MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 16: Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates a two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins in the fifth inning on July 16, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
I've done about three versions of this post before, but since you know I am a devotee of all things positive about this team, I figured I'd do so again.
Alcides Escobar began the season looking really really awful at the plate. I'd say it was "unspeakably bad" but we talked about it all the time, so that would be a lie. He also went something like 0-70 in the 9th inning of close games with men on base, yet Ned Yost would never PH for him. Of course, now the Royals are never in games late, so that doesn't matter.
And so, on June 3, after 218 PAs, he was hitting : .204/.239/.239. Since then, he has hit an astounding .336/.382/.493.
So who had Alcides Hercules Escobar posting an .875 OPS over 148 PAs? Sure, the batting average is a little random (that's how batting average works in small samples) but he's also taking a fair number of walks and showing some small man power with 7 doubles and 4 triples during his hot streak.
On the season, Escobar's triple slash line is now up to .257/.297/.340. He's below average (for all positions) but now above replacement level for a SS, purely as an offensive player. His BRef War is at 1.9 on the season, Fangraphs has him at 1.7.
Escobar was always going to get a chance and a half from the Royals: he was a former top prospect and a Dayton Moore acquisition, who just happened to be part of the big Greinke trade. Heck, Chris Getz has getzed a chance and a half. However, Escobar's bat was so bad to begin the season (part of a years long decline) that even the biggest believers had to have some doubts. Sure, he's very good defensively, but you have to at least hit a little. In the long run, a guy with a .400 OPS just isn't playable (well, I'd hope so). Decent glove SSes with .500 or .600 OPS capability just aren't that hard to find.
With his hot streak, Escobar has likely solidified his future with the organization, in some capacity. I tend to think Escobar's defense is overrated. (Not because he's bad, but because the superlatives thrown around are so... superlative.) Someone asked in the Game Thread last night if Escobar's streak is "for real." No, I don't think so, simply because I don't think we suddenly have Troy Tulowitzki on our roster. However, he's played very well and brought himself back from the abyss and he should be given credit for that.
Get used to watching this guy, Royals fans, he's going to be here awhile.