Yet another reason to be really excited by the Naturals this year: they are collectively and individually showing a very un-Royalesque ability to take a walk. Sample size? Glass half-empty, it's only been 6 weeks or so. Glass half-full, that's about a full quarter of the entire minor league season. Here's some of the good stuff:
- Collectively, they lead the Texas League in OBP by 25 points with a team mark of .359. Some of that is batting average: their .270 leads the league by 34 points. Yet, their walk total of 143 is tops in the league by two over Springfield, and that OBP is 89 points higher than the BA, showing that walks are a big influence on the OBP. That OBP is also good for 4th place in all of AA.
- That team mark of .359 is 31 points better than the major league team's .328 OPB. In three less games, NWA has walked 41 more times than the Royals have.
- Mike Moustakas, notoriously thought to be a free-swinger prior to this year, has walked 13 times compared to only 15 strikeouts. His .449 OBP is best in the Texas League by 27 points.
- The Naturals have 3 players in the Top 10 in the Texas League for OBP. In addition to Moustakas, CF Derrick Robinson is 4th with a .391 (91 points better than BA) and 1B Clint Robinson is 8th with a .377 (115 points better than BA). Broaden out to the Top 15, and that Nats have two more: RF Nick Van Stratten (12th, .369) and 2B Johnny Giavotella (t13th, .368).
- The Royals' current walk leader is DDJ with 16 in 38 games. Both C-Rob (20 in 35 games) and D-Rob (19 in 34 games) have more, and Moose, Johnny G., Van Stratten, and C Manny Pina are equal to or better than any Royal other than DDJ in total walks this year.
Should this encouraging trend hold, then another song title from the 60's may also be relevant for the future of the Royals: "The Times, They Are A-Changing"!