clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Despite Their Hitting Prowess, The Royals Pack No Punch

The Royals can hit, believe it or not. Perhaps you might already know that. Or perhaps you've heard at least one or two of the guys have a solid batting average. But the statistics will tell you that the Royals are second in the American League in overall hits (and fourth overall). When a team is batting at a .276 clip in this post-steroids age, that's an impressive number.

Consider the White Sox with several "name" hitters batting. 244. Or the Blue Jays with a league-worst .241. The league average is .261, so obviously the Royals are doing something right. And when a team is that near the top in one half of available statistics -- either on the pitching or hitting side -- usually the results are solid to some degree. See the National League, where the Padres are near last in every hitting category, yet their sweeping the pitching side and winning the NL West. Yet the Royals sit at 27-37 and are already 10 games out of first place in mid-June.

Perhaps it's because of that .411 slugging percentage. It sits them in the middle of the AL in that category, but worse yet, the only teams with less home runs than the 50 by the Royals are the Indians, Mariners and Athletics. Clearly, some teams in the AL aren't clearing the yard much. When you have decent pitching, you can get away with that, and given the new pitching-first era here, the team that puts up at least a few runs will be the winners.

The Royals are also below the MLB average for runs/game at 4.45. Yet they rank ninth in total bases (910), ranking in front of other teams like the Rays and Cardinals. The dearth of power at some key positions is difficult to ignore. Usually your corner outfielders and infielders are the ones raking, but besides Jose Guillen's 13 home runs from the DH slot, there's not much to write about here. Scott Podsednik has a paltry two homers (of course, you expected that given his history), but David DeJesus has only three more (five) and 1B Billy Butler has six. It's just not enough.

The Royals clearly need to make the dip this offseason into the power hitting waters and grab a guy, maybe even one who's overpriced a bit (i.e. the Nationals with Adam Dunn). The power hitter is about to enjoy a resurgence of sorts after the last few years when even decent power veterans go through an entire offseason without so much as a sniff of interest. This season of three perfect games and dominant pitching performances seemingly every night is going to become much more normal and the 14-point drop in league OPS from last season is already a sign of a new ERA of baseball that should look much like the '80s.

Of course, the Royals sure enjoyed that decade much more than the one they're in now. Maybe they'll learn to turn their current game around without changing much of the offensive philosophy. But I would think if you're going to hit, then at least bring them home a bit more often.