Royal Ups and Downs -- Defenestrated By Detroit Edition

A familiar sight. - Ed Zurga

The series that chronicles the highs and lows of the Royals roster returns, now with more embarrassing losses!

There's already been plenty of fallout on the Royals front office latest silliness, so I won't bore you with a bunch of that here. Craig's take on it basically sums up my own opinion in more words and far more articulately, Josh's comment in the thread would more or less be my exact wording. Suffice to say that the Royals FO never ceases to find unsurprising ways to surprise me. "They said what, now? Oh, of course they did. It's time to put the blame on someone else."

I don't think that what we learned from Mellinger's article is as innocent as this, but maybe part of the motivation was try to distract from the fact that, over the weekend set versus the best team in the division, at home, the Kansas City Royals, umpteenth year of The Process edition, were outscored 26-8. I really wish I could be educated on how that's an acceptable level of performance.

Suffice to say, the Royals weren't particularly good in any facet of the game over the weekend. To color in the picture of my silly title for this post, the Royals had the big confrontation scene with the villain, Detroit, on the 8th floor of an apartment building. Expected to at least hold their own, as the plucky hero of this film, they were completely knocked the hell out, followed by being unceremoniously thrown through the glass window. Afterwards, with or without some totally unnecessary slow motion (I saw the second Spiderman movie this weekend and it wasn't good, by the way), they left a pretty impressive dent in the pavement.

Anyway, while you mull how big a crater certain members of the team would cause (Godzilla out May 16th, can't wait!), we'll move up to the Position Player Ups and Downs for the week.

Norichika Aoki - RF - Nope_medium

Continues to fill the role of decent table-setter, without really catching on fire or going through any particularly rough stretch. Over the last two week,s his OBP has risen three points to .341, and he was one of the people that I could actually rightly accuse of having a good game against Detroit, what with his 2-Ribby, 3-Walk performance yesterday. The reviews of his defense and baserunning, both as somewhat subpar, seem accurate. But hell, he's a Royals RF who can get on base!

Omar Infante - 2B - Up_medium

I know it shocks nobody to inform you all that his high RBI totals aren't really something that can be attributed to just Infante, and that his solid .282/.339/.409 triple slash and slightly-lower-than-last-season's LD% only seem superlative-worthy because of years of Chris Getz, but up arrows are scare around these parts. Thus, Infante gets the nod. His walk rate's up, but not crazily so, and he's not coasting off a BABIP high or anything. It appears to Royals did actually sign a pretty good middle infielder. You'll excuse me if I still have flashbacks, given the people who have cycled through those position over the years.

What're Yuniesky Betancourt and Mark Grudzielanek up to these days, anyway?

Eric Hosmer - 1B - Kablooey_medium

Not again. How many years is this going to a case of, "if Hosmer hits the way he did after his power outage, he could be a star-level producer"? Hosmer's yet to hit a home run through 30 games, and his SLG is a robust .387. If this was an entry about a middle infielder, it'd be acceptable production. As it is, what with his usual below average defensive contributions, Fangraphs has him as a below replacement level player so far.

His OBP is only 10 points and 8 points below the guys I just praised, so that may seem a bit extreme, but you know the dance by now -- the Royals need Hosmer to continue to be a power threat in the middle of the line-up. If he doesn't consistently become that, the path towards actually contending is harder. And right now, he just isn't squaring up a lot of the time he makes contact, as his LD% is at 13.3%, about two-thirds of his career figure. Ouch.

Billy Butler - DH - Nope_medium

No down arrow, because it's not like he's hitting worse than before (a hard feat to achieve), but no up arrow because he really hasn't done enough to convince us that he's out of the woods. His LD% is now above what it was last year, which is notable since his BA is still only .241 compared to last year's .289, but his groundball:flyball ratio is still over two. So while Billy's probably "owed" more hits from the BABIP Fairy, it's questionable to whether he's found what's wrong with his power stroke. At least, unlike Hosmer, he can say that he's actually homered this season.

Alex Gordon - LF - Kablooey_medium

It's not like I'm worried about Alex Gordon, really, but this Royals team offense looks incredibly rough normally. When Gordon isn't going well, as he isn't right now, it looks downright depressing. Gordon's only at .257/.309/.389, well below his usual standard, and has gone 3-for-19 with three walks since his excellent Baltimore series. He's yet another Royal currently forgetting how to hit line drives (12% compared with career 21%), which matters a bit since those usually turn into hits. Call back if this continues, but on a team with Butler and Hosmer going the way they've been going, and Moustakas being Moustakas, I can't really muster any "sadface" over Alex yet.

Salvador Perez - C - Kablooey_medium

Good grief. Et tu, Salvy? Perez's moving up the line-up in the earlier days of the season was yet another example of how overreacting to a "hot hand" doesn't make all that much sense. As when Salvy runs cold, his temperature's well below freezing. He, also, had a great series vs. Baltimore, clubbing five hits, and then bopped a dinger against Toronto. However, this down arrow's for his culmulative work at the plate since last post, which had been abysmal until those games. Perez's BABIP is running low, and his LD% is not corresponding down the dumps, so I expect him to come back to his normal levels soon. But hey, for what it's worth, he's still popping up too much. Thank goodness that's not usually a problem with Royals hitters, eh? And yes, he's been fine defensively, so good to see that part of his game isn't slumping with his bat.

Mike Moustakas - 3B - Kablooey_medium

It's getting to the point where I have absolutely nothing to say about Moustakas that you haven't heard been say a million times. There's a lot more to it than this, but it basically boils down to, "he once looked like he might be good, and now it doesn't look like he ever will be average." There've been rumblings about an official platoon at third, which, as we all know, would be an absolute last resort for Franky and company.

Alcides Escobar - SS - Nope_medium

He's come back to more Alcidesy levels of production, but he hasn't been awful over that span. During the span of games where his average has fallen from .300 to .267--batting average is generally a bad metric, everyone knows that, but Escobar's value as a hitter is about as average-driven as you'll see--he's actually only had two games where he's failed to reach base. His defense has been questionable by some metrics, though. This level of hitting--around a 700 OPS--is acceptable if Escobar is a defensive plus. If he isn't, not so much. That's something to keep an eye on going forward.

Jarrod Dyson - OF - Nope_medium

.289/.304/.333 is an emptier average than I'd expect from him, but he's solid afield and one of the better baserunners on the team. Dyson's basically been around what you'd expect from him as the fill in when Cain's injured or someone else needs a day off, though walking more than once in 46 PAs is encouraged.

Lorenzo Cain -  CF - Nope_medium

According to McCullough, Cain's been activated today. There's obviously no up or down for him, as he hasn't been playing due to groin injury. Remind me to find a good band-aid graphic for next time, somebody.

Danny Valencia - 3B - Kablooey_medium

Hasn't done much in limited plate appearances so far. Though we are talking 22 PAs, to be exact.

Justin Maxwell - OF - Kablooey_medium

Also has had limited playing time, also hasn't really hit (or fielded) his way out of a paper bag. Your 2014 Kansas Cit Royals -- Stuck In a Paper Bag, Send Help.

Brett Hayes - Nope_medium

Well, I mean, he hasn't got on base yet without causing an out--I believe the run he scored was after a fielder's choice--but not even I am cruel enough to give someone a big mean down arrow for eight PAs. Consider this an incomplete, I guess.

Others: Jimmy Paredes left. We miss him already.

~

That's all for this week, folks. Hopefully the Royals avoid defenestration this week, or least somehow mitigate the defenestration levels. It begins on the road versus San Diego later tonight -- Fish Tacos for everyone!

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