Mar 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) makes a throw against the Detroit Tigers during an opening day baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the Royals Defensive Struggles


Apr 11, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals came into the 2014 season with a plan for success. The offense was designed to get on base and put pressure on the opposition, relying upon speed and the ability to put the ball in play to score runs. Their pitching staff, in particular the bullpen, was expected to be able to keep the score down, allowing the Royals to win low scoring games. The defense was expected to be Gold Glove caliber throughout the lineup, with three award winners last year and two other players that were nominated.

Needless to say, things have not gone as planned in the early going. The offense has struggled to put runs on the board, scoring all of 29 runs in eleven games. Likewise, the bullpen, a strength of the Royals last season, has also struggled thus far, posting a 5.87 ERA heading into today’s action. Yet, the biggest concern may be the Royals defense, which has already committed seven errors so far.

Already, we have seen normally sure handed players missing plays that they would normally be expected to make. The Royals have had six wild pitches already this season, after having 60 all last season. Salvador Perez has seen a couple of pitches get past him that have led some fans to question his effort to get in front of the ball. Alcides Escobar has seen grounders go off his glove, and has rushed throws to first on several occasions. Likewise, Eric Hosmer has started trying to scoop the ball on a short hop, instead of just picking the ball as he had been. Mike Moustaks already has almost as many errors (two) as hits (three) on the season. And there was the eleven inning experiment of Danny Valencia at second base.

However, much like the struggles on offense and in the bullpen, the defensive issues are not likely to continue. Quite frankly, the Royals fielders are better than what the statistics would indicate thus far. With three defending Gold Glove winners, and several other players that could be nominated for a Gold Glove in the future, the Royals defense is much better than it has appeared to be in the early going.

The Royals defense will get back to their high level of performance, and hopefully soon. Once that happens, these struggles in the early part of the season will just be a distant memory.

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  • cardsfanatik

    Dave, the only thing I can say is “God I hope so!!” I’m also ready for the offense to WAKE THE HELL UP!! And it’s almost time for the Mike Moustakas experiment to be over.

    • Dave Hill

      I could not agree more with all three points. The only question is, what would the Royals do in place of Moustakas? I don’t think Valencia is an answer either.

      • cardsfanatik

        I don’t think he is either. Maybe a late call up of Dozier, although, that may be pushing him a bit to fast. Could call him up a couple weeks before the All-Star break and see. Don’t want to start his clock, but don’t want to finish 3rd again either. Stephen Drew at 3rd? Not ideal, but more bat, and better D than Moose, actually, Yuniesky Betencort would be more bat than Moose right now :/ Brandon Inge is still a FA, as is Placido Polanco. Jerry Hairston I believe is available, (he may have retired) I am not thrilled about ANY of these, however, the production of Moose has been horrid, and I’m tired of watching it. Maybe sign Kendrys and see if Hos can play third? Play BB at 1st, Hos at 3rd and DH JMaxx? There is a lot of stuff they could do, but they need to do SOMETHING, preferably before the Royal’s are 15 games out. I don’t have a “fix all”, but this ain’t workin. We also have Colon at AAA that could probably play 3rd. Instead of rushing Dozier, we could see Cheslor? Wouldn’t mind seeing if that kid could come up and do his thing. Casey McGhee is hitting close to .300 for Miami, maybe call them and offer a lower level plus prospect, or money, shouldn’t take a blue chip to get him. Like I said, I don’t know what to do, but they need to do something.

        • Dave Hill

          Giavotella has been playing third for the Storm Chasers, so I wonder if that means that he could be an option at some point. Although, it’s not like Gio has produced either at the major league level….

          • cardsfanatik

            In Gio’s defense though, he hasn’t been given the same opportunity that Moustakas has either. I would like to see more power upside from whoever they put there though. I don’t understand why the Royal’s can NEVER have ANY power. They only play half of their games at Yellowstone (Kauffman). The twins have no problem hitting HR’s at their park, the ChiSox don’t have problems there. NOONE has trouble hitting the ball long and hard other than the Royal’s. I am honestly baffled. I can understand long fly balls at the K not going over, but at Target field? The hardest ball I have seen hit all year was by Hos to left center at Target, Gordo hit one out at the K, but I honestly think Hosmer still hit it harder. Thats 2 balls in how many AB’s? Joey Bats has 5 HR’s on the season, thats 5 times as many as the WHOLE ROYALS TEAM. Small ball’s not going to be able to carry this team all year, not enough timely hitting for that. So honestly, if they finish .500, we will be lucky. And that depresses the hell out of me to be honest. The Royal’s are off tonight, and I’m watching the Cardinal’s game, they have hit 2 HR’s in this game. I’m not saying I want a team that lives and dies by the long ball, but you have to have a team capable of hitting it out more than once every 2 weeks.

          • Dave Hill

            Before being able to come home to KoK, I spent almost two years covering the Rays over at Rays Colored Glasses. In that time, given that the Rays are not much of a power hitting team aside from Longoria, I rediscovered my appreciation for small ball and making the right plays.

            The differences between the Rays and the Royals are, to me, two fold. First, the Royals do not have anyone near the caliber of Longoria in the lineup. Could Salvy and/or Hosmer approach that at some point? Sure, but I doubt either are going to be 30+ home run hitters on a consistent basis. Secondly, the Royals have Yost instead of Joe Maddon. Maddon has a knack for putting players in a position where they can succeed, whereas Yost plays favorites and stays with them to a fault.

            I think the Royals strategy can succeed, if they have that one bat in the middle of the lineup that other teams fear. They just do not have that.

            In regards to Gio, he reminds me of Mike Aviles. Aviles had to force Yost and Moore to keep him on the roster, and Gio has not done that at this point. For whatever reason, they seem to give up on some players quickly (Gio) while giving others far too many chances (Moose). I don’t get it.

          • cardsfanatik

            Its actually funny that you made the “put players where they succeed” comment. That is EXACTLY what I said in a comment on Brian’s article about Yost hating pinch hitters. Yost leaves guys in the wrong situations. Baseball is a lot of a mind game. If the guys have confidence, they will succeed. So, its a no brainer, that you would attempt to put them into those situations, and try to protect them from times they will fail (when other options are available) Take Moose batting against Duensing the other night, WHY IN THE HELL DIDN’T WE SEE MAXWELL OR VALENCIA? If you have them on the roster, and aren’t going to use them, WHY ARE THEY HERE? It’s infuriating!!! I like the Gio-Aviles comp, and I really liked Aviles, but your right, Gio hasn’t forced his way onto the roster, and I’m afraid, you probably won’t see much of Gio this year, or any other year. Probably the best way Gio could help the big league club is if someone wanted him for 2B, and we could get a servicable 3B for him in a trade.

          • Dave Hill

            It is starting to get to the point where I wonder if Yost is what is holding the Royals back. maybe it’s just me, but I cannot shake the fact that he was fired, in the midst of a playoff push, with ten games left in a season. Then the Royals brought in the guy that replaced him in Dale Sveum as a coach. It makes me wonder if Ned is coaching as though he is afraid to lose his job at times.

            I’m not a big Yost supporter, but it is far too early in the season for the “Fire Ned” conversation. However, if the Royals are still struggling by the end of May, that article may end up being written.

          • cardsfanatik

            I’m not a Yost supporter at all. Up til this year, I haven’t been a DM supporter either. I think DM has failed in to many drafts, with to high a pick, to warrant supporting. As far as building a team, I think he has done the best he can with what Glass has given him. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, wish David Glass would sell this team to a man that truly loves the game. I think there is more than “just” Yost holding this team back, but I do think he is not the guy that is going to lead them out of 3rd place finish’s. I believe Milwaukee let him go, because they didn’t feel he could “get them all the way”. I think his managerial method was not getting it done, they knew it, and here comes DM, dum-de-dum, and here we are. Best shot at the post season in 20 years, and a guy at the helm that is more worried about who’s feelings he’s going to hurt, than putting W’s in the left hand column.

          • Dave Hill

            Exactly. It’s sad that Yosted has become a term amongst Royals fans.

            It is, however, good to know that should the ‘Fire Ned’ article need to be written, I’ll have one person agreeing with me at least.