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The Royals Growing Pains Aren't Pretty

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We continued to call for the promotion and playing time for Alex Gordon and Kila Ka'aihue. So it's only fitting that we acknowledge the painful adjustments currently taking place in front of fans and media and coaches on the Royals roster from both parties.

Not that I regret ever writing such things. Kinks and wrinkles are only worked out with time, after all, so I still believe that both promising power hitters deserve the consistent at-bats needed to work out their routines at the major league level. However, I can acknowledge that the growth is slow, if at all, at this point and that it can be frustrating (excruciating, even?) to take in.

For his part, Alex Gordon has found an occasional power stroke. Four homers since July 30 will raise some eyebrows, of course, but given that there's been zero doubles whatsoever in that time (or triples) indicates that those round-trippers were rarities on the map, showing that Gordon is going all or nothing at the plate. When he is getting hits, which is rare given the .214 average, it's mostly singles that don't seem particularly exciting for a guy with such potential.

The same can be said for Ka'aihue, who has been abysmal at the plate. That's being nice, actually. The Hawaiian has two hits -- two! -- in 16 at-bats. It's hardly a fair sample, yet it shows just how overwhelmed he apparently is in the batter's box. It doesn't help to only go up there 16 times in 17 games, so it's hard to know who's at fault here, but we can't forget that every player has to make good with the chances they're given and Ka'aihue just isn't getting it done. His .125 average is just scary.

The promise is there for both players, so let's not call things off just yet. Ka'aihue absolutely tore up AAA pitching this year to the tune of an 1.060 OPS with 24 homers. The same can be said of Gordon, who had a 1.019 OPS of his own and 14 homeruns in 68 games, along with a .315 batting average. The raw materials are there and only the best achieve those numbers at the highest level. But at this point, the Royals have nothing to lose and need to get the best look possible at these youngsters. Let's just hope it's not so grotesque moving forward.