Inside the numbers: The surging Royals offense = surging Royals

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As the offense goes, so do the Royals. The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April, but it didn’t matter, thanks to miserable offense (ranking last in runs (2.7), and hitting (.210/.270/.336) and OPS .605), scoring 63 runs in their first 23 games tied for a franchise record (worst). They ended the month on a 9-game losing streak, dropping them to 7-16. Seven games later, they were at their low mark of the season, 10-20. The offense since, has improved. Not a coincidence that they’re 20-14 in the 34 games that followed, despite the starting pitching taking a step back (but the bullpen has improved), bringing them to four games below .500 for the first time since 7-11 – four games into the 9-game losing streak. In those 34 games, they’ve scored 170 runs, or 5 per game – nearly double what they were producing through the first 30 games (2.7). The Royals are in the midst of their best offensive stretch of the season. Yesterday, they missed scoring at least eight [Read more...]

For one night, Eric Skoglund made Royals baseball fun again

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As Eric Skoglund walked off of the mound, every faithful Royals fan in attendance and those following along on radio and TV knew they had just witnessed something special. Eric Hosmer said the crowd ovation and tip of the cap to the crowd gave him "goosebumps." Manager Ned Yost told Skoglund to listen to walk slow and take it all in, that the crowd would let him know how he did. Skoglund's dad cried in the crowd. Its truly not often in baseball that a fan has these sorts of moments, but this was undeniably one of them. That game will certainly be remembered. The 24-year old left-hander went up against one of the best pitchers of this era in Justin Verlander, and delivered one for the ages with 6.1 innings of scoreless work en route to a 1-0 Royals victory, made possible by a timely hit from Eric Hosmer - who has a MLB-best 67 go-ahead RBI over the last three seasons. These types of games have the flavor Royals fans remember feeling during the 2014 and 2015 seasons which were filled [Read more...]

Inside the Numbers: Is there anything that indicates the Royals COULD turn it around?

Royals General Manager Dayton Moore always says you can start to assess a team at the 40-game mark. At that point, the Royals, had one of the worst offenses in baseball and the fifth-worst record in baseball. Ten games (4-6) later, Memorial Day has come and gone, and not much has changed for the Royals. They’re offense is still one of the worst in baseball and owners of the AL’s worst record (21-29). Winners in just 21 of their first 50 games, the Royals .420 win percentage paces out to a 68-94 season. Not good and a far cry for what we thought was potentially possible in this the final year of the “window.” Add in that Danny Duffy just hit the DL, and it’s probably time to admit that’s it’s not going to happen this season, and, to quote a friend, it’s “time to put some players in the front yard and see who pulls over.” Even the most optimistic of optimist would have a problem shining this turn so far. Something they could say is the Royals have a winning record (21-20) if you take [Read more...]

Royals Roundtable: Do you believe in (Esky) Magic?

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Ned Yost took a trip down Memory Lane last Monday, desperate for the Royals and their league-worst offense by almost any and every metric to turn it around, inserted Alcides Escobar into the leadoff, hoping there was still Esky Magic leftover from 2014 and 2015 – if it was ever real to begin with. Since, the Royals have won six of seven – including a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and their then-second best record in the AL – winning consecutive series for the first time this season and are in midst of their second four-game winning streak of 2017. In the process they’re scoring 5.3 runs a game – nearly doubling what they were scoring through the first 30 games (2.7). Meanwhile, Escobar has gone 7-31 (.226) with the same number as his OBP. Currently, he is hitting just .193, and getting on base at a .221 rate. Not good. Protoypical leadoff hitter, right? A real table-setter? This is nothing new for the Royals when Alcides Escobar is penciled in to the top spot of the batting order. [Read more...]

Royals are failing Mondesi, not the other way around

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Anyone can watch Raul Mondesi at the plate this season and realize he is not comfortable standing in against Major League pitching. Not yet anyway. This is no secret, no giant debate, no conspiracy or "hawt take." The guy just isn't quite ready yet. But we KNEW this……..Didn't we?  In 2016 in 150 plate appearances, Mondesi posted a batting line of .185/.231/.512 for an OPS+ of 36. It doesn't take Bill James running the numbers to figure out that he was not very good at the plate. Coupled with 48 strikeouts, he looked uncomfortable and not ready then, just the same as he has in his first 50 plate appearances this season. Flashy spring training aside, he is still the same struggling 21 year old prospect who some day will be a superstar, but has yet to master the final level of competition. So why the anger NOW? Why are Royals fans so upset with watching him flail as though it is something totally unexpected? Just how much expectation did fans have for a guy with 14 games of experience [Read more...]

Kyle Zimmer can provide the boost the bullpen needs

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After the Royals fell to 2-5 with a dismal offensive performance in a 2-0 shutout on Monday – the Royals first Home Opener shutout since 1971, the Royals sent down a man who shouldn’t have even made the roster, Terrance Gore, to NW Arkansas after he made his only appearance of the season pinch-running for Salvador Perez in the ninth inning. Another roster move came down yesterday, with the struggling Matt Strahm sent to Triple-A Omaha. After his performance through the first week, his demotion should come as no surprise. He’s 0-2 with a 47.50 ERA and 7.50 WHIP so far in 2017 (1.1 IP in 3 appearances), after dominating hitters in 2016 to the tune of a 1.23 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 22 innings last year. Command has been a major issue, as has twice as many walks this year. “I just need to stay on top of the ball,” Strahm said after Sunday’s loss, where he walked two in a row for a literal Astros walk-off in the 12th inning. “I see the problem, but I need to correct it.” Manager Ned Yost said [Read more...]

Just cancel the season

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It's a matter of minutes before the Royals will take on the Twins in the third game of the season-opening series. But, after losing the first two games by a combined score of 16-2, walking 18 batters, allowed two 6-run innings and registering just seven hits (.122 AVG), they might as well not even play today. Or the rest of the season. Just, shut it down. As the seasons first series comes to a close, we reflect back and observe the first two games offering up what seemed like closure. It is true that they signaled the beginning of the 2017 regular season, but they just as definitively ushered in the swan song of a dying era. With a crashing thud, the Royals managed to dash the hopes and dreams of fans and front office alike. With not one single aspect of the club operating as it should, (sans "Bury Me a Royal" Danny Duffy's performance) the players have begun their victory lap much as a retired player far past his prime waves to the crowd before his final game. While the legend is [Read more...]

Projecting the 2017 Kansas City Royals

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Like every year during the Royals Golden Age other than 2015, Vegas and any other notable outlet, has projected the Royals to finish in third or fourth place in the AL Central and below .500. Despite that, let’s make no mistake about, the Royals are contenders in 2017. After the Royals traded Wade Davis, we wondered if the Window to Win was still open. Then, Yordano Ventura tragically died and something happened – its like the Royals decided it was time to go all in. They signed Brandon Moss and former Cubs pitchers Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. They’re going for it! All part of the original core, Eric Hosmer, Mike Mosutakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar could be gone after this year, but even if none of them return, the Royals are in much better shape in 2018 then we all anticipated at this time a year ago. But, for now, in their last year together, the Royals are primed to contend. How? Last year was a disaster for the Royals. Everything that could go wrong, did. But, despite [Read more...]

Are the Royals REALLY interested in Brett Lawrie?

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According to ESPN Analyst Jim Bowden, the Royals are one of a handful of teams to express interest in free agent second baseman Brett Lawrie. Royals fans most notably remember Lawrie from his brush with the team in 2015 when he slid hard into second base and took out Alcides Escobar. Yordano Ventura then retaliated the next day by drilling Lawrie with a fastball. Lawrie then went on to criticize the Royals players and fans alike following the incident, galvanizing him as a villain in the eyes of Kansas City forever. This is of particular note if for no other reason than the Royals have had more of a personal reason to dislike Brett Lawrie than of the typical "bad apple" types discussed as possibilities to fill holes in the past. Kansas City fans genuinely dislike the guy. Which is why this news seems particularly strange given that the Royals front office has seemingly been very keen on building a team around chemistry and clubhouse character. They have made it a point to make it [Read more...]

Predicting the Royals 25-man roster

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It’s now March, but we're just four games into Spring Training and more than a month from Opening Day, but it’s not too early to start thinking about what the 25-man roster will look like. Like the year before it, and the year before that, most of the roster is already set. That’s what good teams do – they don’t have a lot of holes to fill. There’s always a chance that someone could Rey Fuentes themselves onto the roster. The last couple spots will be tough and good players will not make the team. Comes with the territory when you’re a contender. And make no mistake, the Royals are, despite Vegas handing them the second lowest win total in the AL Central (nothing new). After the Royals traded Wade Davis, we wondered if the Window to Win was still open. Then, Yordano Ventura tragically died and something happened – its like the Royals decided it was time to go all in. They signed Brandon Moss and former Cubs pitchers Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. They’re going for it! All part of the [Read more...]