I’m not sure what would be more interesting to read about, the joys associated with moving into a new house or a recap of the Royals season thus far. My wife and I moved recently and the majority of our free time has gone into working on the new house. While it might be fascinating to hear about the amount of boxes we’ve unpacked, the mice we’ve ran off or what kind of landscaping rock we used around the front of the house, we should probably stick to the dumpster fire that is the Kansas City Royals.
After a promising start to the season, the Royals are limping to the quarter pole hovering around .500. Punchless offense and sub-par starting pitching are mostly to blame, but as of late, the defense has shown careless lapses. It’s very reminiscent of the 2014 start so there is still hope. Who knows if it’s a World Series hangover or what, but the drive and focus is not there.
The young season has had some bright spots, namely Eric Hosmer, Ian Kennedy and the bulk of the bullpen. Hoz has been the only consistent offensive player without a cold stretch. He’s batting around .330 and has a team leading OPS over .900. He hit safely in 26 of 27 games at one point. Ian Kennedy has been proving all naysayers wrong (including me) with his brilliant performances to date. He seems to be the only starter capable of going 6-7 innings with any consistency.
Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis have been money so far. Dare I say that Herrera may be even more dominant than Davis through the first thirty plus games? Of course Davis rarely ever gets to pitch as of late because we never have the lead.
Dillon Gee has been very good in long relief and will get a shot at the rotation. It was announced this week that he’ll take the place of Chris “BP” Young. I’ll put Edinson Volquez and Luke Hochevar in this category too. Although two of Eddie’s last three starts have been smelly, rotten turds, for the most part he’s looked as good as he did last season. Hoch has been excellent in the fireman roll except for one appearance.
The enigma that is Yordano Ventura continues. I’m not sure if he’s trying to locate more but his velocity continues to be lower than where he was a year ago. Hopefully he is fully healthy and simply trying to get more life on his pitches. His batting average against is excellent but his elevated walk rate is horrible and MUST improve. Someone with his stuff combined with the Royals defense should be pounding the strike zone.
The second stint of Joakim Soria is not off to a good start. Although he has had some recent success going seven consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run. Most of those were in low leverage situations. I’m still of the opinion that Soria is a veteran and will be fine but his inability to get guys out in high leverage situations is a concern.
Let’s lump several offensive players into this category: Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar. Gordon and Cain appear to be snapping out of their slow starts and are definitely trending upwards. LoCain’s three homer game was pretty damn impressive. Gordon has always been an incredibly streaky hitter and should be fine. His defense is still spectacular.
Esky’s struggles at the plate have started leaking into fielding which is concerning. He’s always made some errors but some of the ones he’s been making lately appear to be from lack of focus (same could be said of Cain). Salvy’s overall numbers are down but he is driving the ball and getting clutch hits at least. He’s never going to be a great hitter but if he keeps working on his plate disciple and has a plan, he can be a dangerous bat in the lineup.
We’ll begin with Kendrys Morales. It’s hard to believe (and watch) he could go from one of the best and most important run-producing bats in our lineup a season ago, to looking completely lost at the plate. His numbers are eerily close to what he did in 2014, which is a huge concern. Perhaps he could benefit from a batting practice session with Chris Young or Kris Medlen. Young appears to have no answers for the amount of home runs he’s giving up and the team’s move to pull him from the rotation is no surprise. CY can still be a contributor this season with the right amount of rest, bullpen outings, etc.
Medlen’s problems have been more command related. Although he hasn’t given up many home runs, he’s walking too many hitters and his batting average against is atrocious. It’s hard to say how long the Royals can stick it out with Medlen. Another starting pitcher will be hard to find, especially since they are replacing Young. Maybe they can stretch Duffy out or bring up a guy from Omaha until Mike Minor is ready in June or July.
Right field is still an issue and critics of Jarrod Dyson as an everyday player are looking to be correct. His batting average is low, his on-base is low, he has no pop and his defense has been a circus. It could be time to give Paulo Orlando an extended run or turn to minor leaguers Jorge Bonifacio or Brett Eibner for a look.
Last but not least, everyone’s favorite whipping boy (or maybe just mine), Omar “E”nfante. Omar had a good few weeks to begin 2016 but he’s right back to his form from last year. He makes up for his lack of hitting or plate discipline approach at the plate with blunders in the field that would make the Bad News Bears cringe. I like the fact that Yost is already platooning Christian Colon with Infante. Colon may not be the answer long-term but he can’t be any worse. Maybe moving Cheslor Cuthbert to second will be something to think about once the mighty Moose returns from the DL.
Let’s hope this thing turns around and we get back in the race because the last few weeks have been tough to watch. Jonny Gomes is now a free agent, maybe he could come in to give a pep talk.
If you need a new mug for your morning beverage to get you going after a rough night of watching the Royals, or maybe you need a nip of something stronger to get you through the games, I highly recommend Amy Meyer’s Etsy store Sassy Pearls of Wisdom. She hand-designed some custom mugs for me. Not only is she a real pleasure to talk to but her work is amazing too.