Life as a Royals fan has improved significantly since the start of the season. They have been competitive over the past couple of months – no small feat given their recent history. It has at least felt like they have a reasonable chance to win every series going in. As a fan, that’s the most important thing to me. A welcome respite from the utter futility of the Bell/Hillman eras.
There are still a lot of problems. Our defense is sloppy, and there is very limited range on the infield at every position. We’re slow, and we make a lot of mistakes on the basepaths. Our starting pitching has been poor. And we have little power.
On the upside, these Royals can hit. It’s been a lot of fun watching them slap balls all over the field. Who would have predicted a major league leading team batting average halfway through the season? And how many times have they rallied with two down and nobody on? Not to mention the come from behind wins. The bullpen has been solid after a shaky start, too.
Our younger stars (and hopefuls) have been mostly a mixed bag. Greinke, Soria, and Butler have been very good. But Callaspo has been inconsistent. And while Aviles has proven he can hit big league pitching, he’s not good at all on second base. Hochevar is erratic. And Gordon has been a total bust (true for his entire big league body of work).
There are many questions to be answered going into the second half of the season. Will the Royals make any trades? Rumors abound on DeJesus, who’s having a fantastic season. Farnsworth is sure to generate some interest. And Guillen? Who knows. The most interesting trades usually seem to come out of left field (figuratively). The most persistent trade rumors often turn out to be hogwash, while some totally unexpected three or four team blockbuster deal occasionally emerges out of the blue.
Will Gil Meche ever return to his previous top-notch level of production? Or even a reasonable facsimile thereof? Will Gordon get another chance? Will Ned Yost get a Royals contract soon, or will he be free to compete for the Braves impending season-ending vacancy? Only time will tell.
I’m looking forward to an exciting second half.