31 Comments

Did Greinke call his own pitches yesterday? I couldn't watch until after he left, but would make sense in the change in pitch mix.

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He did, but I also don’t think that would change too much. He’s so involved in the game planning anyway. But it’s a good point!

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I had the same thought. I tried to look back and see when he started using it in 2022 to see if it coincided with his improved stats in the second half, but I couldn't find that info.

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He didn’t really use the slider too much after the first few games. I guess it was relatively light usage, but not like yesterday. Seemed like it had a slightly different path. Leave it to Zack to reinvent something in year 20.

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Those sliders Greinke was throwing were borderline illegal. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing a lot more of that!

I've mentioned before that sometimes Zack looks like a guy conducting physics experiments involving a baseball. The old saying is that in baseball you never know what you might see from one game to the next. In Zack's case you never know what you might see from one pitch to the next.

Like you I'm unconvinced that he can pitch effectively all season long. But it will probably be fun to watch him try!

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He is definitely fun to watch. Anything different is generally interesting and he’s definitely different out there.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by David Lesky

I was glad to see that Carlos Hernandez got his velocity back. He can be nasty when he locates that fastball!

Like you I was glad to see BWJ walk twice. But let's be honest about this: his second walk came on a "ball 4" that could have and probably should have been a called strike.

Still I'm hopeful that he can get his walk rate up this year. Otherwise his OB% will remain mired in averageness at best.

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I was at the game so I didn’t see if it was actually a ball, but even so, I appreciate his approach in taking that pitch on 3-1. I feel like last year he swings at it and doesn’t do damage. I’d rather it be 3-2 than him hit a lazy fly ball.

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Great minds think alike! So do you and I.

I meant to mention that he probably couldn't have done anything with that pitch anyway so it was a good sign that he laid off it.

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Definitely. I think it's a good sign, but we'll need to see a lot more of it. So far, so good at least.

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A couple of things I noted I'm watching the game from home:

MJ made a really nice play on the foul ball. I know he had a rough day but that was encouraging.

Rex gave Isbell a hard time for diving for the Buxton triple, suggesting he could have been held to a triple, but I don't see how. He could have held him to a double by playing it off the wall, maybe. It was just a well placed drive from a fast dude.

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Yeah that was a really nice play. I thought he looked good on typical outfielder plays, which is nice to see.

I also agree that Isbel was fine to dive there. It may have been a triple either way.

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Just another thought about BWJ's OB%...

He'll probably have one or two seasons where his BABIP is unusually high and his overall BA is around .300. But he seems to me like a guy whose BA is normally going to live in the .265 to .280 range, and not much more than that because of all the swings and misses.

Theoretically he could cut down on the swings and misses but that would probably cost him a lot of XBH as he focuses more on contact than on hard contact. It's unlikely that the juice would be worth the squeeze.

So for him drawing a lot of walks will be crucial if he wants to get his OB% up to a respectable level.

Agree? Disagree? Am I missing something?

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He doesn’t actually swing and miss that much. He’s not a contact artist or anything but his swinging strike rate was 11.6%. In the range of JT Realmuto, Ronald Acuña, etc. It’s all about the approach. If he commits to a zone, the sky is the limit. If he doesn’t, there’s probably a ceiling.

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It's interesting to me that you regard his swing-and-miss rate as low or at least acceptable. To me it's ungodly high. But I grew up and developed as a baseball fan watching and admiring guys like Rod Carew and Paul Molitor and George Brett and Tony Gwynn so my perspective is probably skewed by those experiences. Almost nobody these days avoid the swings and misses like those guys did!

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It's all relative to the league. None of those guys faced the movement from basically every single pitcher like today's hitters do. It's just different. In 1987, let's say, three pitchers had a strikeout rate of 22.4% or above. Why that number? Because it was the league strikeout rate in 2022. Is that hitters or pitchers? Probably a little bit of both, but Carew or Molitor or Brett or Gwynn or whoever weren't facing sweepers like Lopez has followed by 97 from Jorge Lopez, 96 from Griffin Jax with a slider that moves like his does and then 101 from Jhoan Duran. Pitching is nastier than ever and hitting is harder than ever.

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It’s very mature…but I don’t have a whole lot to take away from yesterday’s game to be honest. Didn’t love that Garrett and Coleman struggled with the zone…but that’s a little of what you get with them. You gave up 2 runs so nothing really to write about there. Have to see more before worry about the offense yet…but it is a little reminder it isn’t Spring Training anymore. I think maybe the only take away I took from it was that I wanted Lopez on my team. He’s a legit good pitcher…and it was a little reminder that the Royals didn’t go get him when (I think they could have) they had the chance.

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Anyone who can actually take a lot away from one game should be the highest paid scout in the world, maybe by 10 or 12x more than the next highest.

I would have loved for the Royals to get Lopez. I also don't care so much that they didn't given that he's only under team control through 2024 and I think the Marlins wanted a very specific type of player that the Royals just don't/didn't have. I would have been targeting something different if I were them, but that's what they wanted.

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The Marlins apparently wanted a reigning batting champion. So, uh, I get it. 😂

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I think Arraez is a nice player, but I also have a hunch it won't get better than it did for him in 2022. They wanted to load up on contact and I totally get it. The Royals certainly couldn't provide that type of player.

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Good read thank you. I love that Greinke is constantly improving his arsenal, I hope he gets all those extra strikeouts this year. Pitching keeping twins to 2 runs is great, so theoretically should have been a win. (a little nervous for lyles and Keller but here we go). Great crowd and opening day jitters could get even the most veteran of players to flub a few, so I am chalking MJ performance up to that. I have been a little wary of Vinnies current hitting, but maybe that gives Pratto a call up, and I do think the Pasquatch will return to form and exceed it soon enough. I liked Lovelady, but the tweet thing did take a little shine off for me as he is just coming back from Tommy John. That being said I am glad Twitter and Facebook weren't around in my twenties. I kind of wondered if some trade thing was happening as it took them so long to post final roster (and yes Sherman throwing an extra half billion in and some crazy Ohtani deal did cross my opening day hopeful dreams)

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I don't think there's much to worry about with Pasquantino. He mentioned a few weeks ago that because of his toe tap, he takes some time with his timing. Last year, he was hitting .235 with one extra base hit through his first 45 PA. He went .287/.367/.625 after that leading up to his callup. I don't think Pasquantino is going to provide the opportunity for Pratto.

As for that final spot, yeah, we knew they were deciding how to make room for the third NRI and when it wasn't a DFA on Wednesday, it was pretty clear it would be a move like that one. Just didn't necessarily see Lovelady getting traded personally, but oh well.

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thanks for the detail on Vinnie! And maybe its bc I'm old, but I love the title of this article

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Thank you! I thought of it in the seventh. Realized it was either a great title or I’d be happy to not be able to use it. Win-win!

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I know it's only one inning, but if you had told me to watch Hernandez because he's a top 5 reliever in the league, I would have believed you. He looked like a future closer with the tempo and heat he brought.

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He looked dominant. If he can throw strikes, he's good to go. Big if, but the potential is there.

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Apr 1, 2023Liked by David Lesky

Well one can definitely tell Opening Day ranks highly for you. Absolutely fantastic break down. Didnt go our way but I appreciate you highlighting the positives. Also spot on with Lovelady. Cant help but be a little bummed it didn't work out. Hate to speculate on personalities, but it just seemed this was a poor match from the beginning. Than an injury. Hope he gets the chance he deserves in ATL.

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I'm curious to see how Vinny looks this weekend. I was a little concerned with his Spring. Not based on numbers, but like you said, he seems to be pressing a bit. I fully believe in his bat, but I also think their has been a lot of pressure put on him to be great. A lot of media appearances in the offseason, a lot of expectations he has for himself. Hopefully he can work through all that and just be himself.

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I don’t really think there’s a lot we can learn from any player in a three-game sample regardless. But it would be nice to see him get going a little bit.

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Woof. David….I’ve seen enough through 1.5 games to know that our defense is NOT going to be good. Can Isbel not throw out a runner at home from 10 feet from the infield grass after Witt completely botches an easy out at third. WOOF

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David, my wife doesn’t care about baseball so I have no outlet. Here are my observations after watching every pitch of 2 full games. No response back necessary. Lol

Love the pitch clock. Thank you MLB for not wasting as much of my time on useless actions. Love it. About time. While the Royals have only given up 4 runs….they have been quite fortunate. The Twins have looked like the better team both games. Defense….it is possible it could be worse than we thought? Offense, they will be fine. They were much better yesterday than game 1. Now, will they be an above average offense? My confidence may be wavering a bit already on that…but they will still be an average offense. Give the pitching coach a raise already. Not because of the starters…like i said, they could have easily lost 6-0 both games….but the bullpen. If THAT Chapman is the one we see most of the year you saw a solution and found it for him. This will be ok fellas. Unfortunately probably not this year…but we are moving in the right direction! Royals record for starting the year with scoreless streak at 18 in franchise history. This….this….is why I really struggle…I want to…but I just can’t believe spring stats no matter how much I’m told they are ok to believe. They just find a way to remind me every year that come game 1…it isn’t spring anymore.

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