The college basketball season is over for our local schools, but baseball is right around the corner.
Los Angeles Angels 4, Kansas City Royals 2
3:10pm – MLBST – Arizona Diamondbacks at Kansas City Royals (FSKC, MLBN, 610AM)
Benintendi’s Fall From Grace
The Royals traded for Andrew Benintendi this offseason to take the place of retired left fielder Alex Gordon. Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora recently discussed Andrew Benintendi’s time with the club. The Red Sox were happy with the Benintendi they had in 2018, but after that season, Benintendi decided to get stronger and change his hitting style to lift the ball in the air more. He wanted to hit more home runs. It only makes sense. That’s where the money is right now. Cora doesn’t know if it was something Benintendi wanted to do or if his agent pushed him to do it as a way to go for the big contract.
Regardless of where the idea came from, strength slowed Benintendi’s game. He no longer had the speed the team appreciated in 2018, and his play suffered because of it. He appeared to be looking for the big contract as a home run hitter. Cora said that the team did not ask him to bulk up and change his approach.
The Red Sox decided this offseason to cut their losses and trade Benintendi. And Benintendi has said that his goal for 2021 was to go back to his approach from 2018. The Royals hope that is the case because speed and doubles are what the club values in Kauffman Stadium.
It’s been a challenging offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs. The theory goes that everyone wants to win a Super Bowl and be willing to take less money to get there. But the Chiefs were demolished by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past February. They didn’t look like the same team we were used to seeing.
The offseason came, and the Chiefs, who everyone thought would pick the free agents they wanted, had some success early with Joe Thuney and Kyle Long. After that, it has been one disappointment after another. One offensive lineman and receiver after another talked with the Chiefs only to ultimately turn them down.
Why has Brett Veach and the team failed recently? Are players just using the Chiefs to increase offers from their previous team or another team they are interested in? By all reports, the Chiefs are offering as much or more money than the teams they are losing to.
It’s an interesting time. So while not as attractive as the other options we have heard recently, the Chiefs are signing S Daniel Sorensen to a one-year, $2.46 million contract. The entire amount is guaranteed. Sorensen was good for the Chiefs in 2020, but can the team fill in the roster with quality players before the draft? Options in free agency are running out. Let’s see if Veach can continue to work his magic.
Kansas Could Have Won?
Kansas lost by 34 points, but some people say that Kansas should win this game with the same shots 50% of the time. Take a look at this:
This makes no sense to me. You can collect all of the numbers you want, but again I will argue that you cannot include everything. And one thing the analytics will never be able to take into account is the circumstances under which the game is played.
Tell me how the analytics will ever include players returning from sitting out because of covid. That player’s shot in the game is not the same as that player’s shot before he was away from the team for ten days. And what about the pressure that is added when a player is feeling stress due to a win-or-go-home game. I could go on and on.
The idea is an interesting one. It’s fun to consider the numbers. The problem is that it is never going to be 100% accurate. And the most significant games are the games for which it will be off the most.
McGuirl Returning to Kansas State
Bruce Weber has seen several players enter the transfer portal recently. Still, this week he finally received some good news when Mike McGuirl announced that he would return to school for a fifth season allowed by the NCAA because of the covid. The Wildcats have seen DaJuan Gordon, Antonio Gordon, Rudi Williams, and Joe Patrakis enter the transfer portal since the end of the season. Weber needed some good news and got it from McGuirl.
Kansas State AD Gene Taylor agreed to an extension with the university that keeps him there through the 2026-27 school year. Taylor hired Chris Klieman to take over the football program when Bill Snyder retired for the second time. Now he has to decide how long Bruce Weber will remain the basketball coach. It appears Weber will be back for the 2021-22 season, but how much rope does he have?
Xavier Pinson Enters the Transfer Portal
The Xavier Pinson experiment appears to be over in Columbia, Missouri. After being a big part of the Tigers’ offense, Pinson fell apart in the last month or so of the season and was non-existent in the NCAA tournament loss to Oklahoma. He saw playing time go away because of his performance. We would never have thought this would happen earlier in the season, but here we are.
MLB Cracking Down On Foreign Substances
I don’t know where the sudden interest is coming from, but Major League Baseball is cracking down on foreign substances used by pitchers to gain an advantage or even help grip the baseball in 2021. MLB will have compliance officers at games. They will also check baseballs that are taken out of play. MLB will also analyze spin-rate data to help identify pitchers using foreign substances. This is going to be a mess. It’s not that I disagree with the crackdown, but there are going to be some upset pitchers this season when caught cheating.
NFL and NFLPA Discussing 2021 Season
It’s never too early to start looking ahead to 2021, and that’s exactly what is going on between the NFL owners and players. They are talking about the offseason and next season. Players want to have an all-virtual offseason like they had last year, but the owners want to move things back the way they were before with everything in person. If the players are going to do OTAs in person, the union wants daily covid testing.
MLB finds new way to catch cheating pitchers (Joel Sherman)
Randy Johnson threw a fastball, and a bird disappeared: 20 years since baseball’s wildest moment (Zach Buchanan)
Thanks for reading…