There are plenty of words that could be used to describe the Kansas City Royals offense thus far in 2014, and the vast majority of them are not suitable for an all ages website. Even those words that are fit to post in a forum such as this are hardly positive in nature. In fact, at best, the Royals offense could probably be described as inconsistent.
Yet, there has been one player in the Royals lineup who, quietly, has performed above expectations thus far this season. Omar Infante, the free agent acquisition who was brought along to solidify the black hole that was second base, has been one of the better hitting second basemen in the American League. Thus far, through most of the first month of the year, Infante leads all second basemen with 19 RBIs, and ranks in the top ten in batting average, slugging, OPS and walks.
Not only has Infante been amongst the best second basemen in baseball thus far, but he has also been one of the Royals best hitters this season. His 106 OPS+ ranks second on the team, trailing only Alcides Escobar. Yes, Alcides Escobar leads the Royals in OPS+. Infante ranks third on the Royals in batting average and on base percentage, while his .407 slugging percentage is good for second. Those 19 RBIs that he leads all second basemen with are also the most RBIs on the Royals.
There has been more to Omar Infante than the run production. While he has not had the chances to be a sabermetric darling when it comes to defense, Infante has made only one error this season, making virtually every play asked of him. Even in those limited opportunities, Infante has been worth four runs saved on defense for the Royals, helping to solidify the middle of the Royals infield. Paired with Escobar, Infante has been the perfect fit.
It is certainly easy to dwell on the negatives surrounding the Royals, and there are plenty of them on offense. However, very quietly, Infante has been everything that the Royals envisioned this season. If anything, he has exceeded expectations, providing the Royals with a player who is the perfect fit for their lineup.
The Royals may be struggling, but Omar Infante has had an excellent start to the season. His performance deserves to be noticed.