The Royals are hitting .264 as a team. That's the fifth highest average in the American League. Yet they are reaching base at a .314 clip and their slugging is at .388. Both those marks are tenth best in the AL.
Toss everything together and we have an offense that is remarkably similar to last year's: A group of slap-hitting single hitters who don't strikeout, yet avoid the walk like. They are averaging just 4 runs a game.
Sample sizes be damned, why not go down the lineup (or around the horn... or whatever) and look at a couple of stats that can tell part of the story of each player and their performance so far this season. This may illuminate a little, or it may keep us in the fog. Either way, I'm picking just a single stat and running.
Off we go.
-- Armed with a new batting stance, Chris Getz has a 0.52 GB/FB ratio. That certainly profiles as a power hitter. His career GB/FB ratio is 1.6. Last year, he posted a 1.51 GB/FB ratio. His .262 BABIP is more than 25 points below his career average. His .180 ISO is nearly 125 points above his career mark. I look forward to the day when Ned Yost hits him cleanup.
-- Salvador Perez has one walk in 67 plate appearances. Is he lockering next to Francoeur? His swing chart is the epitome of hot mess:
-- Billy Butler has an 18.1 percent walk rate. That's the sixth highest in baseball and a full ten percent over his career rate. Butler has hit in the third spot all month. Hitting behind him has been Salvador Perez (8 times) Mike Moustakas (6) and most recently Eric Hosmer (3).
-- Presented without comment: Mike Moustakas's PITCHf/x hitter profile on pop ups:
-- Lorenzo Cain has a .455 BABIP and is hitting a fly ball just 18 percent of the time when putting the ball in play. Only Ben Revere, Elvis Andrus, Michael Young and Dustin Pedroia are hitting fewer fly balls as a percentage of batted balls.
-- Alex Gordon is awesome. If you don't agree, you have no soul and should root for the Cardinals
-- Jeff Francoeur is swinging at 58.2 percent of all pitches seen. The only hitter who swings more often is Pablo Sandoval. Want to know where those pitches are? They're literally everywhere:
-- We know Eric Hosmer isn't hitting for any power. In 52 plate appearances, he has one extra base hit. One. A double. The least extra of all extra base hits. His spray chart tells quite the small sample story. Basically, his loft comes from going the opposite field. Those are mostly easy fly outs. When he pulls the ball, he's still hitting them on the ground, but they're finding their way through.
-- Alcides Escobar is seeing a first-pitch strike in 70 percent of his plate appearances. It's a mix of aggression and patience in that he's taking an almost equal number of strikes as he's swinging. It doesn't seem to bother him too much. He's hitting .289 after falling behind 0-1 in the count.
-- Ned Yost has used 13 different batting orders in 17 games.