This season there were just 8 in total. In 2010 there were just 6. In 2009 there were 13. In 2008, there were 11.
A comment from Brilliant Reader PM* “royal_in_cincinnati” on my post a while back about Mike Moustakas really got me thinking as baseball turns its collective thoughts towards free agency. He said that while I was trying to preach a little patience with the younger players on the Royals roster, and not to jump to any conclusions about what level of production they will have next season, that he “still believe(s) Moustakas developes that 35-40 (home run) power…”
His comment was in reference to the Royals taking Moustakas over Matt Wieters (which we could argue both sides of that being a good move or not, or even if Wieters would have signed with the Royals at the time) but the point about Moustakas still remains: he will develop into a 35-40 home run guy.
Granted, the comment wasn’t made as a declarative for what the Royals should expect next season from a third baseman entering his first full year in a major league uniform, but more as a general statement about what the future holds for the former second-overall pick. So let me just start there when I say that this, in no way, is meant to twist what our KoK reader was trying to say, but more trying to figure out if he’s right and I’m wrong. Which, there’s a good chance that he is.
The Royals as a franchise have been laughably terrible in the power department, most notably home runs, throughout their existence. We all know Steve Balboni still holds the club record at 36 in one season, and that mark has only been threatened by such immortals as Jermaine Dye, Gary Gaetti, and Dean Palmer. Each year of the past six-or-so has more been a quest for someone to hit at least 25 home runs, let alone 36. And each year of the past six-or-so, the off-season trivia du jour is always “Who will finally be the guy to break the single-season home run record?”
But, is there really such a thing as a 35-40 home run guy anymore?
Over the past four seasons, including this one, Major League Baseball has produced only 9 hitters in the 35-40 home run range, on average. Nine. (38 total)
Those 38 seasons, have been accomplished by only 28 players and one of those players, Albert Pujols, has done it 4 times.
Moustakas may well in fact turn into that perennial power source that teams covet -royal_in_cincinnati’s overall point I’m sure – but the odds of that happening next season, or even at all, are pretty slim. There are only a handful of players in major leagues that actually are.
As with all things Royals, there should be patience. Patience is what has gotten the franchise this far, and has them knocking on the door. But, fans expecting players to do more than they’re capable of doing in 2012 is just setting themselves up for disappointment. Moustakas should be allowed to progress at whatever pace he needs, and he shouldn’t be penned in as an elite level performer just yet.
Let’s save that ink for Eric Hosmer.