So last year I decided to put my projections out there for all of you to see. I’ve been doing projections for years but last year was the first time I broke down the offense and post them. Well it was good enough for me to try it again. I don’t have a complex formula or a calculator that has smoke coming out of its sides from me plugging numbers in as fast as I can. I look at trends and previous years. See how a player has developed in the minors and even take into account different factors like lineup changes or what we will see in a different hitting coach. But let’s dive right into this year’s offensive projections.
LF Alex Gordon .287 B.A./19 HR/81 RBI/12 SB
Do you know the last time that Alex played at least 130 games and hit less than 15 home runs? Last year was the first year. While I give Kevin Seitzer a lot of credit for turning Gordon around, I think Gordon was held back a little bit last year when it came to his power numbers. I think Gordon might sacrifice a few extra hits this year for a few extra home runs. I don’t put much stock in spring training numbers but Gordon has shown more power this year, so this number could be closer to 25, but I’ll play the odds and say 19.
SS Alcides Escobar .278/4/58/42
Many people would say that this could be a step back for Escobar. I had similar numbers for him last year and he surpassed those. I think he falls somewhere in the middle of his first two seasons with the Royals where he hit .254 and last year when he hit .293. Given that he rarely gets caught on the base paths, I think they might let him lose more pushing him over the 40 SB mark. He has the tools to be a good hitter with a quick bat and speed to get on, but I would like to see him walk more.
DH Billy Butler .303/28/109/2
Billy doesn’t have bad years. In fact minus the RBIs, this would be a down year from last year for Billy. The guy just hits. His only question is he the guy who hit 29 HRs last year or is he the guy who hits somewhere around 20? The reason I’m going with closer to last year’s numbers is because he has protection in the lineup. Especially if Hosmer hits. He might get walked more than last year, but Billy is the best hitter the Royals have had in awhile.
3B Mike Moustakas .267/24/81/4
I’m not setting the lineup but I think Yost would be smart to have Moose hit 4th. Here’s why. I have no stats to back this up, just my memory, but I watched Billy Butler get walked in a spring training game, Moose followed with a hit to drive in a run. This triggered my memory of this happening on a number of occasions last year. Moose takes it personally that you walked Billy to get to him. You can just see it in his approach. People say that pitchers figured him out last year, honestly going to a number of games in the second half of the season I think he just got worn down with his first full season. He just looked slow out there, so I think he adds a little bit more consistency in his 2nd full season.
C Salvador Perez .291/17/71/1
I love Perez. If I had money to buy a real jersey, no question I’m buying a Perez jersey. The guy is simply put, a baseball player. Now those numbers I think could be low for Perez but I think he only plays about 120-130 games this year, so you have to factor in he won’t be getting those extra 100 plus at bats other guys will. This is the year with his defense that people are going to start to realize that he is a top catcher in the league. If he does start to produce he could even get moved up in the lineup and get more RBI chances but we will see.
1B Eric Hosmer .272/22/78
I really have no idea on Hosmer. I was so high on him like many of you guys but I read I think from one of you on RR that he wouldn’t be surprised if Hosmer hit .230 or .320. We have to realize Hosmer is still only 23 years old. The guy has a lot of growing to do and you could tell that once balls didn’t start to drop he started pressing. He’s looked better at times in spring but he needs to relax. When Hosmer is relaxed he’s a 30 plus HR player. I know that sounds crazy to say but I think he has that potential, when he’s pressing you get what we had last year. I think Hosmer improves and starts to learn the ups and downs of a full season.
CF Lorenzo Cain .268/14/68/19
I get very frustrated with Cain. The guy reminds me a little bit like a guy who roamed CF for the Royals in Carlos Beltran. He has the same body type to go along with a good glove and good speed, with pop in his bat but he can’t put it all together. I think Cain actually takes the same career route that Gordon did where it takes him 3-4 seasons to get it, but I don’t think this is the year. Cain is streaky, so maybe if he starts hot he can carry that through the season but while I’m high on a lot of Royals this year, he isn’t one of them.
RF Jeff Francoeur .257/17/58/8
I know me just putting down the name Francoeur will spur someone to write something in the comments about Myers and DM and David Glass and all of that. What blows my mind is that the guy is 29 years old. 29! The guys should be in the prime of his career and he looks like he’s just trying to hold on for one more playoff run before he retires into the sunset. Look I don’t think it can get much worse than last year. I think he’s got a little bit of pop left in his bat and he bumps up the BA a few ticks but honestly I’m just hoping Lough rakes in AAA.
2B Chris Getz .281/1/36/22
This is me being optimistic about Chris brittle bones Getz. Every year we hear about how the guy figured it out this spring and how he has more pop in his bat, and he’s healthy and how last year he had "freak" injuries. Well he hasn’t hit a HR in a Royals uniform so if me giving him 1 HR this year isn’t optimistic, I don’t know what is. I think that he might have enough whatever in him this year to play 100 games. My real hope is that he gets on base enough that he can steal bases, because if he really was able to stay healthy all year he has the ability to steal 40 plus bases a season. When you have never had more than 380 AB in a single season though, it’s difficult to actually do that. If the Royals are in contention RF is the number one priority but 2B comes in a close 2nd. See what I did there, close 2nd. Anyways.
What did you guys think? Am I crazy? Maybe to conservative with a few players?