Royals In Review
Red Union 1940
It is May, 22, 2014. And after forty-six games the Kansas City Royals are twenty-three and twenty-three. Winning exactly half of their games, and they currently reside in third place in the division behind the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. They’re only one and a half games out of a wild card spot, but there currently is little to be excited about this team.
Why is that? Is it because after a blockbuster trade that saw one of the top batting prospects go to a team known for its fiscal prowess, the Royals are on the verge of two seasons of semi-relevance. With only one winning season in that two year span. Or is it because after eight years of a general manager’s stewardship, and many good to great drafts the Royals only have a thimble full of players to show for it. Any way one can slice it, the reason that this season is so frustrating for Royals fans is because, we can see how close we are to being top competitors. And at the same time we can see that window closing very quickly.
So without too much more wordiness, let’s get to the good of it. The Royals are .500, 1.5 out of the WC, and 3rd in the central. First base is not the feared bust, but an above average bat with decent defense. Second and shortstop are not the dumpster fires they were in 2013, provided the starters are not injured. The outfield is a plus as well, with a gold glover in left. A quite able centerfielder, and a right fielder who may not have a cannon for an arm or the best positioning for defense or smart base running, at least he can get on base and doesn’t swing at balls that are way outside of the zone. On the pitching side the much touted Ace position is being fielded nicely by Shields, while Vargas and Guthrie fill the vaunted spots of inning eaters nicely. And in great news, the mythical pitching prospect that Royals fans only know in tales and folklore appear to be real. With Ventura and now Duffy starting to show that yes a team can have more than one really, really good pitcher.
In bad news, there is a bit. This offense is quite anemic. While the Royals continue to hit for average, their inability to take a walk combined with the sudden loss of any signs of power, means that the weak offense of last year is even worse this year. Which is made worse because the Royals finally have a strong pitching rotation and a good bullpen. While not infallible the days of being out of a game before the 5th happen a lot less. Well pitching wise at least.
To be honest the offensive woes are truly surprising. Because on paper according to my untrained eye, the offense really shouldn’t be this bad. Ignoring the dumpster fire that is third base it really is surprising that this team has been a thud offensively this season. While I know the roster as constructed would never be an offensive juggernaut. Or even an above average offense I thought with an upgraded 2b and an Rf without Francour, couldn’t possibly be worse than the offense of 2013. I’ve been proven wrong. That happens a lot when I make predictions about the Royals. There are still signs of hope.
With the Royals finally realizing that maybe Moustakas shouldn’t be in the major leagues, they can hopefully start looking at ways to improve the offense. First thing to do is to find an actual Utility infielder that has an average to just below-average bat, so that our second basemen and shortstop can take a day off every once and a while. The Royals also need to try and find a left handed counterpart to Valencia, someone with splits like Conor Gillaspie. Wouldn’t batting lines of .333/.343/.485 against lefties and .359/.409/.487 against righties be nice?
If the Royals can find ways to improve their offense even marginally, it would go a long way to helping this team go from a projected 81-81, to team that could legitimately challenge for a wild card spot. Though as it stands now, with the way this roster is constructed by Dayton Moore and how it is managed by Ned Yost, this teams has all the hallmarks of a .500 team. And that’s if everything goes right, no major injuries, no other members of the Royals falling apart like Moustakas, then they’re a .500 team.
I may sound down through most of this writing, but in honesty I am excited for this team, and I care deeply for them. I do believe that with a couple of right moves before the deadline the Royals do have a shot at the playoffs, but that is provided that the brain trust that is known as the Dayton Moore regime makes the right moves.
I thank everyone who took time to read this, and remember, Be Royal.