You could be forgiven if you missed it. In the late evening/early morning, the Royals offense kicked to life in a come from behind victory against the Seattle Mariners. Jorge Soler hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth. Martin Maldonado tacked on an insurance blast in the ninth. The six runs the Royals tallied was the fourth time in 17 games they scored that many runs in a game. It followed a Sunday afternoon slog where the Royals plated eight runs to avoid a sweep in Minnesota.
Maybe, just maybe, the Royals’ offense is showing signs of life. That would be a welcome reversal from what has been on display over the first half of June.
The Royals are never going to be mistaken for a team that relies on the dinger. As Dayton Moore would tell you, it’s simply not in the organizational DNA. Although earlier in the season, their balance of speed and power saw them scoring runs at close to a league average rate.
That’s not happening anymore.
Since Hunter Dozier landed on the IL at the end of May, the Royals have gone from averaging 4.5 runs per game to an even 3.0 R/G. It’s not just the absence of Dozier that has impacted the Royals in the runs scored column. At the same time Dozier hit the IL, the entire Royals offense went dormant. (All statistics cited here are through June 16.)
It’s actually the culmination of a trend that began to develop in the previous month. It just so happens that Dozier’s absence coincided with a team-wide power blackout. And through the first half of June, the Royals offense has tumbled into the abyss.
The Royals clubbed 34 home runs in March and April, good for the 20th best mark in the major leagues. That’s a decent number for a team like the Royals. However, that number dipped to 26 in May, a total better than only the Marlins, who hit just 17 out of the park last month.
Through the first 15 games in June the Royals hit just 10 home runs. Ten. Prior to Monday’s game that was the fewest in baseball this month.
Hell, let’s just rip the band-aid off and name some names.
Among the Royals’ home run hitters this month, Jorge Soler has been doing Jorge Soler things. The return of Cheslor Cuthbert has been a pleasant small sample surprise. Don’t get too attached—his sOPS+ is a league-average 100. Whit Merrifield is doing OK with a 103 sOPS+. Then it gets icky.
The last time Alex Gordon drove in someone other than himself was May 31. Nicky Lopez isn’t ever going to be mistaken for a power hitter, but it’s an interesting footnote that his home run came in his return to his college ballpark. And Ryan O’Hearn is now taking aim for the fences in Triple-A.
Oh, remember all the noise about how the Royals were bringing back the triple? How they hit 25 through the first two months of the year to open a wide gap between themselves and the rest of the league in that category? About that… They’ve collectively hit just one three-bagger this month. Honestly, that’s probably the highlight of Adalberto Mondesi’s month at the plate. A 37 sOPS+? My god, that’s almost Chris Owings’ number!
If you’re looking for good news, the Royals as a team are a perfect 15 of 15 in stolen base attempts this month. Of course the team OBP is .270 in June; the worst in the league by a large margin. So while it’s nice that they’re still finding opportunity to run, it’s kind of amazing that they’re on base enough to even think about base larceny.
There’s no tiptoeing around this: The Royals offense this month has been abysmal.
The results of Sunday and Monday show a glimmer of promise the offense is emerging from their recent malaise. After scoring 24 runs in the first 10 games of June, the Royals have tallied 25 in their next five. And that includes getting shutout on Friday against Kyle Gibson and Minnesota.
Dozier started his rehab for his tight thorax on Monday and went 1-4 for Northwest Arkansas. His return won’t be a panacea for this lineup—but if the bats are finally warming up, his return could coincide with a minor, and welcome, offensive surge.