Good afternoon, everyone!
I know it has been quite a while since you all last heard from me. For any of you who are currently in Life 101, you know that life can and will throw anything possible at you.
While life has been trying to suck everything out of me, I have had a little bit of time to simulate Spring Training and April in my Out of the Park 20 rebuild attempt of the Kansas City Royals.
Let’s quickly dive into a few highlights and big moves from the previous month, but before I do, please remember that it is still early in the season and OOTP is not always an accurate depiction of how a team may perform (the Royals are currently 9-16 heading into play today).
Traded LHP Danny Duffy (retaining 40% of his remaining contract) to the Houston Astros for LHP Wade Miley and CF Miles Straw (March 22, 2019)
Claimed RHP Miguel Castro off of waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and optioned RHP Kyle Zimmer to Triple-A Omaha (March 23, 2019)
RHP Jorge López was placed on the 10-day IL and RHP Jake Junis had his contract purchased from Triple-A Omaha (April 1, 2019)
RHP Miguel Castro was placed on the 10-day IL and RHP Kyle Zimmer was recalled from Triple-A Omaha (April 13, 2019)
RHP Carlos Estevez was claimed off of waivers from the Colorado Rockies and RHP Kyle Zimmer was optioned to Triple-A Omaha (April 16, 2019)
RHP Miguel Castro was activated from the 10-day IL and RHP Carlos Estevez was designated for assignment (April 24, 2019)
RHP Jorge López was sent on rehab assignment to Double-A Northwest Arkansas (April 26, 2019)
Whit Merrifield has led the way as he is the team leader in both batting average and RBIs. His offensive production is a huge reason why the team is currently above .500, and he his current production has him on pace to be an 8.5 WAR player. A pleasant surprise has been the ability of Chelsor Cuthbert to hit for average and power. He currently sports a .317/.345/.524 slash line to go along with 4 HR out of the eighth spot in the order. Adalberto Mondesi is also putting in a solid season as he is receiving routine playing time sporting a slash line of .330/.364/.495, but has put that to use with his speed as he has stolen 14 bases without being caught.
On the pitching side of things, we currently employ a bullpen day two to three times in a given week. A huge beneficiary of this has been Ian Kennedy who leads the team with a 3-0 record and 2.84 ERA although his 1.21 WHIP suggests that he is unlikely to continue pitching this well. Rule 5 Draft Pick Sam McWilliams has also done well as a follower in the bullpen day system and his 3.51 ERA is a surprise given that he had not pitched above Double-A coming into the season. His WHIP is a 1.29, but if he can reduce his walks, he should turn into a more effective pitcher.
In his second year at Triple-A Omaha, middle infield prospect Nicky López could be pushing for a roster spot by the end of the year as he has a slash line of .369/.425/.485 and despite a lack of power, his continued presence on base is positive for a prospect with an advanced approach at the plate. Royals fans will be familiar with Brady Singer, and despite an Opening Day blip for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he anchors a rotation that has helped put the Naturals in first place in the Northern Division of the Texas League. The final prospect to examine is LHP Richard Lovelady who is once again thriving at Triple-A Omaha. With his solid mound presence, he could be another prospect who gets called up in the mid- to late season.
This may be the part that followers of this series care about, but I believe that it is important to track all parts of an organization when focusing on a rebuild like the Royals. Because of the albatross contracts of Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, and Alex Gordon, I was hamstrung on the budget which is one reason I elected to move Dufy, even if I had to eat some money. This will have a negative impact on my ability to develop talent, but hopefully, the limited resources in play will allow me to construct solid depth in the Minor Leagues.
The team is actually off to a good start relative to their real-life performance. I believe that pitching is a huge factor as most of the starting rotation has been solid, but the bullpen has also done a good job closing down games. However, there is solid run production that has helped cover up a few blips. The team is currently 15-13 through April and sits 1 ½ games back of Minnesota who leads the division. We were swept in a two game set early in the year by the Twins, but managed to win a three game series in Tampa Bay after splitting a four game set with the Yankees the previous weekend. However, the team closed April out with a five-game winning streak that it takes into May when we finish three games out of a four game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at home.
That’s all I have as far as updating you all on the big picture for the team, but you can feel free to ask any questions in the comments. Until the May update, I will be simulating the next month of games where the winning will hopefully continue.