After about one-eighth of the season has been played, and we're now in the second month, our 2009 sample size for batting stats is big enough that we can make a few observations, based on the good old walk-strikeout ratio. Note that these are mere indications of current performance, not definitive conclusions about a player's total value.
Of the eleven Royals hitters with 29 or more at bats, seven of them are doing quite well and four are doing pretty lousy. That's reflected in their BB-K ratio, which as we know is a big component of OBP.
Callaspo: 64 AB, 5 BB, 3 K, .414 OBP. That's not going to last all season, but if he keeps getting on base like this, he should win the starting job at second. And hit second in the batting order, as well.
Bloomy: 30 AB, 6 BB, 4 K, .432 OBP. That's going to come down to earth, too, but Bloomy has been excellent so far. At least he shows some bat control.
Teabag: 75 AB, 8 BB, 10 K, .414 OBP. Is this the real Teabag? He's probably the team's MVP, except of course for Greinke.
Jake: 68 AB, 7 BB, 21 K, .329 OBP - but .500 SLG. An 830 OPS by Jake during the entire season would be a strong contribution to the team, better than I'd hoped for. And he's taking a few walks.
Crisp: 77 AB, 15 BB, 11 K, .370 OBP. Has Crisp suddenly learned strike-zone judgment?
Buck: 37 AB, 5 BB, 9 K, .333 OBP - and .541 SLG. Yeah, he'll cool off, but he's been taking a few walks as well. Very good performance for a catcher. Let him play every day.
Butler: 62 AB, 11 BB, 13 K, .356 OBP. Billy looks like he's turned the corner. Just a few days ago we were debating about sending him back to Triple A. And check out those eleven walks.
Those seven players are not the problem. These four are:
DeJesus: 74 AB, 4 BB, 12 K, .272 OBP. DDJ is a proven, dependable player, and he'll bounce back out of this slump.
Guillen: 29 AB, 3 BB, 6 K, .303 OBP - with a .414 SLG. OK, he's been hurt, but when your OBP is .300, you need to slug at least .500 to help the team.
Aviles: 73 AB, 2 BB, 16 K, .224 OBP. Aviles may be turning back into a pumpkin. I hope not. He must be swinging at a lot of bad pitches. Drop him to the bottom of the order.
Olivo: 45 AB, 1 BB, 18 K, .196 OBP. Buck seems to have won the war for catcher supremacy. Olivo is absolutely hacktastic this year. He needs to be demoted to backup instead of being platooned with Buck.
As for guys with very few at-bats, not enough to be a decent sample, we've got:
B. Peña: 7 AB, 0 BB, 2 K, .286 OBP. He didn't get much of a chance.
T, Peña: 9 AB, 1 BB, 2 K, .100 OBP. Looks like TPJ is being used correctly: that is, Hillman's not letting him get anywhere near the plate. Strictly a defensive replacement and relief pitcher.
Alex: 21 AB, 3 BB, 8 K, .269 OBP. We now know those poor numbers are the result of an injury; let's hope he comes back in July and plays up to his ability.
Mitch: 18 AB, 5 BB, 5 K. .348 OBP. But: .167 BA, .222 SLG. So far Mitch has demonstrated that he can get walks and not much else.