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Edinson Volquez Jersey

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The Texas Rangers and veteran pitcher, Edinson Volquez, are reportedly working on a minor-league deal, bringing Volquez back with a shot at the MLB roster.
With much of the Texas Rangers brass in the Dominican Republic for the opening of the organization’s new baseball complex, TR Sullivan tweeted out Friday morning that the club and veteran Edinson Volquez are working on a minor-league deal.

Volquez, a 14-year veteran, spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Rangers organization, missing all of 2018 and the majority of 2019 due to injury. The hopes for his initial deal in Texas is that he could help bolster the rotation. With injuries considered, Volquez made 11 appearances for the Rangers last year, four as a starter. He posted a 6.75 ERA throwing 16 innings.

During the season, Volquez made his plan known to retire at the end of the season but it appears that plan could be put on hold. The Rangers are looking to bring Volquez back on a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invitation. This would give Volquez the opportunity to compete for a spot in the Rangers bullpen as his days as a regular starter are probably behind him.

The 36-year old has bounced around a bit in his career, not because of ineffectiveness but rather a consistency with his pitching. Volquez started his career with the Rangers back in 2005 and was the main piece of the deal with the Reds that brought Josh Hamilton to the Rangers. He would go on to be an All-Star with the Reds in 2008 and then later, won a World Series in 2015 as a part of the Kansas City Royals.

If the two sides do come to an agreement, I wouldn’t expect to see Volquez change the Rangers offseason plans at all. They still will be in the market for starting pitching. If Volquez makes the roster out of Spring Training, his veteran presence would be a plus. If he doesn’t, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him move forward with his retirement and maybe join the Rangers in another capacity.

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Kansas City Royals left fielder, former Nebraska baseball star and Lincoln Southeast grad Alex Gordon won his 3rd straight and 7th career Gold Glove award Sunday night.

GOLDEN – Kansas City Royals OF, former #Huskers star and @LSEAthletics grad Alex Gordon wins his 3rd straight and 7…
Courtesy: Royals Media Relations

KANSAS CITY, MO (November 3, 2019) – Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., and ESPN announced tonight that Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has earned his seventh career Rawlings Gold Glove Award, receiving the award for the third time in as many seasons. Gordon was also honored as the top left fielder in the American League by Rawlings from 2011-14 and 2017-18. Dating back to 2011, Kansas City has won a Major League-best 17 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and are the only American League team with at least one winner in each of the last nine seasons (since 2011), trailing only Colorado’s streak of 10 straight seasons among Major League teams.

The awards were voted on by managers and coaches from the American and National Leagues, and honor the best individual fielding performances at each position in both leagues.

Kansas City now has 35 Rawlings Gold Gloves by 13 different players in its 51-year history. Gordon’s seven awards are second most in franchise history, trailing Frank White’s eight (1977-82, ’86-87).

Gordon, who was named the Rawlings Platinum Glove winner in 2014, has 98 outfield assists since 2010, tied with Gerardo Parra for most in the Majors during that time. His seven outfield assists – including three in his first 17 games – tied for third-most among Major League left fielders in 2019, two shy of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for the lead. He was charged with just one error in 276 chances in left field, the fewest errors by a left fielder with as many chances since his 2013 campaign, when he committed just one error in 341 chances. Gordon’s only error came on May 18 at Angel Stadium, and he ended the season with 105 straight games (104 starts) and 214 total chances without an error. Since moving to the outfield in 2010, only one other outfielder has more total chances that Gordon (2,788) and fewer errors (18): Nick Markakis (14 E in 2,918 TC).

Gordon’s seven Rawlings Gold Gloves are second most among outfielders active in 2019, trailing Ichiro Suzuki’s 10. Gordon was one of three finalists among American League left fielders, beating out Boston’s Andrew Benintendi and Oakland’s Robbie Grossman.

Voting for the Rawlings Platinum Gold Glove Award presented by SABR began at the conclusion of the awards show at, allowing the public to weigh in as to who is “The Finest in the Field ®” in both the American League and National League. A combination of the international fan vote and the SABR Defensive Index will determine who takes home the honor of each League’s top defensive player. The Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners will be unveiled during the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Ceremony presented by Gold Sport Collectibles on Friday, November 8.

Below is a list of Kansas City’s 35 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners by 13 different players:

1971 – Amos Otis (OF)

1973 – Amos Otis (OF)

1974 – Amos Otis (OF)

1977 – Al Cowens (OF), Frank White (2B)

1978 – Frank White (2B)

1979 – Frank White (2B)

1980 – Frank White (2B), Willie Wilson (OF)

1981 – Frank White (2B)

1982 – Frank White (2B)

1985 – George Brett (3B)

1986 – Frank White (2B)

1987 – Frank White (2B)

1989 – Bob Boone (C), Bret Saberhagen (P)

2000 – Jermaine Dye (OF)

2006 – Mark Grudzielanek (2B)

2011 – Alex Gordon (LF)

2012 – Alex Gordon (LF)

2013 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2014 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2015 – Alcides Escobar (SS), Eric Hosmer (1B), Salvador Perez (C)

2016 – Salvador Perez (C)

2017 – Alex Gordon (LF), Eric Hosmer (1B)

2018 – Alex Gordon (LF), Salvador Perez (C)

2019 – Alex Gordon (LF)

Each manager and up to six coaches on his staff vote from a pool of qualified players in their League and cannot vote for players on their own team. In 2013, Rawlings added a sabermetric component to the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, as part of its new collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The SABR Defensive Index comprises approximately 25 percent of the overall selection total, while the managers’ and coaches’ vote continues to carry the majority.

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Monday morning, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa underwent hip surgery to repair damage suffered on Saturday against Mississippi State. By all reports, this procedure was a success. Team surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain has since released a statement and revealed that Tagovailoa should make a full recovery.

“Tua underwent successful surgery on his right hip Monday morning in Houston,” Dr. Cain said in a statement. “The procedure went as planned, and he is resting comfortably. Tua’s prognosis is excellent, and we expect him to make a full recovery. He will return to Tuscaloosa in the next several days to begin his rehab.”

There were concerns following the injury about Tagovailoa no longer being able to play football, much like former Raiders running back Bo Jackson after he suffered a dislocated hip in 1991. However, the Los Angeles Rams team surgeon, Dr. Michael Banffy, explained how these two situations are different.

“What can happen with the dislocation is that blood vessels will either tear or they’ll be placed on stretch for so long that the bone itself will lose its blood supply and that will cause death of the bone,” Banffy said, per “If you get it reduced right away, the idea is that will minimize the risk. But this is still something that you have to watch and it might not even present itself for a couple of months, similar to the way it did with Bo Jackson.”

For now, Tagovailoa’s future prospects seem positive, to the point that he could potentially prepare for the NFL Draft. However, the recovery timeline will play a role. Three months is one possibility, but Dr. Banffy believes that six months is more likely. This would mean that Tagovailoa would not be eligible to take part in the physical workouts during the NFL Scouting Combine, provided he skips his senior season at Alabama in pursuit of a pro career.

Still, Dr. Banffy does not believe that suffering this injury would drastically affect Tagovailoa’s prospects. He believes that the Alabama star will still be a first-round pick for a quarterback-needy team.

“I don’t think this will knock him out of the first round, for sure,” Banffy said. “It will probably knock him out of the top five, which is where people were predicting him in but I think that it all depends on how he progressively heals and how he looks at the combine.”

With teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears potentially searching for a new option at quarterback, there will be multiple potential destinations for Tagovailoa. However, he will first have to recover from Monday’s surgery and avoid any setbacks.

Hit play to listen to GroupChat’s new Episode 12! The Sexiest Man Alive John Legend has arrived! And Khloe Kardashian won a People’s Choice Awards and didn’t even know it? Tune in and tap subscribe for these deets and more on Sean Spicer getting the boot from ‘DWTS’ and some Royals Christmas Controversy!

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Will the Kansas City Royals put a new(ish) glove at second base, sending a fan favorite out to patrol the fields of Kauffman Stadium?
The Kansas City Royals had a disappointing 2019. For the second year in a row, they racked up 100 losses, and it was pretty clear early in the season that the team was nowhere near ready to contend for the postseason. The season did have some good moments, though, to instill some confidence for the future.

Along with some top moments and broken records, the 2019 season did something else important. It made the areas where the Royals lack painfully obvious. Pitching took the top spot on the weakness list, obviously. First base was also an area where the team struggled.

Second base was never really an issue. There may have been some movement throughout the position, but at the end of the day, Whit Merrifield was still around. Come spring training, though, the Royals may have to answer some questions about who will be in the spot full time.

As was said, fans saw some movement through second in 2019, just like most positions for the Royals throughout the season. Merrifield saw himself playing other spots on the field and some have to wonder if this won’t turn into a more permanent gig for him.

On top of that, Merrifield’s likely replacement, Nicky Lopez saw 76 games at second in 2019. There is no telling what the Royals will do in 2020 under a new manager and new ownership. Once spring training arrives, though, some big decisions will have to be made. Let’s break this position down a little further and see who might make an appearance at second in 2020.

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Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza are the only players in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame who wear a New York Mets cap on their plaque. This may soon change when Carlos Beltran is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2023.
When most New York Mets fans hear the name Carlos Beltran they immediately picture him striking out looking with the bases loaded on an Adam Wainwright curveball in the ninth inning of Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS. The strikeout sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the Word Series, where they defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games. Unfortunately for Beltran, his greatness in a Mets uniform is over shadowed by this one infamous moment.

Throughout his Mets career, which spanned seven seasons, Beltran was one of the most productive players in franchise history both offensively and defensively. He is sixth in franchise history in home runs and runs batted in with 149 and 559 respectively. He took home two Silver Slugger Awards and was named an All-Star five times as a member of the Mets. Until this past season when rookie phenom Pete Alonso took the league by storm, hitting a league-leading 53 home runs, Beltran and Todd Hundley owned the franchise’s single-season record with 41.

Not only did Beltran have a very respectable offensive career as a Met, he was also a force with the glove. In his seven seasons in Flushing, Beltran won the Gold Glove in center field three times. He was moved to right field in 2011 due to consistent knee problems and even there he played above average defense.

While Beltran enjoyed the most successful seasons of his career as a member of the Mets, he also had some very productive years elsewhere. In 1999, Beltran took home American League Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Kansas City Royals. In his rookie campaign, Beltran hit .293 with 22 home runs and 108 RBI while also stealing 27 bases.

To go along with his five All-Star appearances as a Met, he was also chosen to be an All Star four other times during his career. The only other team he made multiple All-Star appearances for was the St. Louis Cardinals where he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013. He made his final All-Star appearance in 2016 at the age of 39 as a member of the New York Yankees.

It’s safe to say the Beltran is one of the best switch hitters of all time. Throughout his career, he accumulated 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBI, to go along with 312 stolen bases and a career batting average of .279. He was an all-around player who could hit for power and average, and was the best defensive center fielder in baseball during the prime of his career.

Although many Mets fans are bitter over Beltran because one at bat in the 2006 NLCS, it’s clear that he was one of the most productive players not only in franchise history, but in Major League Baseball as well.

It should be remembered that in that same NLCS, Beltran hit .296 with a .387 on base percentage to go along with 3 home runs. If Beltran had come through in the infamous at bat, theres every chance he would have been named MVP of that series.

Unfortunately for Beltran and the Mets, the 2006 NLCS didn’t transpire how they would have hoped but that shouldn’t take away from the excellence Beltran displayed over his seven seasons in Queens and his 20 years as a major leaguer. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Beltran will end up in Cooperstown and it should come with a blue and orange NY across his cap.

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With Ned Yost’s retirement, the Kansas City Royals need a new manager. The franchise is botching its search for Yost’s successor.
The Kansas City Royals will be one of a whopping eight teams with a new manager when the 2020 season starts. The Angels, Cubs, Giants, Mets, Padres, Pirates, and Phillies will also have new skippers in the dugout once the end of March rolls around.

But unlike those seven other teams, the Royals are botching the search for the team’s next manager, mainly by not bothering to look outside the organization.

Sure, the Royals have enough change going on this offseason, what with John Sherman purchasing the team from David Glass and his family. Franchise stalwart Alex Gordon may also not be back. And, of course, Yost, who took over managerial duties from Trey Hillman just 35 games into the 2010 season, announced his retirement during the last week of the season.

In a way, staying in house makes sense.

There are several in-house candidates with previous managerial experience, both in the Minors and the Majors, from Vance Wilson, who managed several Royals farm teams before being named bullpen coach for the MLB squad in 2017, to Mike Matheny, former manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 2012 through the midpoint in 2018 and who is now a special adviser for the Royals.

Plus, staying within the organization keeps the status quo intact, at least for the time being. This allows general manager Dayton Moore to keep a familiar face around while he learns to work for a new owner. And it seemingly would help Sherman’s transition from the Cleveland Indians, an organization for whom he was part-owner, to the Royals.

Yet, the names connected so far with the Royals search don’t inspire a lot of confidence. And for a team that hasn’t cracked 60 wins in the past two seasons, confidence is a must right about now.

Wilson, who has interviewed for the job, has zero name recognition outside of diehard Royals fans and those who cover the team. And Matheny, despite winning the pennant with the Cardinals in 2013 and taking them to another in 2014, was fired when he lost the clubhouse for old-school ways–and the Cardinals instantly improved after he was let go, winning their division and making it to the NLCS this year.

It’s unknown whether Mike Matheny will be announced today as manager of the #Royals or after the Series.

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 24, 2019

The Royals are also reportedly considering Pedro Grifol, the team’s quality control and catching coach who’s been part of the big league staff since 2013. He has never managed a team at any level, though has also received interest from the Giants.

This all begs the question: why aren’t the Royals looking outside of the organization for their next manager?

Both the Angels (Joe Maddon) and Phillies (Joe Girardi) hired guys from outside their organization. The Cubs went with David Ross, who recently worked as an analyst for ESPN. And the Padres just hired Jayce Tingler, a former Mizzou Tiger who had recently served as the bench coach for the Texas Rangers.

Of the final four teams in the playoffs this season, three of them were led by managers hired from outside their organization. The Astros hired A.J. Hinch after he resigned from the Padres’ front office. The Nationals hired Dave Martinez away from the Cubs. And the Yankees pried Aaron Boone away from the television booth.

Only the Cardinals had stayed within the organization, and that may have had more to do with who they fired (Matheny) than who they hired (Mike Shildt).

Sherman is taking over the Royals after owning a portion of the Indians since 2016. While Tribe manager Terry Francona is unavailable, other names on that coaching staff include Sandy Alomar Jr., who played in the Majors for 20 seasons; bench coach Brad Mills, who managed the Astros for three seasons; and pitching coach Carl Willis, under whose tutelage four pitchers have won Cy Young Awards.

Here are five other outside candidates the Kansas City Royals could consider, and who have been considered by other teams this offseason:

Ron Washington, who won consecutive pennants with the Rangers at the start of the decade and was a finalist for the Padres top job;
Dusty Baker, who managed four teams over 22 seasons and was a finalist for the Phillies top job;
Buck Showalter, who managed four teams over 20 seasons and who was in the mix for both the Phillies and Angels top job;
Joe Espada, Astros bench coach who interviewed for the Cubs top job; and
Stubby Clapp, Cardinals first-base coach who managed in their minors for years and who has interviewed, or will interview, for the Pirates top job.
What would it hurt to interview these coaches?

Worst-case scenario, it drills into Moore’s brain that he needs to stick with a coach he knows, like Grifol, Matheny, or Wilson. Best-case scenario, one of these coaches blows away Moore, and a little bit of new blood gets mixed into the on-field portion of the Kansas City Royals.

By not even interviewing outside candidates, Moore is doubling-down on not only his legacy in Kansas City, but his employment with the Royals. He’s going to be connected at the hip with this next hire. By not even considering outside options, he’s not doing himself any favors.

Nor is he doing his employer any favors.

By only considering people within the Kansas City Royals organization for the managerial position, Dayton Moore is wasting a great opportunity to shine a light on his team. If he hires one of the known candidates for the position, no one outside of Kansas City will care, blink an eye, or take notice.

That’s the worst thing about this whole situation: at a time when excitement can be added, Moore declines to do so.

It’s all so incredibly boring.

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Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at the Colorado Rockies’ upcoming free agents and decide whether the team should pursue any.
Welcome to the continuation of our “Kansas City Royals: Making the case” series for free agency. After qualifying for a playoff spot in back-to-back seasons, the Colorado Rockies came back down to earth in 2019. Winning just 71 games, it was a humbling season for manager Bud Black and company. Luckily for them, they won’t have too many questions to answer in regards to who to retain or let go this winter.

Per Spotrac’s official list, there are just four pieces within the Rockies organization that are set to hit the open market within the next couple of weeks. Are any of the names worth taking a flyer on? Let’s find out.

Chris Rusin, P

Rusin pitched a total of one (1) major league inning in 2019. He gave up four runs. A 6.58 ERA in Triple-A is a cause for concern. Rusin tossed 54.2 innings in 2018 but was far below replacement level. At 33, he offers no upside.

Verdict: Pass

D.J. Johnson, P

Johnson is 30 years old, yet has appeared at the MLB level in just the last two seasons. After picking up his lone career win in 6.2 innings with Colorado a year ago, the right-handed reliever saw his ERA jump to 5.04 this past season. He wouldn’t be the worst option available on the market but if Dayton Moore can refrain from making Johnson a Royal, no one would object.

Verdict: Pass

Drew Butera, C

Many fans will remember Butera for his work with the Royals from 2015-2018. A stellar defensive backup for Salvador Perez, Butera was a part of the 2015 World Series team. Aside from 2016, he’s never been even remotely close to an average hitter and at 36 years old, his defense could soon lose a ton of value. A Butera signing would make for a great rush of memories and a couple of hair flips, but that’s it.

Alonso had a terrible 2019. Posting a .199/.296/.346 line and seeing his home run total decrease by more than 50 percent from the year before, Alonso’s play has worsened since he made the All-Star team in 2017. He could be a candidate for a bounceback season in 2020 but the last thing the Royals need is an inconsistent first baseman.

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Birthdays are always exciting, but some can be more special than others. Nationals outfielder Juan Soto will celebrate his 21st in one of the most epic fashions imaginable on Friday — when he plays in World Series Game 3 against the Astros, the first World Series game in Washington since 1933.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 22 WSH 5, HOU 4 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 23 WSH 12, HOU 3 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 25 HOU 4, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 26 HOU 8, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 27 HOU 7, WSH 1 Watch
Gm 6 Oct. 29 WSH 7, HOU 2 Watch
Gm 7 Oct. 30 WSH 6, HOU 2 Watch
shop Shop for postseason gear: Nationals | Astros
Postseason schedule and bracket
If Soto homers, he’ll be just the fourth player to hit a birthday home run in a postseason game, and the second to do that in the World Series. Kolten Wong hit a homer on his 25th birthday in Game 2 of the 2015 National League Division Series for the Cardinals, and Evan Longoria hit one on his 28th in Game 3 of the 2013 American League Division Series for the Rays. The only player to do it in the World Series was the Royals’ Willie Aikens in Game 1 in 1980 — when he hit two homers on his 26th birthday.

Soto made his Major League debut on May 20, 2018, and he’s been wowing us ever since. To celebrate his birthday, here are 21 facts and figures.

World Series
1) Soto homered in his World Series debut in Game 1, when he was still 20 years old. He became the fourth-youngest player in postseason history to homer in the World Series, trailing only Miguel Cabrera, Andruw Jones and Mickey Mantle. He also became the second-youngest player to homer in his World Series debut, trailing only Jones.

2) Soto also had a stolen base in Game 1, becoming the youngest player in postseason history to homer and steal a base in the same game. The youngest had been Derek Jeter, at 22 years and 105 days old in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Championship Series.

Soto swipes second in 8th
Soto swipes second in 8th
Oct. 22nd, 2019
3) Overall in Game 1, Soto had three hits, including two extra-base hits. He became the second-youngest player in World Series history with multiple extra-base hits in a game, trailing only 19-year-old Jones in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series — two years before Soto was born.

Must C: Soto shines in WS debut
Must C: Soto shines in WS debut
Oct. 23rd, 2019
4) Soto’s three hits made him the fifth-youngest player in World Series history with three or more in a game. The 18-year-old Freddie Lindstrom had two such games in 1924, Jones had two in 1996, and Joe Garagiola had one in 1946 and Mickey Mantle one in 1952 — both as younger 20-year-olds than Soto.

5) In Game 2, Soto hit a double, notching the sixth extra-base hit of his postseason career — all of which have come this year. With six extra-base hits before turning 21, he tied Cabrera for most in a postseason career at 20 years old or younger.

Soto’s double to right
Soto’s double to right
Oct. 24th, 2019
6) In the seventh inning of Game 2, with the Nationals leading, 3-2, and runners on second and third with two outs, Ryan Pressly issued an intentional walk to Soto. The walk was notable for a few reasons. First of all, it was the first intentional walk by an Astros pitcher in 2019, including the regular season and postseason, certainly some measure of respect for the youngster. Second, it made Soto the second-youngest player to be intentionally walked in a World Series game. The only player younger was a 20-year, 46-day-old Claudell Washington for the A’s in Game 4 of the 1974 World Series.

Martinez on Soto being walked
Martinez on Soto being walked
Oct. 24th, 2019
7) Soto has hit cleanup in each of the first two games of the World Series — something he has done through the entire postseason. He’s the third-youngest player to start at cleanup in a World Series, behind only Cabrera, who did so six times in 2003, and Ty Cobb, who did so five times in 1907. That’s a pretty short list.

Rest of the postseason
8) Including his World Series homer, Soto has three home runs this postseason — all of which he hit before his birthday. The only player with more homers in the postseason before turning 21 is Cabrera, who hit four in 2003.

9) In the Nationals’ winner-take-all Game 5 in the NLDS at Dodger Stadium, Soto delivered with a game-tying solo homer off Clayton Kershaw in the top of the eighth, right after Anthony Rendon had gone yard. And it wasn’t just any home run — it was a Statcast-projected 449-foot homer. That’s the longest of Soto’s career, and it also helped the Nationals pull off a road win to clinch the series.

Statcast: Soto’s clutch 449-ft. HR
Statcast: Soto’s clutch 449-ft. HR
Oct. 10th, 2019
10) The fact that the home run came off Kershaw was notable, too. At 20 years and 349 days old that day, Soto was the youngest player to hit a home run off Kershaw in Kershaw’s career, including the regular season and postseason.

11) That wasn’t Soto’s only clutch moment this postseason. In the NL Wild Card Game, which the Nats trailed, 3-0, after two innings, it was Soto’s hit off Milwaukee’s Josh Hader in the bottom of the eighth that put the team ahead, in part due to Trent Grisham’s error in right field. At 20 years and 341 days old that night, Soto became the youngest player with a go-ahead hit in the eighth inning or later of a winner-take-all playoff game, according to Elias. The youngest was 21-year-old Edgar Renteria on his walk-off single for the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

Soto’s hit clears bases for lead
Soto’s hit clears bases for lead
Oct. 1st, 2019
Regular-season career
12) Soto finished the 2019 regular season with 56 career home runs. That’s tied with Tony Conigliaro for second most in Major League history before turning 21. The only player with more was Mel Ott, with 61.

13) Part of how Soto got to 56 career homers? His 34 this season certainly helped. Soto’s regular-season homers as a 20-year-old in 2019 were tied with Frank Robinson in 1956 for second most by a player in a season before turning 21. The only player with more was Ott, with 42 in 1929.

Soto’s 30th homer of season
Soto’s 30th homer of season
Aug. 31st, 2019
14) And of course, the other component to Soto’s 56 home runs was his 22 in 2018. Soto tied Bryce Harper in 2012 for second most by a player in a single season as a teenager. The only teen with more was Conigliaro, with 24 in 1964.

15) One aspect of the game Soto has been quite good at is maintaining plate discipline. As a 19-year-old rookie in 2018, he had a 18.3 percent chase rate, which was ninth lowest of 143 Major Leaguers to see at least 1,000 out-of-zone pitches. It went slightly up in 2019 with increased exposure — to 20.3 percent — but Soto’s rank among his peers was still outstanding. He had the 14th-lowest chase rate this year out of 146 batters to see at least 1,000 out-of-zone pitches. As a 20-year-old.

16) More evidence of that plate discipline? All of the walks he draws. Soto has 12 career regular-season games with three or more walks. That’s three more such games than any other player before turning 21 on record (since 1908).

Soto’s bases-loaded walk
Soto’s bases-loaded walk
Sep. 23rd, 2019
17) Soto walked 108 times in 2019, the second most in a season by a player 20 or younger. The only player that young with more walks in a season was Ott, with 113 in 1929. No other 20-year-old or younger had even 90 walks in a season.

18) Soto’s first start in the cleanup spot last year came on June 21, at 19 years and 239 days old. He was the youngest player to start at cleanup in a game since César Cedeño in 1970.

19) He ended up starting eight games in that spot in 2018, third most by any teenager in a single season on record. Rusty Staub started 35 games at cleanup in 1963, and Ott started 24 at that spot in 1928.

20) Soto hit two home runs at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 2018, at 19 years and 231 days old. He was the youngest player with a regular-season homer at any iteration of Yankee Stadium since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989. If we include the postseason, he was the youngest since Jones in the 1996 World Series. Either way, quite a feat.

Statcast: Soto’s 2 HRs vs. Yanks
Statcast: Soto’s 2 HRs vs. Yanks
Jun. 13th, 2018
21) The circumstances around Soto’s Major League debut on May 20, 2018, and a game he played on June 18 will pretty much always be worth recounting. Soto debuted on May 20 at Nationals Park against the Dodgers, going 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. Pretty standard debut, not much worth talking about two years later. But five days earlier on May 15, the Nationals had been playing a game at Nationals Park against the Yankees when it began to rain. The game was suspended and set to be made up on June 18. Simultaneously on May 15, the Double-A Harrisburg Senators — Soto’s team at the time — were dealing with rain on the eastern seaboard as well. The Senators’ game at the Bowie Baysox originally scheduled for May 14 was suspended to the 15th, so they completed that game — but were unable to complete the regularly scheduled game for the 15th, which was suspended and completed on the 16th.

When a game is suspended, stats for that game count for the date of the original scheduling — in both the Minors and Majors. That’s important here.

Must C: Soto homers before debut
Must C: Soto homers before debut
Jun. 18th, 2018
Soto, still in Double-A, played in those games. In the game on the 16th — technically the second time the Senators took the field on the 16th, for the regularly scheduled game — he homered. On the same day, his team finished a game that had counted for the 15th, in which he went 3-for-4.

By the time the Nats and Yanks resumed their game in June, Soto was up with the team. Naturally, he played in the game — and, of course, he homered. If you look at any record book, he’s listed as both going 3-for-4 for Harrisburg and 1-for-2 with a homer for the Nationals on May 15 — a day when in reality, his team played only one game … and it was a resumption of a game from May 14.

Confused? It isn’t exactly simple. But the fact is this: Soto managed to hit a home run in a Major League game that counts for May 15, five days before his Major League debut of May 20. Quite the claim to fame.

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Royals prospect Kris Bubic wins fan vote (#VoteOmar) for the Starting Pitcher of the Year MiLBY (MiLBY?):

Kris Bubic, the sixth-ranked Royals prospect, brought electric stuff in only his second year as a pro, posting a 11-5 record and 2.23 ERA across both Class A levels. Over 149 1/3 innings, he recorded a Minor League-leading 185 strikeouts while walking 42. The 22-year-old, who spent last summer in the Pioneer League, was so good to start the season in the South Atlantic League that he was promoted after nine starts.

At Royals Farm Report, Drew Osborne profiles potential stud reliever Tyler Zuber.

I expect another solid season out of Zuber. He will probably end up in Omaha sooner rather than later and will have to adjust to the MLB ball which will bare watching. Zuber will be Rule 5 eligible after the 2020 season so the Royals will have to decide whether or not to protect him next year. After this season, and if health stays on his side, the easy answer will be yes.

Jeffrey Flanagan talks about the friendship of Mike Matheny and Cal Eldred.

Royals pitching coach Cal Eldred has been close friends with new manager Mike Matheny for close to 25 years. Eldred and Matheny go on hunting trips together, as they have done on treks to Wyoming and Colorado in the past. Their families, with four children each, take vacations together. Eldred and Matheny first met when Matheny broke in with the Brewers in 1994 and Eldred already was established on the Brewers staff. Their careers later crossed again for two years in St. Louis from 2003-04, and then again for three years there when Matheny was manager and Eldred was a special advisor to the general manager. In other words, the friendship runs deep.

Speaking of managers, it looks like Pedro Grifol is out of the running for manager of the Giants

The finalists are former Phillies manager and Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro. Royals quality-control coach Pedro Grifol, one of the first to interview, is no longer under consideration.

Sean Thornton at Bleeding Royal Blue would have preferred Grifol to Matheny.

KC Kingdom has gone mostly quiet in the last week. But KOK is still cranking out articles (lists):

David Scharff slideshows “Pitchers that could start 30 games in 2020”
Michael Huckins continues their team-by-team series with “Making the case for free agents, Pittsburgh Pirates”
As does Shawn Bauman: “Making the case for free agency, Marlins”
The Best of Royals Review (TM) is now ready to get into the meat of the offseason with some fun new (old) articles. Coming off this week’s 2019 SBNation Off-Season Sim, let’s look back at the very first one back in 2012: SB Nation Winter Meeting Simulation Thread*

It was a wild success with almost all teams being active and money being splashed around like crazy. The signing of Zack Greinke at 6/$175M caused much consternation. He would sign for 6/$147M in real life. The Yankees signed Josh Hamilton for 6/$152M versus the 5/$125M he got from Anaheim. “Internet darling” (Max’s words) Shaun Marcum was hilariously signed for 5/$52M. In real life he went for 1/$7.7M. He would only throw 103 IP the rest of his career.

This was also the beginning of OMD’s always entertaining tenure as the Shadow Royals. He tried really hard to trade Wil Myers but didn’t get any deals to his liking. He signed Ryan Dempster. He picked up Rickie Weeks and Jake Westbrook in cheap trades for Aaron Crow and Christian Colon. He made his crown jewel trade of Moose for Trevor Bauer. And he made an even more controversial one: Lamb, Montgomery, Eiler Hernandez, and Yordano Ventura for Bud Norris and the Astros eating much of Frenchy’s contract.

*(I still contend that picture “looks like a young Ed O’Neill after smelling a fart”.)

Following Max’s story in yesterday’s Rumblings about automated strike zones coming “when the time is right”, Manfred also confirmed it’s going to be used in some minor league parks next year.

The Cubs lowered ticket prices after a disappointing season. Though it has been suggested that this is only because they have a disproportionate number of games in the chilly first month of the season.

More Cubs news. At Fangraphs, Craig Edwards asks “Are the Cubs Really Going to Ignore Their Window for Contention?”

He also posits “The Yankees Don’t Spend Like They Used to”.

The Yankees haven’t been saving money over the last decade. Individuals and families save money; MLB franchises increase profits. The Yankees have spent this time increasing profits and looking for a way to win like they used to without spending like it. The past two seasons have proved successful in that regard. The resulting profits also serve to decrease the club’s chances of winning a World Series. It’s a choice the Yankees have made that differs considerably from the previous decade. The Yankees are trying hard to achieve massive profits and winning baseball, and those two goals often compete against each other. They did so last offseason and at the trade deadline, and it will happen again this winter. We will see what choice they make.

I actually got to watch some movies this past couple of weeks so we’ll do some movie reviews. Heck, 3 of the movies are even from 2019!

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Narrative-wise, it comes after Endgame and, in a lot of ways, it’s freed from the burdern of the MCU. We can’t pretend the snap never happened and, in fact, they integrate it nicely into the plot. However, the stakes can’t be dialed back entirely and we get nods to the Sinister Six and multiverse. With Spidey partially freed from Stark’s shadow and Nick Fury adrift in time, they latch onto Mysterio in their own interesting ways. There’s a lot of misdirection and Gyllenhaal sells almost all of it well. It also has a ton of the necessary light-hearted fun that the franchise requires with Peter’s classmates getting more entertaining by the movie. It’s the best Spider-Man since Spider-Man 2.

Detective Pikachu (2019) – Going in, I had a mixed bag of expectations. It looked bigger budget than most video game adaptations and brought in A-lister Ryan Reynolds. The preview tried to sell a main character with daddy issues, a noir mystery, and some more depth to a science fiction world that blends the modern idealized version of the 50s space age with “Blade Runner” futurism. It ultimately comes off as a budget version of the plot/characters noir buddy mystery of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” meet the setting of everyday magic “Harry Potter” with the high level of polish you expect from a franchise that has a GDP higher than a number of small countries. It’s safe and limited but entertaining.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) – The first Lego movie was amazing. It hit the Pixar balance of being for both adults and kids, both in comedy and in emotion. However, a sequel was always an impossible task. It’s just not as good as the original – it couldn’t be. Then that’s combined with some development hell and the usual perils of sequilitis and you get a jumble where the world building is even more haphazard, the characters are a bit more caricature, and it just can’t be as creative. It’s still pretty good, but the first movie isn’t fair to any sequel: it was so good and so clever that it raised the bar while burning the narrative bridges behind it so it couldn’t be followed. If there was no Lego Movie 1 (the plot doesn’t quite allow for that but let’s whistle past that), Lego Movie 2 would have been viewed as “good”. However, if this was the first Lego Movie, there wouldn’t have been a second.

If you want a “bonus”, I also watched The Tuxedo (2002) for some reason. I was hoping for generic Jackie Chan fish-out-of-water action comedy paired with a wacky sidekick. Instead, it was even cheesier than that, had generally bad acting, even for an action movie, and had too many special effects, taking away from the Jackie Chan stunts. It really did feel like an adolescent Disney movie. It was bad enough to be MST3K’d, which makes me feel sad as I love Jackie Chan.

Did you know there have been 69 (and counting) Lego video games?!? They’re split pretty evenly between “original games” and “licensed games”. For the former, I only recall a couple of those games. Most were just released on PC and a number of the console ones could accurately fall under the category of “shovelware”. Lego City Undercover got a pretty good push with decent reviews. I remember the box art for a couple of other games like the Bionicle ones. And, after reading the description of Lego Racers, a creative studio could make that work in modern gaming, especially on handhelds. Or, god forbid, monetize it with microtransactions.

But today we’re going to talk about the first real licensed game of the Lego series: Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. Star Wars video games have been around almost as long as the movies. But this particular game combined two popular licenses: Star Wars and Lego and created a game that sold extremely well (over 6 million copies) and earned a lot of reviews that mostly boiled down to a reaction of “surprisingly fun”.

It was a fairly simple multiplayer game meant for players of all ages. For the youngest, there were no deaths, simple puzzles, and cartoon violence. For fans of the franchise, it played through highlights of all three prequel movies, not unlike the SNES series of games, with the characters, settings, and John Williams score fans had come to know. And, for gamers, it was a pretty decent hack-and-slash with adorable cartoon graphics and tons of unlockables and replayability.

The direct sequel, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, sold even better and their success would lead developer Traveller’s Tales to create games for Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, Marvel, and more. In fact, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has already been announced for next year.

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Weekend Rumblings – News for September 21, 2019

Danny Duffy talks to Jeffrey Flanagan about an adjustment to his delivery.

“Moving over on the rubber has given the changeup more real estate now and hitters just can’t give up on it,” Duffy said. “A lot of dudes weren’t offering at it before. But now I can use it more. It’s in my back pocket now.

“It has the same action as it always has but it has more room to work.”

In his Friday notes, David Lesky looks at who could be cleared from the 40-man roster this winter.

The tier of guys most likely to get DFAed includes Jacob Barnes, Kevin McCarthy, newly acquired Randy Rosario, Humberto Arteaga, Cheslor Cuthbert and Jorge Bonifacio. That clears six spots which probably isn’t enough. If you go down to tier two, I see some players who might surprise, but also haven’t really done much to justify their roster spot. I think Conner Greene, Arnaldo Hernandez, Kyle Zimmer (yes, it’s possible) and Ryan O’Hearn all could go. Add in that I expect Cam Gallagher to get traded and there’s a decent chance Richard Lovelady gets dealt and that definitely clears the spots the Royals need.

Adalberto Mondesi made history.

Adalberto Mondesi will become the first player in modern MLB history with 40+ stolen bases & 10+ triples in fewer than 475 plate appearances in a season.

Shawn Bauman looks at the worst strikeout performance by Royals hitters.

One way the Dodgers are better equipped for the post-season than the Astros.

Andrew Friedman is nearing the end of his deal with the Dodgers, but seems likely to stay put.

The Marlins extend manager Don Mattingly.

The Braves clinch a second straight division title.

Peter Alonso becomes just the second rookie to hit 50 home runs in a season.

Padres skipper Andy Green is on the hot seat.

Remembering Global Life Park in its last week as the home of the Texas Rangers.

Yankees pitcher Domingo German won’t pitch the rest of the season following domestic violence allegations.

Former Rays Aubrey Huff and Seth McClung are feuding on Twitter.

The Twins seem to be cursed against the Yankees.

Which hitter is most 2019?

What’s the best weird baseball video game ever?

The Greenland soccer league has the shortest season.

The NBA tries to clamp down on tampering.

North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970.

A spooky black spot on Jupiter is just a shadow.

A complete list of Emmy nominations.

Your song of the day is John Coltrane with Bass Blues.