As we enter the third week of Royals baseball, its time to revive an old favorite originally written by NHZ, the Royals Ups and Downs! This week will be the position player edition - look out for the pitchers in a couple more weeks. All stats are current through Sunday’s games. It may be a little bit different than you’re used to, but this is a new day so we must have new things.
3B Mike Moustakas - Key Stats: 5 HR, 1.038 OPS, 187 wRC+
One of the big questions entering this season was whether Mike Moustakas could be the same guy he was in 2016 before he got hurt. The answer, so far, is that he is not the same guy. He’s an improved version over even that. So far he’s on pace to make me not look like an idiot when I predicted he’d break the Royals single-season home run record, this year.
C Salvador Perez - Key Stats: 5 HR, .942 OPS, 156 wRC+
As everybody but Ned knows: a rested Salvy is a good Salvy. To that end, Sal is out there just making it look easy right now. After setting a new career record with home runs in four consecutive games he took a few nights off before blasting another to reclaim his solo hold on the Royals’ home run lead. Salvy and Moustakas have combined for ten of the Royals fifteen home runs.
CF Lorenzo Cain - Key Stats: 21.6% BB%, 4 SB, .490 OBP
Cain is having some tremendous BABIP luck at .467, but he’s also set a new career high for walks in a month at ten. He’s still got a bunch more games to play, this month, too. One worrisome sign is that his hard contact percentage is only 13.3% while he leads the team in soft contact.
OF Paulo Orlando - Key Stats: 28.6% K%, .299 OPS, -23 wRC+
That wRC+ says it all. It is a percentage stat where 100 equals league average and something like 74 would be 26% below league average while 112 would be 12% above league average. He is so bad that the Royals would apparently be better off just not even sending anyone to the plate when it’s his turn to bat.
2B Raul Mondesi - Key Stats: 5 SB, -7 wRC+, .152 OBP
No one questions Mondesi’s speed, he is tied for the most stolen bases in baseball. Unfortunately, much like Moose but in a bad way, he looks exactly the same as he did when we saw him last year - completely over-matched.
1B Eric Hosmer - Key Stats: 62% GB%, .506 OPS
Hosmer actually leads the team in hard contact percentage, he is lowest among the starters in soft contact percentage. How can he be down here? Groundballs. He also has the hardest hit ball in the major leagues but it was a groundball to the second baseman. The frustration with the Royals’ dashing first baseman continues.
DH Brandon Moss - Key Stats: 36.1% K%, 16.7% BB%
Moss was signed to hit baseballs and chew bubble gum. Apparently he’s still got plenty of bubble gum because he has only three hits, though two of those are home runs. All his hits have come toward the end of the time period in question. He’s also got the second highest walk percentage on the team, so it may be only a matter of time before he gets hot.
LF Alex Gordon - Key Stats: .188 AVG, 63.9% GB%
Anyone hoping for a Royal return to the playoffs is counting on Alex to make a turn-around from last season. He came up with a couple big hits in the Astros series as well as a good night Saturday, but otherwise continues to not look much like the perennial all-star the team thought they were signing. He is the only player on the team with a higher GB% than Hosmer.
SS Alcides Escobar - Key Stats: .572 OPS, 29 wRC+
Esky is Esky. This is nothing new for him; we just thank our lucky stars he’s doing it from the eight-hole instead of while leading off.
UT Cheslor Cuthbert
Cheslor has a home run and has looked adequate in his handful of plate appearances. He did not impress anyone while standing near second base. He did at least look marginally better at third when he played there.
C Drew Butera
Drew has played in three games, he does not yet have a hit.
UT Christian Colon
Colon is hitless in two games. He did flash a little leather.
OF Terrance Gore
Gore appeared in only a single game as a pinch runner after beating out Whit Merrifield for the final roster spot. He did not impact the game. With his demotion to make way for more bullpen arms he probably won’t return to the MLB roster - or this blog space - until September call-ups
So those are the Royals offense ups and downs for the first two weeks of the season. Are there any miscategorized hitters on the list? Correct it in the comments! The Royals start a 2-game series against the Giants tomorrow, where everyone will have a chance to work on improving their standings here for next time.