The Royals have never been confused with a power hitting juggernaut throughout their history. George Brett, the career home run leader at 317 bombs, is not only the only player to hit 300 homers in a Royals uniform, but he is the only player to go over 200 bombs. While there have been a myriad of factors as to why this would be the case, such as the size of Kauffman Stadium and the speed teams of the 1980’s, that is still a bit surprising.
That lack of boasting a true power hitter may be part of the reason why the Royals single season home run mark has stood since 1985, when Steve Balboni hit 36 home runs during the Royals World Series run. Balboni’s mark has withstood every attempt upon it since, even lasting through the Steroid Era. In fact, the only player to reach the Royals top ten home run list in the 2000’s has been Jermaine Dye, who hit 33 back in 2000. Since then, no other Royals player has even hit thirty home runs.
With the Royals struggling to score runs last season, a part of that may be due to their lack of power. It is, after all, a lot easier to have an offensive explosion with a true slugger in the middle of the lineup. Yet, the Royals do not have that player. Billy Butler, for as well as he hits, is more of a doubles machine than a home run hitter. Eric Hosmer may be the same way, only with Gold Glove defense and the capability to steal double digit bases. As it stands, the Royals best bet to eventually overtake Balboni might be Mike Moustakas.
Of course, that would depend on Moustakas being able to recapture the power stroke that he displayed in the minors. He had flashed solid power potential in 2008, but truly exploded onto the scene with his 36 home runs across two levels in 2010. If Moustakas can make the necessary adjustments to his swing and build off a solid second half to 2013, he may get closer to developing into the power hitter the Royals need. He may even be able to challenge Balboni’s mark.
The Royals are not the only team to have a seemingly obscure player top their home run list. Nate Colbert holds the mark for the most career home runs as a member of the Padres with 163. Brady Anderson has the Orioles single season mark with the 50 he hit during his outlier of a season in 1996. Yet, that mark by Balboni is the lowest of any team for a single season home run leader.
Perhaps Mike Moustakas can tap into his potential and surpass that mark. Or maybe Billy butler can prove that 2012 was not a fluke and challenge the elusive thirty home run plateau. However, it may be that Steve Balboni and his 36 home runs will remain safe for the next few seasons.