To think, 4 months ago; press, radio hosts etc. were deeming the Royals to have, if not a .500 season, then very close. Now 98 games into the season the Royals are 16 games below .500 and are showing no signs of getting any closer. Coming into the 2012 season high hopes were there for a lot of players: Hosmer with his bat, Alcides with his glove. Then we also came into the season with big question marks. The way Moustakas ended the year last year, could he keep that going or would he still struggle, was Billy Butler more than just a consistent .300 doubles hitter, how was Cain going to hit in the big leagues, and plenty more. Lots of those questions are the good; as Moose has put together an excellent year, Billy is on pace for 30+ home runs, Lorenzo Cain since coming off the D.L. Is hitting the cover off the ball. Now, lets look into some more of those question about the Royals.
Billy Butler: As mentioned above, he has proven himself as a power hitter as well as a contact hitter. Now at 20 home runs, twitter has him on #balboniwatch. Of course, referring to the Royals home run record set by Steve Balboni. Billy has also provided 62 RBI’s as well. He is also proving his consistency, hitting .299 with 16 doubles, putting his slugging percentage at .507. Showing that is the power and producing guy the Royals need in the middle of the lineup.
Alex Gordon: after getting off to an abysmal start to the season, Alex has since started heating up. Moving back to the lead-off spot, he has showed his bat. He now has 116 hits and hitting .295. Still with only 5 home runs his power numbers have dropped, but walking 52 times has his OBP at .379.
Alcides Escobar: The biggest surprise of the year. As his amazing glove wasn’t a surprising aspect of his game, his .302 batting average certainly is. Only 30 hits away from his season total from last year with 187 less at bats is a telling number. Not only is Escobar flashing the bat, but showing a little power doing it; 30 extra base hits, just 3 under his total last year. Certainly, something to look forward to in the future.
Ned Yost: As the year has progressed, Yost has finally settled down and found homes for a few players. Gordon and Escobar are slotted at 1 and 2 on an everyday basis, which has worked well for the players. After that, we have seen a lot of different players in the 3 through 9 holes. Ned has had a year to forget, managing injuries and trying to figure out where to place the batters in the lineup. This last 10 game homestand, Ned had 10 different lineups. Seems a little over-the-top.
Eric Hosmer: With the recent hot (well for him at least) streak Hosmer has taken himself out of ‘The Ugly’. Hosmer is hitting a mere .230, slugging only .365. Hosmer is still walking, as he has 35 times so far this season. With the highest hopes and biggest expectations going into the season, Hosmer has failed to deliver. Call it the sophomore slump, call it whatever you want.
Jeff Francoeur: Wow. After a pleasantly surprising season last year .285/.329/.476 smacking 20 home runs and 87 RBI’s, this has been a year to forget. His line so far this year is .240/.278/.371 with 9 home runs and only 30 RBI’s. Francoeur has not been good, and to add insult to injury, hes blocking one of the most prized prospects in baseball, Wil Myers. Its time for Frenchy’s time in KC to be over. Hopefully, a deal gets done before the Tuesday, July 31st deadline.
Pitching Staff: A team ERA at 4.50. Enough said. The only bright spot in this is, of course, the bullpen. When you are as overworked as the Royals bullpen, we don’t criticize them for giving up a couple runs. In the first 98 games, the Royals starters have completed 34 quality starts. With multiple guys on the DL, expect to see more and more young guys come up within the coming months.
I could have done this for every player on the roster, but lets face it, it would only be worse.