It's a small sample to reflect on, but 17 games into the season makes it interesting enough to look at some of the trends. Who's been lucky? Who's had some unfortunate breaks? I dive deep into the numbers.
The 2011 version of Hosmer is all I'm asking for, where he clubbed 49 extra base hits in 128 games. He is my biggest concern on the club.
In order according to fWAR.
Iso = Isolated Power
Lorenzo Cain: .368-431-509 1 HR 9 RBI 2 SB +0.9 WAR.
Cain's been their most valuable player, but for how long will that last? His .455 BABIP is unsustainable, but there is plenty of reasons for optimism even with the inevitable regression.
- Minimal gains in his walk rate and his contact % has spiked from 77 to 80 % from last year.
- A lot more ground balls and a few more line drives sprinkled in makes him a viable 1 or 2 hole candidate. He should maintain an avg of .280 or better with his current approach.
- Chasing less pitches out of the zone and has better plate coverage.
- A .410 wOBA (Weighted on Base Average) is stellar. (3rd behind Crisp and Bourn among AL CF's)
- Above avg glove provides value.
- Lack of flyballs will make it difficult to reach double digit home runs this year. (Only 17 % of balls in play)
- Hard pressed to match his .153 Iso of last year.
- 2 for 5 on SB attempts. Yost may want to tighten up his green light a little.
Alcides Escobar: .279-315-426 2 HR 9 RBI 3 SB +0.5 WAR
If the defensive metrics treat him a little more kindly this year he should easily be a 2 + WAR player once again. He's having a better career up to this point that I initially anticipated upon his arrival.
- His contact % is in elite company now at 95%. 1st in the AL. (Up from 85% from last year)
- 3rd in the AL among SS with a .147 ISO.
- A .279 BA despite a below league average BABIP of .270.
- 3-3 on SB attempts and is on pace to swipe 30 bags.
- His 20 HR pace is out of question, (expect his Hr/ FB ratio to regress) but he should still flirt with double digit long balls. (FB's up 7 %)
- Not enough of a gain in BB % to think he'll ever be able to draw many walks.
- I'm actually not too concerned with his defense, but he's sitting at a .958 fielding % due to 3 errors.
- Slight dips in LD's and GB's makes him hard pressed to repeat his .293 average from a year ago.
- Swinging at even more pitches outside of the zone, which should lead to a lot of weak contact.
Alex Gordon: .342-368-507 1 HR 13 RBI 10 R +0.6 WAR
The defensive metrics aren't treating him as kindly in the early going, but he is a legitimate gold glover. I still expect him to be their most valuable player once again in 2013, despite some minor red flags.
- Trends point towards a .300 + hitter. His .421 BABIP will regress, but he did have a .356 and .358 BABIP in his 11-12 campaigns respectively.
- Contact % remaining steady at 80 % which is an above average skill for him.
- 11-26 against LHP. (Career avg is .244)
- Only 1 outfield assist, but he compiled 37 in 11-12. I'd imagine less 3rd base coaches will be challenging his pin point accurate arm.
- Plus base running skills.
- His walk % is down to 4% from nearly 20 from last year. Pitchers are coming after him more aggressively.
- His FB % has dropped every year since 2008. We may only see 12-15 home runs from him this year.
Billy Butler: .216-375-412 3 HR 12 RBI
His bat has been a little quiet outside of his monster 7 RBI game on April 7th. But he's taking a ton of walks and we can count on his final line to be solid at the end of the year. He's the only player in the lineup that I can safely plug in for 20 + home runs. While there may be an argument for Moose!?
- On pace to crush his 3 year avg of 63 walks. He's walking at an alarmingly high rate in nearly 20 % of his PA. (121 BB pace) They'll continue to pitch him carefully until the players behind him start doing some damage.
- His .216 BABIP will recover. Look for him to at least be in the .320's.
- His ISO has never been elite for a 1B, but despite only 4 extra base hits it's up to par with last year at .196.
- HR/FB is hovering at 27%. Up 7% from last season. Is this a new trend, or will he regress closer to his 12 % career average? It looks like a new trend to me, which means there is a decent chance he could reach 30 home runs if teammates can offer him protection.
- Line Drives are down. He may need luck on his side to hit over. 300 this year. He won't be legging out any infield hits
- Walks are great, but he clogs up the bases. He's an aweful base runner.
Chris Getz: .240-240-420 1 HR 10 RBI +0.2 WAR He's coming back down to earth with a 3-17 stretch in his last 5 games. At his current pace he could wind up being a + 1 WAR player, but I'm just not buying it. The trends are not pretty for his limited skills. They'll need to upgrade the position in July via trade.
- A higher ISO than Howie Kendrick, Matt Carpenter, and Josh Rutledge. This can't be sustainable.
- CT rate has dipped, but still solid enough at 86 %.
- Playing solid defensively with no errors. He's turned 7 double plays.
- Zero walks in 52 PA. His #1 priority should be reaching base whether it's taking pitches and praying or leaning into one.
- 53 % FB rate when he's usually around 28 %. His inability to hit the ball with authority means this will result in even more outs than usual. Hip hip hooray!!
- Chasing 7 % more pitches out of the zone is not a good thing unless he somehow starts spraying a few more line drives like last year.
Jarrod Dyson: .286-286-571 in 14 PA 3 SB + 0.2 WAR
He's surprisingly tied for 4th in WAR in his limited duty. Too small of a sample size for me to really have much to say about him. Dyson is 3 for 4 stealing bags and I'm still awaiting the day that Yost decides to play a super platoon in the CF/RF positions. He needs to be starting against RHP until we find a better solution.
Jeff Francoeur: .258-281-355 1 HR 5 RBI 2 SB +0.1 WAR
What hasn't already been said on these message boards about "Frenchy?" He's a replacement level player that is getting full time at bats. While he hasn't been quite as bad as last year, RF will continue to be be black hole. I'm hopeful that Dyson will start picking up a couple starts a week, which would shift Cain over to RF.
- A few more line drives and ground balls will make it difficult for him to hit an abysmal .235 again.
- A .326 BABIP is helping aid his average. If he can maintain that there is hope for a BA rebound. He needs to correct some of his flaw trends to really reap the benefits.
- 7-18 against LHP. Hopefully correcting his horrific .225 avg against southpaws from last year.
- 2-2 on SB. Some value with picking up 15-20 bags if he continues to pick his spots well.
- 36 OF assists with the Royals. Teams shouldn't test him as often this year. Keeping opponents off 3rd base with less than 2 outs is always a good thing.
- Strikeouts are up. His CT % is nearing 75 which puts him in hacker territory.
- 1 walk in 64 PA is inexcusable.
- Not only is he continuing to chase out of the zone at a similar, he's making less contact this year.
- He's not even making consistent contact with pitches right in the wheelhouse.
- Do you watch the games on TV?
Eric Hosmer: .261-346-283 0 HR 4 RBI 2 SB + 0.1 WAR.
His approach at the plate looks better, but he continues not to hit the ball with no authority. His skill set is fine for a 2nd baseman, but he needs to start driving the ball.
- BABIP is currently at .341, which is encouraging. Expect him to finish closer to .341 than to .255 from last year. It will be a key to his success.
- Slight gain in LD %
- He's laying off a lot more pitches. A lot of his weak contact last year was due to swinging at too many pitches out of the zone.
- 2-2 in SB attempts.
- No errors and metrics have been more kind to his glove this year.
- Strikeouts are up from 16 % of AB's to 21 %
- His ISO and wOBA are atrocious!
- Hitting even less flyballs this year. Is 15 HR is ceiling for this year?
Salvador Perez: .258-269-348 0 HR 5 RBI +0.1 WAR
He's off to a disappointing start, but I'm more encouraged that he'll figure things out than most players on the roster. I'm just not comfortable picking him apart just yet. I'd still be surprised if he finishes outside of the top 3 in WAR among position players when it's all said and done.
- LD % is up.
- He blocks everything.
- He still doesn't walk.
- His strikeouts are way up. From 9 % to 19%
- A 7% dip in FB's. My bold prediction in spring training for 20 home runs is likely not going to come to pass.
- He continues to be a free swinger, but making less frequent contact. He needs to adjust his all around approach.
George Kottaras: .200 avg in 5 AB's with 1 HR 1 BB +0.1 WAR
I never thought I'd be saying this, but maybe we need to find ways to get his bat in the lineup a little more often? If Hosmer's power woes continue for a couple more weeks, they should mix Georgie in as the DH from time to time. At the very least use him as a pinch hitter more frequently. We need someone with some power to compile some extra at bats.
Miguel Tejada/Elliot Johnson:
Upgrading the bench down the road wouldn't hurt. A RH bat like a Jordan Pacheco for example would be welcomed with open arms. It would be nice to spell off Hosmer and Moustakas often against LHP, but Tejada isn't worthy of prying many AB's away. Johnson can play all infield positions, but Yost should avoid starting him against LHP. A .196 career avg would make me steer clear.
Mike Moustakas: .158-226-193 0 HR 1 RBI - 0.4 WAR
He believes he has figured out the flaw in his mechanics, which is robbing all his power. Let's hope so because we need his power in a big way. I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll provide the thunder in the middle of the lineup that we're in dire need of. Just ignore his slash line because his average is going to be nasty.
- Minimal spike to his walk rate.
- His strikeouts have almost been cut in half. Down 7 % from last year. Can he become a well above average contact hitter? I never envisioned that for him.
- His FB rate is up 13 %. He should be the only Royal outside of Butler to reach 20 + home runs.
- His .184 BABIP is unlucky.
Roll the ugliness:
- Alex Gonzalez and Jeff Keppinger are the only third basemen with a lower WAR.
- A lower ISO than the fish duo of Matt Dominguez and Placido Polanco
- All the flyballs could result in a really low BABIP in the .250 range, which is going to damage his average in a detrimental way.
- 3 Errors and a .917 fielding % is a rough start with the leather.