Eric Hosmer has slipped into a hitter's coma after a strong major league start. Mike Moustakas still hasn't woken up. Danny Duffy has one win and a 1.72 ERA. Introducing the future of the Kansas City Royals.
If you're a Royals fan used to losing, the current era of Kansas City baseball is the most hopeful you've felt in years. After all, it's been 26 years since the Royals finished first in their division in 1985, and the franchise hasn't finished at .500 or better since 2003. Few teams truly know that level of losing, so when your farm system is celebrated in the national media as the best in the game, calling KC a future Tampa Bay situation-in-the-making filled with MLB's future stars -- well, it's hard not to get antsy as one by one they make their way to the major league stage.
But the results so far have been rather lackluster. Aaron Crow is turning heads with his overall numbers (1.43 ERA, 37 Ks in 37 IP), but the rest has been frustrating. Hosmer is hitting .179 over the last two weeks (including 2 for his last 21). The power-hitting Moustakas is slugging .319 at the major league level with one extra-base hit in 47 AB. Alcides Escobar has a .612 OPS on the year. Duffy's walk and home run rates are rather alarming (5.0 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9). Simply put, the future doesn't look as bright based on the early returns.
But don't let yourself be swayed by the downward spiral of the win-loss column or the prospect of another last place finish for the Kansas City Royals. The team is still on the rise. The talent is still there. Hope is on the same horizon as before. It's just taking some time to adjust, as everyone should have expected.
If you'll remember, Hosmer took his knocks after being drafted third overall in the 2008 MLB Draft. Baseball America rated him the 24th best overall prospect in baseball before the 2009 season. In 2010, they didn't even mention him. One season later, Hosmer was back at No. 8. The reason? Adjustments. In 2009, Hosmer hit .241 between A and A+ ball with a .695 OPS, enough to make prospect hounds ignore him just one year after singing his praises. Given enough time to mature and find his footing, Hosmer's now at entrenched in the majors.
Duffy just exhibited the best outing by a Royals starting pitcher in some time in his last outing, something we already wrote about the promise of. Moustakas' sample size simply isn't enough time to let him adjust his magnificent swing to the next level, with only 13 games played to date. He simply needs more time.
The same will happen with the rest -- from Will Myers to Mike Montgomery, from Lorenzo Cain to Bubba Starling. The kids will need time, but the kids will also be all right. Not every pick will pan out. That's the nature of this business. Christian Colon might not solve the teams long-standing middle infield woes. John Lamb might falter as he climbs the ladder. Jeremy Jeffress might never find the control to match his stuff. That's the risk associated with prospects.
But in the end, Dayton Moore and company have assembled enough impressive talent to make up for the expected losses along the way and know that the talent is simply too good to fail. And we'll look back and realize the kids were all right after all.