Jun 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jen: Ervin Santana
Mike: Ervin Santana. After his first start in Chicago it looked like it was the same Santana but then he became the Magic Man.
Brian: Ervin Santana
Marcus: I assume this means positive surprise so I’ll go with Ervin Santana. It made sense to expect some positive regression from his performance last year, but he’s been so good in the first half. Consistent and near dominant.
Jordan: David Lough. Hard to argue anyone other than Lough. Although, I can’t imagine too many people had Ervin Santana performing this well.
Jeff: Ervin Santana. He has teamed with Shields to give the Royals a potent 1-2 punch. Santana’s been stellar and I don’t think anyone saw that coming.
Hunter: David Lough. Lough has put up very solid numbers in his limited playing time, and while I expect some regression in the 2nd half, what he’s done to this point offensively (.757 OPS) has been impressive.
Ethan: David Lough: At the beginning of the season, I was desperately hoping there would be some alternative to Jeff Francoeur getting regular playing time. David Lough came up and proved that he was capable of playing better Francoeur and eventually pushed Francoeur to the bench which I was happy about. I suspect that he may not be as good as he appeared during the start of the season, but I hope he continues to play well.
Michael: David Lough. I did not see this coming. I knew he could hit a little, run a little, but I didn’t expect the instant production.
Kevin: Billy Butler‘s struggles. Shocking to think that a player of Butler’s caliber and ability to barrel baseballs on a consistent basis had a first-90 games that Butler had. For someone who is just 27 and in his 7th year of experience, Butler has been remarkably consistent with offensive output. Though, in reality, calling his pre-All-Star break a “struggle” is a bit of hyperbole, despite what all he (doofus) detractors say: his career OPS+ is 120; his OPS+ this year is 112. The rest of the roster though, is no surprise. There were only two legitimate and objectively capable bats heading into the season, and there’s a fair argument that is still the case.
I'm a KU grad and longtime Royals fan who shudders at the names Ricky Bottalico, Kerry Robinson, and others too terrible to recount, while also longing for the days when Johnny Damon would do commercials with George Brett. I'm glad that there's a new crop of potential stars to hang my playoffs hopes on.