Welcome to another edition of the Royals Mailbag! For this edition, we reached out to Royals fans on reddit.com, to see what questions they were wondering about. As always, if you do have any questions that you want us to feature in upcoming mailbags, feel free to leave them in the comments or post them to our Facebook page.
Our first question comes from RoyalsBlue, who asks “What is the length of leash on Moose?”
In theory, one would have to think that leash is getting shorter by the day. Aside from that one week span where Mike Moustakas had appeared to put something together, hitting all four of his home runs, he has a .103/.200/.143 batting line. Not only has Moustakas not hit, but he has not produced any semblance of power or any indication that he could be a run producer, with four doubles accounting for his extra base hits. Not coincidentally, Moustakas only has four RBIs if that week is ignored.
However, the Royals keep setting arbitrary time frames for Moustakas to turn things around, claiming that he cannot be truly evaluated until he gets 100 at bats this year or 1500 at bats in his career. He has already surpassed the first benchmark, and is 21 at bats away from the second. Unless something dramatically changes in those 21 at bats, it is doubtful that Moustakas will appear to be anything aside from what he is, a player who occasionally flashes the talent that made him a top prospect, but cannot put it together.
However, it is likely that the Royals will create another artificial mark to keep trotting Mike Moustakas out there. Perhaps, based on all the chances he has been given and the overwhelming love from Ned Yost and the front office, he has compromising pictures of Ned and Dayton. Until those can be found and destroyed, what should be a short leash will be continually lengthened, and our black hole in the lineup will remain at third.
Next, we have a question from mannpt, who asks “What role do the fans play in a teams success?”
In most sports, there is a definite home field advantage. However, in baseball, that advantage just would not seem to be the same. While crowds can be vocal, it is rare that a crowd can be intimidating for the opposition, unlike the crowds for the Seattle Seahawks, for example. Thus far, the home team has a record of 270-259 this season, which comes out to a .510 winning percentage. That mark would seem to indicate that the home field, and the crowd, would not have any impact upon the team’s success.
Yet, there are ways that fans can indirectly improve a team’s chances to succeed. Go to the ballpark. Support your team. Be there during the bad times, when it is a lot easier for the bandwagon fans to abandon ship. By doing so, it would be a message that the fans do care, and want to see the team succeed. as fans, that is really the best way we can help a team find success.
Joshrkc asks a simple question: “How do we win?”
For the Royals to find success, and the at times elusive victory, several things need to happen. First, the pitching must be as strong as it has been, for the most part, this season. Given the Royals periodic struggles on offense, having the pitching staff go out and perform at the level they have thus far in 2014 is a key part to that success. Likewise, the defense has to get back to being the best in the American League. They certainly have all the pieces for that to happen, they just need consistency.
Offensively, the Royals need to find a way to get all that contact to result in hits. Their struggles with runners in scoring position have been well documented this season, as have the struggles of players such as Moustakas and Billy Butler. As the Royals lineup is not going to be confused with the 1927 Yankees, or even the 2000 Royals lineup, they need to be able to string hits together and use their speed to their advantage. Thus far, it has happened in spurts.
Which brings us to…
Wineaus19 asks “What must we sacrifice to the BABIP Gods?”
It definitely seems as though the Royals do not get nearly enough hits for the balls they put in play. Perhaps it is because the Royals seemingly have a knack for hitting into double plays once they put a runner in scoring position.
Surprisingly, the Royals have not fared badly when it comes to BABIP this year. Right now, they have a .297 BABIP, which ranks 14th in baseball and is right around league average. Where the Royals need to improve is with their hitting when runners are in scoring position. Thus far, the Royals have are hitting at a mere .234/.299/.300 with runners in scoring position, ranking 26th in OPS. That simply will not get things done.
Given that the balls that the Royals are hitting are falling in for hits at an average rate, it just may be that things will eventually even out. Some of these balls may start to drop, helping the Royals score more and help the team win. Otherwise, it may be time to start making offerings to Joboo, much like Pedro Cerrano did in Major League.
Thank you for the questions. If there is anything that you want us to cover in a future mailbag, feel free to let us know in the comments, on FaceBook or via Twitter.