Hello, everybody, this is your action news reporter with all the news that is news across the nation, on the scene at Kauffman Stadium. There seems to have been some disturbance here. Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?
“Yeah, I did. I’s standin’ over there by the beer stand, and they come, running ’round the bases with their hair on fire, nekkid as a jay bird. And I hollered over t’ Ethel, I said, ‘DON’T LOOK, ETHEL!’ But it was too late, she’d already been incensed.”
Although the streak is now over, this team is officially hot! When you think you have them figured out or have seen everything, guess again. The recent call-ups from Omaha seem to have brought an energy and rejuvenated the veterans. Dayton Moore has done a tremendous job building this team around five or six core players and stacking the organization with depth to fill in gaps. Very few teams can suffer injury after injury, go pluck guys off their triple A team, and not miss a beat – only Championship caliber organizations. Gone are the days when we would call-up a young prospect and ask them to be the savior.
Two of the hottest hitters in our recent surge back to first place has been Lorenzo Cain and Paulo Orlando. Cain, who at times through April seemed to be sleep walking, batted .351 for May while belting 6 home-runs and driving in 25. His defense also got back to what we have been accustomed to the past three seasons. Orlando, though his defense is suspect from time to time, batted an incredible .429 in May while posting an unworldly OPS of 1.059. The biggest criticism on Paulo is plate discipline and defensive lapses. Other than that it is great to see him finally getting a run of games in right field.
Eric Hosmer continues to rake and is building a case to be mentioned in the A.L.’s MVP race. He leads the club in most offensive categories, including doubles, home-runs, RBI, batting average, walks and OPS. His break-out season will hopefully earn him his first all-star appearance.
Salvador Perez was on a torrid hitting tear and proving himself as possibly the best catcher in the game before his collision with Cheslor Cuthbert that resulted in his injury. In his absence Drew Butera has channeled his inner-Salvy and is swinging a red-hot bat. Who doesn’t enjoy the patented hair-flip after his hits?
Whit Merrifield had an excellent Spring, nearly making the team, and is off to a great start after his recent call-up. The 27 year-old rookie has great versatility and is proving himself an excellent alternative to Ben Zobrist. Like Zobrist, let’s hope he finds a home full-time at 2nd base.
Brett Eibner (great name & hair) has had some awful luck the past few seasons. He almost made the major league team in 2015 after a fantastic Spring Training. He was red-hot in Omaha and looking like a fur sure call-up before an injury put him on the shelf for an extended period. Fast forward to 2016, he was again off to a great start in Omaha, finally got his promotion to the Bigs, was monumental in 4 games for the club, only to suffer an injury to his ankle that put him back on the disabled list. Get well soon.
Starting pitching has been the most glaring hole on this team for years and Danny Duffy’s transition back to the rotation has had a promising start (no pun intended). In four starts he has a decent ERA of 3.86 but his strike efficiency, batting average against, strikeout-to-walk ratio and WHIP have been very good. Yost has been gradually increasing his pitch count and he should be good to go now. Fingers crossed he can get back to his 2014 form.
Alex Gordon’s injury may have been a blessing in disguise. It’s allowed some of the rookies to get their feet wet at the big league level and hopefully it will serve as a wake-up call when he returns. His defense was still great but his offensive production thus far has been unacceptable.
Kendrys Morales has shown some signs of breaking out of his abysmal start to the 2016 campaign. If we want to see another return to the postseason, we need some production from the Cuban slugger. Someone needs to wake him up and tell him it’s a contract year. For the season he’s below the Mendoza line (.200 batting average) and has a dreadful .594 OPS. To put that in perspective, that’s a worse OPS than even Omar Infante.
You didn’t actually think we could go through a blog without mentioning Omar, did you? It’s pretty clear at this point that the Royals need to cut ties with the 2nd baseman. Some, once argued that his defense was good enough to merit playing time. But like his offensive play, his defense is now a liability as well. I’ve seen 12 year-old girls that make better throws. To be honest, I almost feel sorry for him and I understand why he hasn’t been released yet. He seems to be liked in the clubhouse and is signed for another year beyond 2016 so the club does not want to throw away money. But sometimes you need realize a bad investment and cut bait.
The upcoming road trip to Cleveland, Baltimore and Chicago will be important for the team to maintain its first place position. Cleveland has emerged as our most likely competitor. The series with them is four games. Once the road trip ends, we have another four game series with Cleveland at the K.
Perez should be back in the next week. Gordon will most likely be out the month of June to nurse his fractured wrist. Omaha still has a few nuggets left should anyone else come down injured, namely Jorge Bonifacio (LF) and former first round pick Hunter Dozier (3B). Both players are having excellent seasons.