Minor League Minutes: 8/14/2021

Apologies for the lack of content up at the site so far this week. Been a little bit of a hectic week for me but I should be able to at least get some Minutes up 4-5 times a week now. In any case, thanks to all of you who read our site and follow us on Twitter every day.

The weekly leaderboards are updated, and the RBI leaders tell a pretty fair story about who some of the best performers in the system are this year.

RBI

1.) Bobby Witt Jr.: 67
2.) MJ Melendez: 65
3.) Michael Massey + Nick Pratto: 60
5.) Vinnie Pasquantino: 59

Be sure to check out the most recent edition of the podcast where Joel and Vinnie Pasquantino talk all things MiLB.

Now feels like a good time to refresh the top 51 prospects list before any potential September call-ups and graduations.

#31: Rylan Kaufman, LHP

#30: Luca Tresh, C

#29: Tucker Bradley, OF

#28: Anthony Veneziano, LHP

#27: Will Klein, RHP

Thoughts on Edward Olivares

If you follow this site much, you’ll notice that I’m not very critical of the Royals front office very often. I try to respect that the minds in that organization are way better suited for the job than I am and I actually tend to think they do a bang up job 99.9% of the time. The way they have treated Edward Olivares this season has been nothing short of malpractice. For an organization that prides itself on the way they treat their players, they sure as hell haven’t been willing to treat Edward Olivares with any kind of respect as it relates to a fair chance.

Some will point to prospects in the past that haven’t panned out and I understand that. Frank Schwindel and Johnny Giavotella are two guys who come to mind that fans sort of infamously clamored for and then were never any good. Olivares, while much closer to Giavotella than Schwindel (who was always a non-prospect) is better than both of those guys buy a fair margin because he’s so much more athletic. He can really run and has flashed legitimately serviceable power this season between AAA and Kansas City (he’s hit 17 HR this year). Even if Olivares is nothing more than a 4th outfielder, which I have said is more than likely several times, he still deserves a chance to prove that he can’t start in some capacity just like everyone else.

Now, maybe you’re in the camp of “life isn’t fair,” or “they know more than we do,” or “his exit velocities aren’t good.” Okay, fine. What the hell has Ryan O’Hearn done in the last THREE seasons to earn a regular role in the lineup? He’s your RF of the future? Really? He’s got an 89 wRC+ since June 26th across a month some are claiming he’s been better. His wRC+ for his career is 88 and is just 72 since the beginning of the 2019 season. O’Hearn is not as fast as Olivares, he’s not better defensively, and he’s probably not a better option offensively. I don’t want to sound like I’m after O’Hearn because the players don’t make the lineups. This is in no way his fault. But why on earth are we trading for players, watching them become productive and serviceable big league options, and then giving everyone and their mom 10 chances before giving him (Olivares) even one good chance to prove he can’t do it?

Some of this probably just sounds like whining. Maybe it is. If the Royals weren’t so self-righteous about how they treat players (which again, 99.9% of the time is pretty fantastic) maybe this wouldn’t bug me so much. I just can’t tell if they are being stubborn about giving the kid a chance or if they’re scared to admit they were wrong about something else. Who knows, man. If you’re going to put together three worthless baseball teams in a row at the big league level, you may as well make them fun to watch. I’ve seen enough Jarrod Dyson for a life time. LOVE that dude. Ready for that experiment to end. Sorry for whining. Next thing.

The rotation looks a bit better, eh?

I mentioned it on the Royals Review Radio podcast this week, but I’m really optimistic about some things I’ve seen from the starting rotation these past few weeks. I never really thought that Carlos Hernandez would be able to start in the big leagues, and the more I watched the way his fastball worked (or didn’t work) in the upper third of the zone I was a little worried about him in the bullpen too. Those concerns have been eased a ton here lately. Hernandez has been brilliant and his fastball has paired extremely well with his changeup and curveball in both the upper and lower thirds of the strike zone. Likewise, Daniel Lynch seems to have his control figured out some and I think we’re starting to see why the Royals were so high on him this spring. Here are some quick notes on some recent outings from Lynch, Hernandez, and Kris Bubic:

Bubic
– 5 outings since July 17th
– 2.51 ERA in 28.2 IP
– 24 K to 13 BB

Lynch
– 4 starts since July 25th
– 2.66 ERA in 23.2 IP
– 19 K to 8 BB

Hernandez
– 9 outings since June 25th
– 2.81 ERA in 32.0 IP
– 32 K to 13 BB

Combined
– 18 outings
– 2.67 ERA in 84.1 IP
– 75 K to 34 BB

That’s not elite, but man, you’ll take that all the time. Bubic is still just 23 years old while Lynch and Hernandez are just 24. Any amount of experience that leads to these kids heading a playoff rotation in 2023 is good experience for me. Add in anything you can get from Jackson Kowar, Brady Singer, Brad Keller, Jonathan Bowlan, Austin Cox, and Alec Marsh over the next couple of seasons and this rotation could be the strong suit of the team. Really, really excited about how some of these guys have taken shape recently. Hats off to whomever is responsible. Let’s pray this current trend continues through September.

One thought on “Minor League Minutes: 8/14/2021

  1. Great commentary on Olivares. I was wondering the same. Why not give him a real shot, especially after his recent HR barrage before being sent down…again?

    Liked by 1 person

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