So I’ve been away for a while from the site, but i’m back now and here to urge everyone not to push the panic button quite yet. Yes, the Royals have dropped 11 in a row and a franchise record 10 in a row at home. But let’s be real here, did we expect them to win 90 games and contend for the playoffs? I certainly did not. My initial prediction was 77 wins, and I stand by that prediction still. That would entail the Royals playing 74-72 ball the rest of the way, which is entirely doable and I think a reasonable outcome for the Royals.
So far, we’ve had a couple of silver linings so far in the dark cloud of the start of the season.
1. Alcides Escobar has been a solid offensive force. At .310/.355/.483 line through 16 games is certainly a nice start. Now I wouldn’t dare dream that he could keep that pace, but a final season line of .280/.320/.410 would represent a solid improvement and make the Royals look very smart for signing him long-term.
2. Mike Moustakas is off to a good start. I was worried that moose would struggle early and possibly even earn a trip back to Omaha. But that hasn’t been the case. His early season line of .286/.333/.513 has been impressive. His plate discipline has been better as well as he’s seeing 3.9 pitches per plate appearance (last season was 3.73) this is something the team desperately needs. That and he’s been above average with his defense so far.
3. Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen have been solid. Duffy has shown the brilliance he can possess and at times the fact that he is still just 23 years old. Four no hit innings, then he fell apart in the fifth as he got rattled. He’ll improve upon that. Chen, continues to defy us all and get people out. As people commonly like to say, he could be the new Jamie Moyer… think about it though, seeing Bruce Chen still soft tossing in 2026?
4. Yuni has not been horrible. Ugh, i hate to say it, but Yuni has been very good with the bat so far this year. He’s even taken THREE walks in 40 plate appearances!! His career best walk rate was 4.8% back in his rookie year in 2005. This year he is at 7.5%. His defense is still horrid as he has no glove side range. Seriously, I think Frank White NOW could play better defense. Surely Giavotella can’t be that bad right? Do I expect this to last? Not a chance. But if it continues until the team finally gives up the Getz experiment, then I’m all for it.
5. Humberto Qunitero has been solid offensively. Again, this is not something I expect to last. I only hope it lasts until Salvador Perez is ready to rejoin the team.
Now, onto to some of the reasons why the Royals have struggled so far:
1. Clutch hitting. In high leverage situations the Royals are hitting .188/.283/.278 with 8 GIDP in 155 PA. Wow. No team hits that bad in the clutch all season. They will turn this around and I chalk it up right now to youth and impatience at the plate.
2. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer. Gordon is hitting just .177 and is striking out at an alarming rate (on pace for almost 200 as he has 20 already in 62 PA). Hosmer, has struggled as well, hitting just .203 so far. I fully expect both of these guys to turn around. Gordon is still patient at the plate, albeit too patient at times, looking at strike three too often. Gordon’s BABIP is just .225 after a high number of .356 last year… so let’s not expect him to hit .303 again, probably more like .275. Hosmer has hit the ball hard, just too often right at people (see the triple play he lined into?). His BABIP is an atrocious .184. That won’t last either. Hosmer has also improved his walk rate and strikeout rates early on this season. A rebound is even more likely for him.
3. The bullpen has struggled. Well, again, this is a young team and they are bound to struggle at times. I’m willing to bet a healthy Greg Holland will help this out. The bullpen still is very good and we should just be patient. Tim Collins has looked very sharp so far, walking just 1 batter (and striking out 12) in his first nine innings.
4. Baserunning. It seems like every game, the Royals run themselves into an out or two on the bases. This will need to be fixed and it’ll be up to Ned Yost to make that happen. If he can’t, then Moore’s got to bring in someone who can (hey Bobby Valentine might be available soon!)
5. Injuries. Holland, Cain, Soria, Perez, Wood. Fairly noticable injuries. They will be back (some not til next year).
All in all, I say as a Royals fan, we should stay the course and support our boys in blue as loud as we can. We want to show Hosmer and Moustakas that we want them here for a long time and we support them even when they struggle. We aren’t the Red Sox. We don’t expect to win every single game and boo players when they make a mistake or a manager when he makes a bad call. We support our team and we believe in them. We still believe in The Process. Things will turn around. This isn’t 2005. This is 2012. This is Our Time.