43-39 on July 1st after a victory over the Twinkies, and so the moment of truth fast approaches for the 2014 Kansas City Royals. With all the mishaps during the Moore administration, all the frustration involved watching this team, all the critical spirit-ing that occurred in our roundtable, it is hard to look at the trade deadline, 30 days from now, and not say, "man, the AL is pretty wide open this year, what if the Royals trade for Giancarlo Stanton?"
Of course, that's not likely to happen at all. I'd write more about the futility of hope or something poetic like that, but I ran into a tree at camp this week and I have been told to type as little possible until my left arm functions like an arm rather than a noodle with a couple fingers glued on. Here are your Position Player Ups and Downs for the week!
Lorenzo Cain - CF -
Still riding a Captain Insane-o level BABIP, but it's hard to argue with Cain's production when he's been healthy this season. .315/.351/.440 is more than acceptable from a CF who plays the defense that Cain does. The downsides? Well, that fairy will zap him sooner or later, and he's once again on pace to play about two-thirds of a season.
Eric Hosmer - 1B -
.246/.288/.343 is what you'd expect to see on the back of Alcides Escobar's player card, and, what with the fact that Hosmer doesn't really play defense on any greater-than-vaguely-competent level, it's turning into a pretty miserable season for Hosmer. The words "You were supposed to be the Chosen One!" come to mind, and that seems like an appropriately crappy movie to reference in regard to a 1B with a sub-.300 Not Making Outs Percentage.
Billy Butler - DH -
Someone get in the wayback machine and tell me if this is the first time I've given a green arrow to Billy Ray this season, because it sure feels that way. Butler's finally gotten more singles to fall, and the results have been some pretty good games of late. There are still big questions about him, though, such as whether a slow DH with no real value beyond his hitting can reclaim his power, or at least stop killing so many worms. His recent hot stretch has been fun, and still has him on the wrong side of a 700 OPS. There's absolutely no way I thought I'd be writing that about Butler at the end of the first half.
Alex Gordon - LF -
His hitting line has actually dropped since last time we met, but he's still at .355 OBP with decent power, and the defensive year that Alex is having so far is just insanely good. Not all metrics think he's been otherworldly in the field, but I, for one, think that Fangraphs assessment of him is pretty accurate.
If the Royals are going all-in this year, and Moore does pull the trigger on a good piece (and a possibly overrated one) at the deadline, at first I'd feel good for a guy like Gordon. His prime has been fun to watch, and it seems like just yesterday that "Smirky" was pissing people off with his early career struggles. He's come a long way since then, and I feel like he deserves a team to match that.
Salvador Perez - C -
Still a little bit over his career averages, and his walk rate's up a tad too. Salvy Bench has put together a fine first half, and his BABIP is pretty in line with expected results. He's also one of the few Royals that I can say is hitting less grounders than usual. The worms thank you, Mr. Perez.
Omar Infante - 2B -
After a strong April and an abbreviated May due to injury, June was not Infante's favorite month. I do still like him to rebound soon since his BABIP is about 40 points off his career averages without much other indicators that anything's wrong (he's hitting grounders a little more often, same with pop-ups, but nothing to the point that suggests his bat is broken), but that doesn't change the fact that the results have been a little too ugly to ignore. Still, that walk-off hit was fun, ya-ya?
Mike Moustakas - 3B -
Technically he's improved, but .232/.292/.415 since June began is still not MLB regular territory for a 3B. So, it's his first green arrow of the season, I believe, but the same things still appear to be wrong. Again, I refer to one of my favorite terms, the "dead cat bounce," which refers to when performance drops to a level so low that it absolutely must improve. That feels like where Moose was at, rather than turning any real corners.
Also, here's today's "Talking About This Player Is Depressing So Here's A Random Piece From Somewhere Else In His Player Comment" entry:
The Siberian tiger is reddish-rusty, or rusty-yellow in color, with narrow black transverse stripes. The body length is not less than 150 cm (60 in), condylobasal length of skull 250 mm (10 in), zygomatic width 180 mm (7 in), and length of upper carnassial tooth over 26 mm (1 in) long. It has an extended supple body standing on rather short legs with a fairly long tail. It is typically 5–10 cm (2–4 in) taller than the Bengal tiger, which is about 107–110 cm (42–43 in) tall. (Via Wikipedia)
This is my favorite non-domestic animal. What's yours? Thank you for your time.
Alcides Escobar - SS -
Good Alcides has been around of late, as he's surged up to .295. I might as well not cite his OBP and SLG, since it seems like they're pretty constantly batting average driven. He plays good defense. He's more handsome than your average SS. We like all this, Al. Keep it up.
Jarrod Dyson - OF -
His season his turned appropriately Dyson-ee, where he wrings a good amount of value out of his playing time but never really succeeds in stealing that much of it (though maybe this is finally changing). And yeah, a powerless .344 OBP with good defense isn't an upgrade on an OF slot for a lot of teams, I guess, but at this point I like him a lot better than Aoki.
Danny Valencia - IF -
790 OPS versus lefties, 554 versus normals. Danny Valencia, thy name is Consistency.
Brett Hayes - C -
If visiting player pages and looking at the overall stats of a player took significant time, there is a non-zero chance I'd be angry at the amount of time I have spent staring at Brett Hayes's microscopic hitting line in 39 PAs.
Raul Ibanez - "OF" - ?
Oh, what the hell ever, Dayton. Sometimes, I swear, you couldn't construct a freaking bowl of cereal without screwing something up, let alone a position player roster on a pseudo-contender.
The Royals have a couple more versus the Twinkies, and then I'm going to start wearing my tin foil hat to protect against the voices that are telling that Dayton Moore will trade for Jason Giambi (or sign Jeremy).