What I love about this site is the (growing) community of fans we have. One of the radio talk shows I really enjoyed while I lived near Chicago was ESPN 1000's "Mac, Jurko and Harry" program, which advertised itself as "the last neighborhood corner tavern"... Sometimes I feel like thats what we've got here at Royals Review. Anyway, all my cheesy sentimentalizing is just a prelude to something I wanted to take a look at: the recent numbers put up by the lineup guys.
"AndrewMiller" noted earlier today that perhaps we've been too hard on ole' Emil Brown. I've certainly been down on Emil this year. Honestly, he's kinda like a diet version of what Reggie Sanders used to be: he never seems to impress you, but at the end of the year you look at his numbers and are surprised. Andrew pointed out that the season lines between David (a beloved Royal) and Emil are quite close:
Emil Brown .287/.349/.442
With that in mind, lets take a look at the Post-All Star Break Numbers for the Royals regulars in the lineup.
In Order of At Bats:
David DeJesus: The leadoff man has been the one constant in Bell's nightly lineup swaps, a few nights as the #3 hitter notwithstanding. In 26 games since the Break, David has posted a .261/.304/.383, good for a .687 OPS. This explains his season line slipping towards Emil Brown territory. The .304 OBP is substandard, no matter where he hits in the lineup, and he's drawn fewer walks (6) than almost every other regular, including those, like Grudz, who've played many fewer games. No reason for alarm yet, but the stretch probably prevents David from having a true breakout year.
Mark Grudzielanek: After a long slump and a period of being injured Grudz looked like someone short for this game as a productive player. Since coming back however, he's plugged back into his career line, posting a .297/.343/.385 line. The 1-2 punch of David/Grudz isn't an especially strong one, but Bell doesn't exactly have multiple options regarding guys who can get on base. I know it will never happen, but switching Grudz and David around might not be a bad idea. He's not an elite player, but its good to have him back in the lineup.
Mark Teahen: Things are starting to get interesting around here, as Teahen has moved from a disappointing place-holder in the Waiting for Gordon production, to a borderline All-Star level player. Really. Teahen's now had two extended streaks of scorching baseball, his immediate return from Omaha and now his post-Break month. Teahen's hitting .311/.427/.633 in 26 games since the Break. Look at that again. Then, look at it again. Dude's OPS is 1.061 for goodness sakes. He's drawn 18 walks since the Break, while no other Royal has cracked 9. He's cranked 6 homers in this span, and driven in 23 runs, if you prefer that kind of thing. This is possibly one of the most exciting things to happen around here since a few years back when we all thought Greinke was worth watching.
Emil Brown: The beleaguered one. Like all his Dumpster Dive brethren, Emil went from heartwarming to annoying fairly quickly. It's a tough lesson: finding a league-average guy out of nowhere is always fun, but then comes the realization that what you have still isn't an actually good player. Its like finding a Lean Pocket left on your desk by a secret admirer, sure, the broccoli and cheese has its merits, but in the end you'd rather have something a little nicer for lunch. That being said, Emil has enjoyed a nice stretch, .325/.375/.525 since the break, with three homers and seven doubles. If Teahen can manage 18 walks, you'd think Emil could top 6 in the same span, but alas, its just not a part of the package right now. Still, Andrew's essential point remains, this guy's been OK, and with his hot streak and David's slump, the corner players are merging together.
Joey Gathright: Its not a healthy management of resources to have Gathright getting the 5th most ABs on the team since the ASB, but minor injuries to better players have produced a glut of relative playing time for the Gator. After some nice play in the two weeks after his acquisition, we've fallen back to earth a bit, with a .200/.284/.271 line. Not. Good.. He might be the rare player who finishes the season some year with more triples than doubles, and as a Royal he's done just that (2, 1).
John Buck: As Royal fans, we know that Buck has these stretches in him. Always a threat to post a sub .600 OPS for a long period of time, Buck's right in line with that since the Break, going .250/.292/.309 in his last 20 games. He's also struck out 18 times while drawing only 3 walks. This is what Buck is, in a 5 plus month season, Buck will be a .900 OPS guy for two months and one of the worst hitters in baseball for the other three.
Angel Berroa: The Whipping Boy. Buddisimo has actually made some effort to get B-error-a out of the lineup sometimes, including last night when he pinch-hit German for Angel in the 9th inning. Berroa and Buck have been an out-producing tandem at the bottom of the lineup, going .224/.260/.358 in his last 18 games. Luckily, the post-Pena era has meant less reckless baserunning, and Berroa is 0-0 in steal attempts since the Break. I'm a firm believer in accentuating the positive.
Matt Stairs: Matt's final days as a Royal featured a .246/.361/.295 line, getting his walks and not much else. Fare thee well Cupcakes.
Shane Costa: Costa's been around, floating in and out of the lineup. He's played in 14 of 26 games since we adjourned in Pittsburgh. Costa has smoked some doubles (6) but has only drawn 2 walks without any homers. Compared to Costa, Emil Brown is Manny Ramirez, as the mystery of his Spring Training victory in the eyes of the organization continues to mystify. Maybe he can maintain his singles-rate and stay marginally valuable. I'm not sure. Line: .314/.361/.431.
Reggie Sanders: Its only been 9 games, so its not a huge sample. Still, after his first game back homer, there's nothing here. He's struck out 9 times against one walk and is hitting .171/.190/.244. The positive is, he can't possibly stay this bad.
Esteban German: Remember, this list is arraigned by total at bats. And now, all the way down, we get to German, who's been given 42 plate appearances since the Break. A younger me would still be railing for more playing time, but its just not worth it. For whatever reason, he's going to cede playing time to other guys, including people like Costa, Berroa and Grudz. In a difficult non-role, he's managed to stay somewhat afloat, going .257/.422/.314. German's drawn the same number of walks as Gathright has, in less than half the playing time, which explains the .422 OBP.
Dougie Mientkiewicz: Just 34 plate appearances for Dougie since the Break, and a limited line of .258/.324/.323. Luckily, he is staying active online.
Ryan Shealy: Down at the bottom of the list we're really getting into some limited sample sizes. In 8 games as a Royal Shealy has hit .231/.375/.346 with a homer. He's getting on-base, despite the low batting average. In the same time, Justin Huber is hitting .000/.000/.000 as a Royal. Clearly, he doesn't deserve a chance to play.
Overall, the team is hitting .265/.338/.389 as a team, which isn't half bad, but also isn't half good. The Royals have been outscored by their opponents since the break, to the tune of 121 to 152. The Royals simply don't have any power at this point: its Teahen and Brown and maybe a little extra from someone random. Thus, only 17 homers in the 2nd half. Our enemies have hit 29.