Sam McDowell: The case for an improved Royals offense needs to be about more than the acquisitions

Sam McDowell, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

SURPRISE, Ariz. — A night before the Royals’ spring training opener, Vinnie Pasquantino had a conversation with his roommate about how his first game in nine months might unfold.

He figured he’d strike out a few times, surmised that excitement might get the best of him and predicted one thing with a bit more certainty:

“I’m definitely swinging at the first pitch,” he said.

Come Friday, after Pasquantino stepped into the box, Rangers right-hander Dane Dunning painted the corner on his first offering.

A pitcher’s pitch.

But the hitter didn’t budge. His prediction? Wrong.


Everything else about that sequence? Precisely right. In fact, from inside the Royals dugout, hitting coach Alec Zumwalt, a guy who describes himself as someone who values “takes,” made a note of the decision not to swing.

“That’s Vinnie,” he said. “That’s when he’s at his best.”

It’s when anyone is, which is part of what I’ll get at here, because it’s part of what Zumwalt has been getting at for years now.

The Royals players and coaches parted ways for the offseason last October, bruised and beaten to the tune of 106 losses. The players left with game plans individualized for each of them.


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