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Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: May 25, 2021

Slamtana, again!

Michael A. Taylor #2 of the Kansas City Royals scores against the Detroit Tigers in the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Michael A. Taylor #2 of the Kansas City Royals scores against the Detroit Tigers in the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, the part of the show where Larry comes out and singes a silly song.

We’re back on track after last week’s edition came on Tuesday. The Kansas City Royals have played well as of late, and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. As you would expect, this means plenty of good performers, though the name at the very top of the list will surprise absolutely no one.

Today’s edition covers Thursday, May 13 through Sunday, May 22.

Who’s Hot

Carlos Santana

  • .250/.381/.531
  • 147 wRC+
  • 0.3 WAR

Michael A. Taylor

  • .207/.303/.552
  • 133 wRC+
  • 0.3 WAR

Andrew Benintendi

  • .375/.429/.375
  • 132 wRC+
  • 0.2 WAR

Kelvin Gutierrez

  • .360/.385/.400
  • 122 wRC+
  • 0.2 WAR

Salvador Perez

  • .297/.308/.486
  • 115 wRC+
  • 0.2 WAR

Can you imagine what this year would have looked like without Santana? He has been consistently excellent all year, and is the kind of true professional hitter that Royals fans are simply unused to—unused to playing for Kansas City, at least. He is continuing to hit for power and added a walkoff home run to his resume just this weekend, but is also walking more than he’s striking out, which is truly unbelievable.

On the other end of the OBP spectrum are Taylor and Perez. Neither have high OBPs for different reasons—Taylor hasn’t hit for much average, and Perez is allergic to walking—but both have hit for power to cover it. Taylor, in particular, has three home runs over the last 10 days after having none in his previous 31.

Benintendi has been excellent, as he has been for almost a month. But it’s encouraging to see Gutierrez here. While his high BABIP of .409 is unsustainable, Gutierrez has made great contact and isn’t striking out very much. He has been an undeniable improvement over Hunter Dozier thus far, and if Gutierrez can be competent at third base that’s a huge boon for the Royals.

Who’s Meh

No qualifiers

It’s boom or bust this week, baby. Hanser Alberto would qualify with a 101 wRC+, but Alberto only had 15 plate appearances and did not meet the 20 PA threshold to be included.

Who’s Not

Whit Merrifield

  • .211/.302/.289
  • 70 wRC+
  • 0.1 WAR

Nicky Lopez

  • .250/.286/.313
  • 66 wRC+
  • 0.1 WAR

Jorge Soler

  • .139/.205/.222
  • 20 wRC+
  • -0.4 WAR

Soler would be in the middle of the worst season of his career, as he has been truly putrid in every facet of the game, except that he somehow posted a wRC+ of 32 in his first year with the Royals in 2017. He’s been so bad for so long that the Royals are probably kicking around scenarios in which they release him. His recent track record will buy him another month at least, but it is hard to emphasize just how bad he’s been.

Lopez and Merrifield have been pretty bad at the plate, but at the very least they are finally providing decent defense and above average baserunning. Lopez’s job could be on the line if he has another few weeks like this one. Merrifield, on the other hand, will just have to work through it.

Hot Leaders

  • Carlos Santana (5)
  • Salvador Perez (4)
  • Andrew Benintendi (3)


Michael A. Taylor (2), Whit Merrifield (1), Ryan O’Hearn (1), Jorge Soler (1), Nicky Lopez (1), Hunter Dozier (1), Kelvin Gutierrez (1)