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The Gonzo Lounge>***Official 2021 Royals Season Repository Thread***
ChiefsCountry 12:01 PM 01-07-2021
For all things Royals for the new year.

Free Agent Signings:
Carlos Santana
Mike Minor
Michael Taylor
Ervin Santana

Top 10 Prospects:
1 Bobby Witt Jr., SS
2 Asa Lacy, LHP
3 Daniel Lynch, LHP
4 Jackson Kowar, RHP
5 Erick Pena, OF
6 Nick Loftin, SS
7 Kyle Isbel, OF
8 Khali Lee, OF
9 Jonathan Bowlan, RHP
10 Carlos Hernedez, RHP
[Reply]
BigCatDaddy 02:45 PM 03-16-2021
$100 on the Royals to win the Central wins you 5K. Worth a shot?
[Reply]
KChiefs1 02:49 PM 03-16-2021

#AlwaysRoyal https://t.co/CU9upBF5kZ

— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) March 16, 2021

[Reply]
TomBarndtsTwin 02:51 PM 03-16-2021
Originally Posted by BigCatDaddy:
$100 on the Royals to win the Central wins you 5K. Worth a shot?

[Reply]
tk13 06:31 PM 03-16-2021
Tonight's game is on MLB Network again. Another chance to show off on national TV.
[Reply]
Prison Bitch 07:20 PM 03-16-2021
BUM
[Reply]
MAHOMO 4 LIFE! 07:34 PM 03-16-2021
Dayton Moore says there is a chance Witt is on the opening day roster
[Reply]
KChiefs1 09:24 PM 03-16-2021
You could tell Matheny loves the kid when he talks about him.
[Reply]
KChiefs1 07:57 AM 03-17-2021
https://www.mlb.com/royals/news/roya...2021-preseason

Here are the Royals' 2021 Top 30 Prospects
by
Anne Rogers

Originally Posted by :
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals saw the first two of their loaded 2018 Draft class reach the Major Leagues in 2020, with right-hander Brady Singer and left-hander Kris Bubic graduating from MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospects list in their rookie seasons. More figure to follow.

Kansas City seems to be on the verge of contending in the next few years, and it has added a wealth of experience to the 2021 roster to help push the club back into the postseason. But to get to where they want to be, the Royals will have to rely on their young talent, just like they did in their 2014-15 run to the World Series.

The current crop of prospects is impressive, with the farm system ranked No. 10 among MLB's best.


For the second straight year, shortstop phenom Bobby Witt Jr. headlines the Royals’ Top 30 Prospects list, and the 20-year-old seems to just be getting better since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2019, despite not having any Minor League games last year. Another 2018 Draft pitcher, Daniel Lynch, is ranked behind Witt at No. 2 on the Royals’ Top 30 list this year -- and hopes to graduate off the prospect list sometime in 2021 with his debut looming. All 10 of the prospects ranked in the Royals’ Top 10 are homegrown players, with nine coming via the Draft and one (Erick Pena, No. 6) coming via international signing.

Entering the Top 30 this year are 17-year-old shortstop Daniel Vasquez, whom the Royals signed during the international signing period this year; right-hander Will Klein, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 Draft; and right-hander Samuel Valerio, who burst onto the scene at fall instructional camp with a 102-mph fastball.

The Royals have some young studs ranked among their best prospects, but they also have a number on the verge of the Majors. This will give Kansas City a steady stream of talent for years to come as it hopes to get back on top of the American League Central.


Here’s a look at the Royals’ top prospect:

1. Bobby Witt Jr., SS (No. 7 on Top 100)
2. Daniel Lynch, LHP (No. 29 on Top 100)
3. Asa Lacy, LHP (No. 30 on Top 100)
4. Jackson Kowar, RHP
5. Kyle Isbel, OF
6. Erick Pena, OF
7. Nick Loftin, SS
8. Jonathan Bowlan, RHP
9. Nick Pratto, 1B
10. Austin Cox, LHP
11. Carlos Hernandez, RHP
12. Alec Marsh, RHP
13. Jon Heasley, RHP
14. MJ Melendez, C
15. Ben Hernandez, RHP
16. Noah Murdock, RHP
17. Seuly Matias, OF
18. Daniel Vasquez, SS
19. Zach Haake, RHP
20. Brady McConnell, SS
21. Daniel Tillo, LHP
22. Tyler Gentry, OF
23. Darryl Collins, OF
24. Ronald Bolanos, RHP
25. Brewer Hicklen, OF
26. Lucius Fox, SS
27. Will Klein, RHP
28. Samuel Valerio, RHP
29. Angel Zerpa, LHP
30. Yefri Del Rosario, RHP



Biggest jump/fall

Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2019 preseason list to the 2020 preseason list:

Jump: Noah Murdock, RHP (2020: NR | 2020: No.16) -- An imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-8, Murdock showed significant strides in his strength, arsenal and control when he got to the Royals’ fall instructional program in Kansas City last year. The right-hander can now touch 100 mph with his fastball while sitting comfortably in the mid-90s, and his extension gives him added deception on the pitch. A new grip on his high-spin curveball makes the pitch a different-looking pitch than what it was in 2020.

Fall: Jeison Guzman, SS (2020: No. 17 | 2021: NR) -- He provides quality defense and some savvy on the bases, but he has been passed by other infield prospects in the system because he has been more aggressive than productive at the plate.


Best tools

Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 60 -- Witt Jr.
Power: 60 -- Witt Jr.
Run: 65 -- Brewer Hicklen
Arm: 70 -- Seuly Matias
Defense: 70 -- Nick Pratto
Fastball: 75 -- Samuel Valerio
Curveball: 60 -- Alec Marsh (Austin Cox, Noah Murdock)
Slider: 60 -- Lynch (Lacy)
Changeup: 70 -- Kowar
Control: 60 -- Jonathan Bowlan


How they were built
Draft: 20 | International: 8 | Trade: 2


Breakdown by ETA
2021: 9 | 2022: 11 | 2023: 6 | 2024: 3 | 2025: 1


Breakdown by position
C: 1 | 1B: 1 | 2B: 0 | 3B: 0 | SS: 5 | OF: 6 | RHP: 12 | LHP: 5

[Reply]
KChiefs1 08:01 AM 03-17-2021

At No. 10 on our list of MLB's best farm systems: the Royals, led by the dynamic Bobby Witt Jr.: https://t.co/3GzY1pLIYE pic.twitter.com/QUvqIGXWTu

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 16, 2021

[Reply]
KChiefs1 08:50 AM 03-17-2021
https://theathletic.com/2455867/2021...-mph-fastball/

‘Who is this guy?’: The rise of Royals lefty Jake Brentz and his 100-mph fastball
by
Alec Lewis

Originally Posted by :
One night in October 2012, Brian DeLunas was in the car, driving his daughter to a haunted house.

DeLunas, at the time, was a pitching coordinator for the St. Louis Pirates Baseball Club, a top travel team for high-level youth in St. Louis. The team was in Jupiter, Fla., playing in the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship games at the Roger Dean Sports Complex. DeLunas was not there, nor was he thinking about the game at all.

Until he received a text.

“Brentz,” it read, “just threw 94 mph.”

DeLunas knew the text was talking about Jake Brentz, then a 17-year-old left-handed-throwing outfielder on the team. DeLunas did not, however, understand why Brentz was pitching in a game this important.

He would later learn the backstory — one that the team’s coach, Rick Strickland, calls “the greatest story I’ve ever had in baseball.”

The story began the weekend before. Hurricane Sandy had occurred, pushing back the Pirates’ matchup to a Saturday night under the lights. Nearly 100 scouts showed up, and by the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pirates led 3-1. Strickland had been assisting with some scouting for the New York Mets. His supervisor, Steve Gossett, who was at the game, walked to the dugout and said to Strickland: “Hey, you know all the scouts are here. They want to see Brentz pitch.” To which Strickland thought: “You know darn well I’m not touching Jake Brentz in this game. This guy is going to walk the world.”

Brentz hadn’t pitched in front of scouts before. He hadn’t been recruited a ton. He was essentially unknown. Strickland knew he threw harder than most kids he had ever seen, but he also knew strikes were as rare as four-leaf clovers. Not to mention Brentz was in the lineup that day, playing center field. But after striking out in the top of the seventh inning against current major leaguer Touki Toussaint, Brentz grabbed his glove and prepared to trot out to center field. Strickland waved him back in.

“Go warm up,” the coach told him.

Brentz started walking. Strickland worried Brentz wouldn’t have enough time.

“Get down there and get loose!” the coach yelled.

Meanwhile, the half-inning began, and the Pirates’ other pitcher earned two quick outs. Brentz, Strickland knew, hadn’t thrown more than five pitches. But this was a perfect opportunity in the final bottom-half inning of the game, so Strickland walked to the mound and called Brentz in. One warmup pitch, Strickland said, banged against the backstop. Then Brentz settled in, threw 94 mph and struck out the only batter he faced on five pitches.

The next day, a scout walked up to Strickland. They both laughed about what the one night would mean for Brentz. DeLunas, now a special projects coordinator with the New York Mets, digested the news (and recovered from the haunted house) and understood what the night meant, too. So did Jake Brentz himself.

“That’s what changed everything,” he said.

One morning this week, while driving to the Kansas City Royals’ spring training facility, Brentz admitted that — as good as he may have looked that night nearly nine years ago — he knew nothing about pitching.

“I always thought you just threw the ball,” he said.

Brentz, now 26, is in line for a big-league opportunity, be it right out of camp or later on. Comparisons aren’t ever fair, but think Josh Staumont from the left side. Brentz’s velocity has continued to skyrocket, touching 101 mph a couple of weeks ago. He’s developed a change-up. And, maybe above all, he’s realized what it takes, from a psychological perspective, to succeed against the best hitters in the world.

The final stage of almost a decade-long evolution began in the months after Brentz’s outing in Jupiter. College coaches reached out. MLB scouts, too. They believed Brentz was a surefire major-league pitcher if he could develop and stay healthy, so Brentz, a native of Ballwin, Mo., started working with Brian DeLunas and alongside fellow St. Louisians such as Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams, the 2020 National League rookie of the year, and Brian Howard, a pitching prospect for the Oakland Athletics.

Brentz fit in seamlessly.

“There was no doubt this was the kid who had the most electric arm,” DeLunas said.

That wasn’t always ideal. Some days, Brentz and other pitchers would play a game, hopping up on the mound and seeing who could throw the hardest.

“Guys, we’ve got protocols here,” DeLunas would tell them. “You’ve got to warm up and go through your routine.”

The learning was happening quickly, but DeLunas didn’t overhaul anything with Brentz’s delivery. Many pitching coaches, DeLunas has learned, attempt to slow pitchers down. They think honing mechanics works best, but that approach can eliminate the naturalness of the pitcher.

“To me, that’s the worst case,” said DeLunas, who would become the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen coach and director of pitching development and strategies. “Look at any big-league pitcher. You have to be free, easy and loose, and be yourself.”

Problem is, that’s not always easy for hard-throwing youngsters. For one, youth coaches and high-school coaches generally want to win. So how often are they going to use a hard-throwing kid who may pitch wildly just for the sake of their development?

There’s also this: Younger hitters know when they’re facing a hard-throwing pitcher. They may be more afraid to swing, which means the hard-throwing pitchers can’t get away with close misses the same way slower-throwing kids do. That, in turn, affects the hard-throwing pitchers’ minds. They don’t throw strikes. All they hear about is how they don’t throw strikes. The cycle is endless.

College coaches and scouts know the cycle. They also know when they see a left-handed pitcher who has an explosive delivery and a fastball that touches the upper 90s. They know something Rick Strickland, the Pirates coach, said recently: “Guys like that aren’t walking the streets of America.”

That’s why the University of Missouri, among others, offered Brentz a scholarship. And why scouts such as the Royals’ current director of pitching, Paul Gibson, coveted him ahead of the 2013 MLB Draft. The Toronto Blue Jays ended up selecting him in the 11th round, and Brentz signed to start his pro career at 18 years old. He’d been told to have a routine. He’d continued to throw the way that felt comfortable.

But so much growth remained, and he knew it.

Months after the Blue Jays drafted him, Brentz was in Dunedin, Fla., pitching for the Blue Jays’ rookie-league team. Each pitch was the equivalent of a bench-press max. There was no plan. It showed in his stats: In 7 2/3 innings, he posted a 10.57 ERA with 12 walks.

He wasn’t laser-focused during the outings, and it affected him after games. He’d finish his inning and have no recollection of any specific pitch or at-bat.

“I’d literally just get the ball and throw,” he said.

Coaches didn’t punt on Brentz because, as the old baseball saying goes for lefties, “If you’re breathing and throwing strikes, there’s a job for you.” It was simply a matter of Brentz throwing strikes, which, well, continued to be a struggle. He returned to the rookie league again in 2014 and walked 34 batters in 39 2/3 innings. In 2015, the Blue Jays traded him to the Mariners, where Brentz found some success. He posted a 3.86 ERA in 14 innings at Low A and only walked eight batters. But again, in 2016, strike-throwing was an issue.

There were days during Brentz’s high school career, DeLunas said, where Brentz was pitching with big-league stuff. That being the case, DeLunas didn’t believe Brentz needed to be dotting pitches on the black.

DeLunas also believes pinpoint command is a bit of a misconception.

“Major-league pitchers throw in the zone about 42 to 45 percent of the time,” DeLunas said. “The average miss in the zone is about 12 inches. The average miss out of zone is about 15 inches. So I think we kid ourselves sometimes with this concept that, you know, big-league pitchers put the ball exactly where they want to all the time. It just doesn’t happen. Even the best of the best, you see them miss.”

Through his research, and time alongside Andy McKay, the Mariners’ director of player development, DeLunas has come to believe the biggest factor in command is how a pitcher focuses in the 15 seconds between pitches. From the time a pitcher receives the baseball back from the catcher to the time he starts his windup, the more clear the focus is on that specific pitch, the better it’ll be.

Brentz’s lack of innings meant a lack of reps within these 15 seconds for so long. But he pitched 45 2/3 innings in 2016 and, after being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitched 40 innings in 2017. He struggled at Double A in 2018, but behind the scenes, he was figuring out himself. Figuring out how to move on from a bad outing. Figuring out what his perfect arm slot was. Figuring out how to be comfortable. The process of figuring things out is ongoing, but Brentz noticed a shift when he arrived at Triple-A Indianapolis in 2019 and watched hitters swing and miss at his stuff.

A 40-man crunch forced the Pirates to release him that fall, and Paul Gibson, the Royals’ director of pitching, quickly received a call from Royals assistant general manager Scott Sharp, who asked what Gibson had seen. They signed Brentz in August 2019. Gibson met him at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where Brentz posted a 3.38 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.

Wanting to offer a further introduction to the organization, the Royals invited Brentz to instructional league activities that fall. He was there for more than a week. The conversations set the stage for what we’re now seeing: a potentially pivotal piece.

A week into spring training, the Royals road-tripped from Surprise, Ariz., to Goodyear, Ariz., to face Cleveland. It was, for lack of a better term, a boring game. The Royals jumped out to an early lead and held it. Shane Bieber and Jackson Kowar pitched, so they were all the talk. But then, in the sixth inning, heads perked up.

There was a 6-foot-1, 205-pound left-hander who threw a pitch that registered 99 mph on the scoreboard.

“That poor lefty (Will Benson) stood in there that first at-bat, the second pitch was 99 mph,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “And then the third was 100 mph. He struck out. And you could see people looking over, like, ‘Who is this guy?’”

The guy is one who spent the 2020 quarantine pitching in St. Louis with Trevor Rosenthal. They played catch. They talked about mindset, especially that of Rosenthal before he debuted. They talked about the Royals, an organization both players respected.

The conversation and insight led to the alternate site, where Brentz practiced pitches such as a slider. Throwing a breaking ball, DeLunas said, is like a short game in golf.

“If you don’t go out and practice it, six months you’re going to shoot 10-15 strokes higher,” DeLunas said. “It’s kind of the same thing with breaking balls. It was just a matter of feel and reps.”

Brentz also played catch with a change-up, which he started to integrate into sim games at T-Bones Park. It paid off; Matheny said recently the change-up might be his second-best pitch. Altogether, Brentz prepared himself for a big-league spring training, and, internally, it boosted his confidence.

Externally, the Royals have been impressed. Matheny called Brentz “a potential weapon that could be a lot of fun to watch.”

As has always been the case, fastball control will dictate what Brentz can accomplish. For now, what the Royals want is the same as what Rick Strickland wanted nearly nine years ago at the Roger Dean Sports Complex.

“Use the whole plate,” Matheny said. “We don’t need much deception. We don’t need to hit corners. Use the whole thing.

“And let her go.”

[Reply]
gblowfish 09:58 AM 03-17-2021
I sat down to watch these guys and enjoy some baseball last night and they got obliterated. Yikes!
[Reply]
ChiTown 10:07 AM 03-17-2021
So.......

If BWJr is in the opening day lineup, does he play 2B or SS? I know he was at 2B last night.
[Reply]
duncan_idaho 10:08 AM 03-17-2021
Originally Posted by ChiTown:
So.......

If BWJr is in the opening day lineup, does he play 2B or SS? I know he was at 2B last night.
It would be 2B or 3B, I think.

Depends on how they like Dozier's defense in RF.
[Reply]
TomBarndtsTwin 10:13 AM 03-17-2021
If Whit is around opening day, I assume that Lopez is out? At least as a starter?

2 options: Witt at 2B, Dozier stays at 3B and Whit in RF

OR

Witt at 3B (which I like better long term, if not moving to SS), move Whit back to 2B and stick Dozier out in RF (but Royals would have to feel confident in his defense out there).

Either way, if Witt makes the opening day roster, you get rid of the black hole in the lineup which is Nicky Lopez.
[Reply]
ChiTown 10:14 AM 03-17-2021
Originally Posted by duncan_idaho:
It would be 2B or 3B, I think.

Depends on how they like Dozier's defense in RF.
so, potentially, BWJr at 3B, Mondesi at SS, Whit at 2B and Dozier in RF? Anything that puts Nicky Lopez on the bench works for me :-)
[Reply]
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