the fans and analysts don’t,” says Yost’s bench coach, Don Wakamatsu, who previously managed the Seattle Mariners. There, Wakamatus says, he occasionally put the slugger Russell Branyan at No. 4, the cleanup spot. “When I did, he’d break out in hives. But I’d put him at 2 or 5 or 6, and he was a world beater. Can the numbers account for that”?

What do you say, numbers?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2015 at 02:00 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, dave cameron, don wakamatsu, lineups, ned yost, royals

Monday, September 28, 2015

The night Kansas City baseball came back to life

Fantastic essay by Andy McCullough on last year’s AL Wild Card game—one of the best pieces of sports writing I’ve read all year.

Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: September 28, 2015 at 04:02 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: longform, royals

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hey, MLB: Royals’ postseason should be an all-inclusive party that extends to Arrowhead

I thought we were all meeting up at Paul Rudd’s mom’s house?

When the idea for a sort of simulcast at Arrowhead was presented to people at MLB, the issue of parking was the first brought up. But even if 30,000 people showed, that would still mean fewer people at Truman Sports Complex than for a sold-out football game.

Nobody from the league would speak on the record for this column, but other than basic logistical things that teams do routinely — security, parking, following sponsorship rules, etc. — the overriding concern is a hit on TV ratings.

The potential effect on TV ratings is higher in a smaller market like Kansas City, where each point represents about 9,400 households.

Those numbers are used in negotiations for future broadcast contracts, and the ratings in so-called core markets are particularly important — even if, apparently, both sides could easily document tens of thousands of people not captured in the clunky TV ratings calculations.

This comes through particularly clear when you talk to people about a watch party at Kauffman Stadium for road playoff games. The Royals would be interested in this, likely charging a nominal fee for admission or attendance that would cover staffing, and run between-innings entertainment and other bonuses to create a more authentic experience.

People want to celebrate together, and what better place for Royals fans than Kauffman Stadium? They could come early and tailgate, then enter the stadium and watch from their favorite seat on one of the world’s biggest high-definition video boards (funded largely by public money, by the way).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2015 at 07:52 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, tv ratings

Friday, September 25, 2015

East Side diamond: Mayor, Royals GM announce youth baseball academy

Very cool.

On the morning after the Kansas City Royals clinched the American League Central Division Championship, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore helped announce a new $14 million project expected to boost the fortunes of local youth and the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.

The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy was announced and detailed by Moore, Mayor Sly James and others at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E. 18th St….

Moore said the Royals are deeply committed to growing baseball in the community and the region.

“The Kansas City Urban Youth Academy,” he said, “will provide special opportunities for boys and girls to develop their baseball and softball skills while, most importantly, growing as leaders.”
In addition to free year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, the academy will provide access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, and MLB industry alternative career workshops. Participants also will have opportunities to be involved in drug-resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes.
Rob reports on real estate and development.

Royals win first AL Central title |

“It’s something I’ve expected from the first day of the season,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was kind of like ‘This is supposed to happen.’ Last year was tooth and nail every game. I just had a real confidence with this group from the middle of Spring Training on.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2015 at 07:57 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Royals announce that reliever Greg Holland will miss remainder of the season

Greg Holland’s season is over.

The Royals announced Thursday that Holland will not pitch again this year due to an injury to his right elbow. The team said the severity of the injury will be determined next week when he is examined by Neil ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthapaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

The prospect of Tommy John surgery looms over Holland, who was 3-2 with 32 saves and a 3.83 ERA this season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2015 at 05:04 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: elbow injury, greg holland, royals, tommy john surgery

Monday, September 21, 2015

Royals starter Johnny Cueto rebounds after asking Sal Perez to change his setup behind the plate

Why don’t men ever talk about their problems?

Part of his trouble, Cueto explained to the team, was he tries to throw exactly toward the catcher’s glove. Perez often set the target high in the zone, intending to lower his mitt with the pitch. But the optics challenged Cueto, which may have led to him spinning a series of cutters and changeups at the waist of opposing hitters in recent weeks.

Cueto offered a series of suggestions for Perez. Cueto needed the mitt positioned lower in the zone. He wanted Perez to back up off the plate. And Cueto wanted Perez to set up later than normal. When there were no men on base on Friday, Perez often crouched on one knee, lowering his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame to meet Cueto’s preferences….

The revival begs the question: Why didn’t Cueto speak up sooner? The answer speaks to both his personality and the difficulty of transitioning to a new team in the middle of the season. Cueto opted to defer to Perez, rather than challenge a player he respected.

“He understood that Salvy’s a three-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glover,” Yost said. “He’s not going to come in and tell him what to do.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2015 at 03:51 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: johnny cueto, royals, salvador perez

Royals’ missing piece is missing what made him a commodity | New York Post

Things don’t always work out according to plan.

The Royals gave up very good prospects for a rental. So Cueto was obtained to start Game 1. Period. Anything less is failure. He was acquired to be the missing piece for a Royals team arguably better than the one that went to World Series Game 7 last year, since Kansas City’s offense is improved while its defense and bullpen remain stellar — though the loss of velocity/effectiveness by Greg Holland is now a huge issue as well.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 21, 2015 at 05:53 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: johnny cueto, royals

Saturday, September 19, 2015

After 2-run 9th-inning rally, Royals fall to Tigers 5-4 in 12th | The Kansas City Star

What do they do with Holland?

Scarcely 10 minutes had passed since the walkoff hit that sunk the Royals — perhaps ending Greg Holland’s tenure as the team’s closer — fell into left field at Comerica Park. Manager Ned Yost understood the implications of Holland’s latest stumble, which cost the club a 5-4 defeat in 12 innings to Detroit and slimmed the Royals’ lead over Toronto for home-field advantage to just one game.

But Yost did not intend to discuss the fallout of Holland’s fifth blown save of the season. After he insisted he felt confident Holland would escape the 12th inning jam, he cut off any further questions about him.

“I’m done talking about Greg right now,” Yost said. “I’m done talking about Greg tonight.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2015 at 08:24 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: greg holland, royals

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Meanwhile, the Dodgers traded for Johnson, Mat Latos and Wood. Latos still hasn’€™t won a game, and Wood had pitched poorly before Wednesday night. Johnson’€™s been a disaster.

Oh, and the Dodgers are 7 ½ games ahead of the Giants.

Their big moves didn’€™t work at all, and all they’€™ve done is run away and hide.

Which should be the real takeaway here.

The Mets would have a big lead without Cespedes, the Royals without Zobrist; granted, both teams will probably be thrilled to have their prizes next month, not that either player is guaranteed to continue his surge for another few weeks.

Of all those 36 players, it seems to me that only three have made a real difference so far: Price and Tulowitzki with the Blue Jays, and maybe Happ with the Pirates. Without Happ, the Pirates’€™ lead over the Cubs in the wild-card standings might have vanished by now. Without Price and Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays probably wouldn’€™t own a semi-comfortable lead over the Yankees.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Greg Holland battles declining velocity spin |

Mike Petriello has access that a lot of us would enjoy having. This article shows the value of the new age stats.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2015 at 06:49 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: greg holland, royals

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mike Moustakas reflects on mother’s passing after career day at plate | FOX Sports

But my, how she loved her son.

“Every day, I miss her,” Mike said. “It’s weird not being able to pick up the phone and call, hear her voice.

“I always let her know that anytime I did anything good, it was for her. Even if I didn’t do anything good, she was always proud of me. She’d let me know that I was still in the big leagues, to keep having fun going out there. That’s what was awesome about mom. She was always proud of me, no matter what happened.”

Last October, when Connie could not attend postseason games, she kept telling Mike, “I’ll be out there soon. When I can get up and walk around, I’ll be out there.”

She never made it, at least not in person. But on Saturday, when Mike hit a two-run single to tie the score, 4-4, he looked up and pointed to heaven with both arms after reaching second on the throw.

“She’s out there with me every day now,” Mike said. “She held up her end of bargain.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2015 at 01:35 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: human interest story, mike moustakas, royals

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Jazayerli: A Dayton With Destiny

Who will play Dayton Moore in his “Moneyball”? Clooney?

In the span of time that Moore has been a GM, every team in baseball has improved its understanding of the mechanics of the game. Every GM today is better at his job than he was in 2006. Being a successful GM requires showing a willingness to learn new information on the job and adapt your processes accordingly.

Which leads me, as someone who has obsessed over Moore’s job performance since he was hired, to posit the following hypothesis: We weren’t wrong to think Moore was a mediocre-at-best GM once upon a time; we were wrong to think he couldn’t get better. GMs, like players, don’t stop learning and improving once they reach The Show, and it would be as silly to think the Moore of today is no different from the Moore of 2006 as to think the same of Jose Bautista or Nelson Cruz. Every GM is better at his job today, and Moore has improved more than most.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2015 at 03:44 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dayton moore, rany jazayerli, royals

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Kelvin Herrera, Alex Rios infected as chickenpox hits Royals’ clubhouse

The Royals defense is so great they catch everything - even chicken pox!

Outfielder Alex Rios and All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera both have been infected with the virus and could miss at least two weeks of action, as The Star first reported on Tuesday.

An examination on Monday of both players confirmed the diagnosis. Each man has been quarantined at his home in the area. The team spent the weekend conducting “damage control,” in the words of trainer Nick Kenney, making sure the rest of their players and staffers are inoculated against the virus….

The Royals believe the infections are limited to Herrera and Rios. The most at-risk players are those from countries in Latin America, where the chances of childhood inoculation are lower, experts say. Though the scenario sounds more amusing than worrisome — a World Series contender stricken by a children’s illness — the reality is far more insidious, given the severity of the virus when adults catch it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2015 at 12:01 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rios, infectious diseases, jonny gomes, kelvin herrera, royals

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Jonny Gomes headed to Royals in trade from Braves

The Royals have added one last piece for their playoff run, acquiring Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes in a trade just before the waiver trade deadline Monday night.

Fox Sports first reported the Royals’ acquisition of Gomes, who was hitting .223 for Atlanta, but with an .878 on-base plus slugging percentage against southpaws.

The Royals also acquired cash from Atlanta in the deal and traded minor-league infielder Luis Valenzuela, 22, who was hitting .339 in 47 games for Class A Lexington in 2015.

Zach Posted: September 01, 2015 at 01:57 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, jonny gomes, royals, trade

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pitcher Kris Medlen is intriguing as he makes the most of his audition for Royals’ rotation | The Kansas City Star

When his elbow holds together, Kris Medlen is a pretty good pitcher.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2015 at 11:24 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: kris medlen, royals

Monday, August 24, 2015

From field to front office, many believe chemistry still matters in baseball

Sure, numbers are fine for fantasy leagues, but if you want to truly define a player’s value, or recognize the importance significance of clubhouse culture, it’s time to wake up and embrace character, too.

“I think we’re losing part of our game because so many of these people in charge don’t have the scouting background or playing background,’’ Peavy said. “All they have is a great education and they’re really good at math. Some of these front offices crunch all of these numbers, and think they’ve got it all figured out.

“I don’t know the formula for winning, but I do know what it means when teams are inseparable, enjoy their time together, care for each other, and play for the higher cause. I’ve seen it. I’ve been part of it.

“You can have all of the education you want, and break down every number you want, but unless you get to know what’s inside a player, you really don’t know the player.’’...

“We had our Moneyball movie, and they didn’t even win,’’ Peavy said of the Oakland Athletics. “How about let’s make a movie about the good ol’ fashioned baseball people, and how they judge team chemistry, and put together guys that fit in.

“How about a movie about a team that actually wins in the end?’’


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Royals catch Reds napping on infield fly rule |

Bruce popped up a 3-2 pitch that had Hochevar and first baseman Eric Hosmer camped underneath before it hit the ground. The infield fly rule was invoked for the out on Bruce.

The runner on third base, Bourgeois, broke from third base and tried to score. Hochevar threw to catcher Drew Butera, who easily tagged Bourgeois five feet from the plate for the inning-ending double play.

According to Major League Baseball rules, runners may advance at their own risk when the infield fly rule is called.

“He knows the rule. I think it was just a reaction,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “It wasn’t a late call by the umpires in the sense that they called it. They had to know that a position player has a play—on what’s called a relatively routine play on the ball. And both the pitcher and the first baseman were converging on the ball. Once the pitcher got underneath it and the first baseman, the home-plate umpire [Chris Conroy] signaled ‘infield fly.’ At that point in time, the ball was just getting ready to hit [the ground], and it did. I think he felt in that situation obliged to run.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 20, 2015 at 07:22 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: reds, royals

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Royal baby boom? Nine months after World Series, fans welcome little souvenirs | The Kansas City Star

The new Royals theme song?

Jim Furtado Posted: August 16, 2015 at 08:47 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Royals magical 2014 postseason is leading to baby boom in Kansas City

Much has been written about the romance of a baseball game: The perfectly green grass like spring in bloom, the highly charged one-on-one battles between pitcher and batter, the foul lines like ley lines laid down by Eros himself.

For Royals fans, this has led to at least one hospital setting a record this July for most babies born in a month with 473—this coming exactly nine months after Royals’ magical World Series run. These newborns even carry reminders of Kansas City’s first postseason berth in 29 years with names like Finnegan (for recently traded Royals reliever Brandon Finnegan), Holland (for the closer Greg Holland) and Everly Royal.

eddieot Posted: August 16, 2015 at 03:12 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, world series

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