A few years ago on Twitter, I created a hashtag called #PositiveFriday. It was my own little movement of sorts. A reminder to myself that, despite the problems with the Royals, there are some good things about the club. If you were an '80s kid, it was my own mini "Thousand Points of Light," if you will.
Today, the Royals season is 40 games old. We are basically at the quarter point of the 2014 season. The Royals stand 20-20. The way the American League is shaping up through the first month and a half, that keeps them in the thick of things. With everyone else. (Thirteen of the 15 teams are within 2.5 games of a playoff spot. Only Tampa at four games back and Houston at 7.5 are removed from this logjam.)
I thought I would take the opportunity to look at some things that could be considered positives we've seen so far. To kind of remind myself that, despite the obvious frustrations that feel incredibly familiar, there are some good things we've seen through the first 40 games of the year.
Besides, Dayton Moore would really, really appreciate it if we focused on the positives. There will be no mention of a certain player at a certain position who may or may not be going to the minor leagues.
If you don't like sunshine, rainbows and unicorns, pull the ripcord now. You have been warned.
-- Teams keep running on Alex Gordon and he keeps throwing them out. He recorded his fourth assist on Thursday, which is tied for the highest total in the AL.
-- While his walk rate has dropped since the season's first week, Salvador Perez is still walking at an 8.4 percent clip.
-- Lorenzo Cain has played a spectacular center field. According to The Fielding Bible, he's been good for four runs saved in center, which is fifth best in baseball. Despite missing time to the DL.
-- Royals starting pitchers have thrown 249 innings, which is the second most in the AL and their 3.43 ERA is the third best mark.
-- James Shields and his magical change-up.
-- Alcides Escobar is playing outstanding defense, swinging a strong bat and is 11 for 12 in stolen base attempts. Quite the turnaround from a year ago. Some of these guys will get better.
-- Greg Holland is closing games at a breathtaking rate. Going back to last May 30, Saveman has closed 50 of 52 save opportunities. I know the save is a silly stat, but no one has more over that time. So for the purposes of this post, it's legit.
-- The bullpen, after some early season unsteadiness, is kicking ass once again. They have thrown 22 consecutive scoreless innings, striking out 24 batters in that time.
-- The Royals have been successful on 69 percent of their sacrifice bunt attempts, beating the league average of 63 percent. (I'm really trying here. There's... not much positive about the offense. Let's put it that way.)
-- Yordano Ventura. Need I say more?