KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 21: Shortstop Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals breaks his bat while hitting a single against the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium on April 21, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)
The Royals' 10 consecutive losses at home to start the season matched something that hasn't been done in the Major Leagues for 99 years.
The 1913 Yankees went through their first 18 home games without a victory, longest such stretch in history. They lost the first 10, tied Boston, 3-3, then lost seven more before finally winning at the Polo Grounds. The 1995 Florida Marlins and the 1940 Chicago White Sox each lost their first nine home games.
So, there's a myriad of ways we can say that things have been bad. I woke up this morning ready to write a post sardonically mocking Jeff Francoeur's lack of leadership and his inability to will the team to victory, but decided against it. Instead, let's look at the positives. Or, as far as I can tell, the positive.
The Royal infield of the future is a little more visible. At least right now. We've invested these young players with so much meaning that we're on a constant narrative roller coaster. When Hosmer has a good game, the future is bright, he's going to hit 30 homers this year, we're going to be good someday. When he goes 1-9 over a weekend, we're suddenly worried. And overall, the important thing to remember is that, honestly, we just don't know.
So leaving aside the Yuni-Getz platoon -- which has played better than expected but really is unlikely to be part of the future (right?) -- here's how the infield has hit through sixteen games:
I've been one of the biggest Escobar agnostics around, and I still contend that he's probably over-rated defensively (not so much because of his play, but because this is just what we do with players such as him). He's not going to finish the season with numbers anywhere close to his current line, but is he can hit .270/.310/.390 or so, he probably has some value. His home/road splits last season were very strange, as you'd think he could generate some 2B/3B slugging at the K, when in fact the opposite happened. The illusion of a "streaky player" is one of our dearest observational mistakes, but Alcides certainly fits the bill in his young career. In any case, he's established some hope that he can truly be a net positive player.
As for Moose and Hosmer, they're much more widely discussed. Hosmer has shown the ability to hit home runs, while the rest of his offensive game is still developing. Curiously, that's what was expected of Moose, who has instead been the more well-rounded player. Many seem to like his defense at third base early on as well.
This team, well, it seems like we're getting to know this team. The pitching is a nightmare and the manager is reliably annoying. Billy Butler is Billy Butler. The corner outfielders aren't hitting. It increasingly looks like the Royals aren't going to sniff .500 much less contend. But maybe, just maybe, the infield of the future is coming into place.