Royals players come and go, but in our hearts, they will be FOREVER ROYAL. Some players, however, we miss more than others, particularly ones that are cyborg in nature and close out games in a coldly inhuman, ruthlessly efficient manner. I’m talking about you, Wade Davis, you mechanical heartbreaker.
But there are a few other Royals you may have fond memories of that are scattered across North America. Kendrys Morales, Ben Zobrist, Greg Holland, and Edinson Volquez were all major parts of the Royals championship runs that are elsewhere now. Let’s take a look at how some old friends did this year. These are players that appeared in Major League game in 2017 that once played for the Royals. I also included players that never played for the Royals, but were in the farm system for more than a quick pass.
Kendrys Morales has an on-base percentage 20 points higher than Brandon Moss and a slugging percentage 30 points higher, but he hasn’t had a great season, and is signed for two more years at a steep price. Ben Zobrist is starting to show his age at 36, and is having a career-worst season. Nori Aoki has bounced between the Astros, Blue Jays, and Mets this year, but has as many home runs as Alex Gordon and a higher OPS.
Jarrod Dyson is showing he probably should never hit against lefties - he is hitting .145/.230/.145 against them in 63 plate appearances. But his speed and defense has still made him very valuable. I will admit, I was not a believer in Jose Martinez, and to be fair to the Royals, they were caught in a roster crunch when they traded him to St. Louis for basically nothing. But he has made the most of his opportunity and could be a nice role player at age 29.
Former Royals farmhand Manny Pina has made the most of his opportunity with the Brewers. Brett Eibner experimented giving pitching a try, but his season ended with Tommy John surgery and he has been let go by the Dodgers. Billy Butler’s whereabouts are still....unknown.
Now, the pitchers.
Wade Davis set the Cubs record for most consecutive saves without a blown save. Greg Holland has faltered lately, with 14 runs allowed and three blown saves over his last 11 outings. Brandon Finnegan had labrum surgery and has missed most of the year, Cody Reed has struggled and spent much of the season in the minors, and John Lamb was hit with a drug suspension and was let go.
Travis Wood has really just been luckier with the Padres than he was with the Royals. His BABIP in Kansas City was .369. In San Diego it is .274. His home run rate has skyrocketed with the Padres. But he has gotten more outs somehow, although I wouldn’t count on him much going forward. Former Royals pitcher Will Smith had Tommy John surgery with the Giants and has been out all year.
Who do you miss the most?