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Splash Hits: A Fall League debut, the ALDS and one more number for the Royals offense
It's the return of the everyone's favorite offseason random notes column!
Asa Lacy made his Arizona Fall League debut on Wednesday, pitching for the Surprise Saguros. Let’s just boil down his performance in the simplest of terms: He shoved.
I mean, he flat-out shoved.
Lacy pitched two innings and threw 25 pitches. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out four batters.
Oh…did you have questions about his command?
Lacy has been pitching—and impressing—in the Instructional League this fall. The Royals have been moving him slowly since drafting him with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft. Of course, COVID-19 wiped out the minor league season last summer, so Lacy opened his professional career with the High-A Quad Cities River Bandits. He scuffled with his command, walking 41 in 52 innings, but on the flip side, he did whiff 79. He was shut down early with shoulder discomfort.
And now he finds himself in Arizona, looking to take the next steps in his development. So far, so good. For more on Lacy and his outing on Wednesday, I highly recommend this report from Alec Lewis at The Athletic.
One number that I wanted to work into Wednesday’s edition but did not, was something about the Royals bringing home a runner from third with less than two outs. It’s not a repeatable skill or anything like that—more “clutch” than anything I suppose—but it still always interests me to see who comes through in that situation.
So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Whit Merrifield was the guy you wanted up in that situation. He scored the runner from third with less than two outs almost 66 percent of the time. League average was right around 50 percent.
In a smaller sample, you’d probably be fine with Ryan O’Hearn up. Really! He came through seven out of 10 times with a runner on third and less than two outs.
On the other side, Hunter Dozier really struggled in this situation. (Although that could be said about all situations for Dozier in 2021.) He brought the runner home just 42 percent of the time with less than two outs. You may be surprised that Salvador Perez also was below league average in this category, with a 44 percent success rate. And he was tied for the team lead with Carlos Santana with 43 opportunities. Had Perez been slightly above league average, he could’ve finished with a cool 125 RBI.
With the American League Divisional Series complete, I have to admit I’m not feeling great about the American League matchup. While I enjoy the transformation of Dusty Baker from old school manager to player’s dude and wise elder, the Astros will never engender anything other than disdain. At least for the next 10 years. (Is that how long the statute of limitations run on cheating? It could be longer. We’ll have to wait and see.) Theirs is a tired act. Five ALCS trips in a row? Ugh.
And the Red Sox? Come on. While I respect their first-to-worst-to-first-back-to-worst-and-back-to-first rollercoaster ride, do we really need another Boston appearance in the World Series? Maybe we should root for the meteor.
But the meteor isn’t an option. (At least I hope not. That’s grim.) This may sound totally off the wall, but I tend to want to watch my October baseball in fun settings. So I favor a team like Boston over a club that plays in a soulless dome-like Tampa. And there’s that whole Astros cheating thing. So, I’ll begrudgingly pull for Boston in their series.
How about Thursday’s Game 5 between the Giants and the Dodgers? Speaking of great places to watch a game, it seems you can’t go wrong with either team. I know this won’t be popular with those of you who still despise the Giants for what they did to the Royals in 2014, but I’m siding with them tonight. I’ve had enough of the Dodgers in the World Series of late. The lesser of two evils and all of that.
I was sorry to hear of the passing of Ray Fosse. An All-Star in 1970 and 1971, he’s perhaps best known as the guy who was trucked by Pete Rose on the game-winning play in that ’70 All-Star Game. But Fosse put together a solid major league career, winning two World Series while catching for the Oakland A’s. More importantly, from everything I’ve ever heard about him, he was a fantastic human. He was a Bay Area fixture broadcasting games on the radio and TV for 35 years. I love listening to A’s broadcasts on the MLB app because of Fosse. He was a hometown broadcaster without being a homer and was an indelible part of that franchise.
If you have some time today, read this about his life.