Checking in on Mike Moustakas and the Slow Progress of the Royals Youth Movement

Moustakas stunned baseball observers by donning scruffy, unfocused, hideous facial hair. Something never before seen on a white baseball player. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

Mike Moustakas has exactly 50 plate appearances in his Major League career. That isn't terribly meaningful, actually it isn't meaningful at all, but it's there and were here so let's talk about it.

In those 50 PAs Moose is hitting .250/.327/.318. His OPS is .645, which is good for an OPS+ of 83. His wOBA is similarly bad at .297 and his wRC+ is 82. Indeed, even in this depressed run environment, he's been a below average hitter. Moose has just one extra base hit - a homer, nicely enough, which he hit in his second game -- which isn't a hige surprise. Typically, even top prospects don't show huge power right away.

I have no idea about his defense, just yet, (nobody really does) but I would hazard to guess that it has been a little better than expected. At minimum, there haven't been many "man, he looks bad" comments, which is a good sign.

Back when Moustakas was promoted, I asked you guys what your expectations were. Only 5% of RR readers thought Moose would have an OPS under .700. However, as must be said, no one was asked to evaluate his first 12 games. There's an assumption that as Moose gets more comfortable -- both in the long and short terms -- he'll continue to get better. Nothing about his career has been written yet.

That being said, along with Hosmer's relative difficulties of late and Duffy's lack of setting the world on fire, I do think we're seeing some of the silliness of earlier claims. Quite a few posited that the Royals would be .500 level by the end of the season, because of all the upgrades taking place. And for 2012! Who knows!

Thus far, it hasn't really worked out like that. The biggest upgrades have still been the early season bullpen guys, who are probably already at their ceiling. Inserting some of the super prospects has not turned the 2011 Royals into a good or even respectable team. They have become more interesting, they have become potentially better, but they have not really become noticeably better.

Turning around this team is going to take time. Stay tuned.

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