Apr 17, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) drives in a run with a single during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Mailbag: Mike Moustakas, Fans, Getting Hits


May 1, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals designated hitter Billy Butler (16) drives in a run with a single against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Tags: Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas

  • Clint Gentry

    This might be the optimist in me, but I predicted that Moose would have the same year this year, as Hoz did last year, which is to say, hits like shit at the beginning of the season, then, about a quarter of the way through, something will turn on. Let’s not forget how long Hoz wasn’t hitting last year, he then turned it around and was one of the best hitters in the AL…I won’t predict Moose hitting .300 but I think if you keep running him out there, he will get it. It helps that he’s dynamite at the hot corner, so we at least gain defensive acumen while he’s’ working on getting his hitting turned around.

    • Dave Hill

      The defense is the only real justification I can think of at this point.

      I just wonder how long it will take before the Royals give up on Moustakas, or if they will keep sending him out there should he not improve. I like that he’s seeing more pitches; however, he needs to be doing something at the plate. Time *has* to be running short.

      If they give him until the end of June, then fine. But if he’s still hitting ~.150 at that point with no signs of improvement, I would hope they do something.

      • Clint Gentry

        I think the end of June would be enough to see if he’s going to get it. If there’s no improvement, it might be time for a trip to Omaha.

        • kibo

          Let’s go the end of May, remember it’s not just this year he hasn’t hit

          • Clint Gentry

            If he gets his average up to/above .200 by the end of may, keep him another month. I can’t stress enough what happened to Hosmer last year.

          • kibo

            I think that is part of the problem, we are trying to compare Moose and Hoz and they are two different players who have had two different career paths. Hosmer has had one subpar season, while Moose has had basically one good half season. While Hoz has proven he can make adjustments and hit major league pitching, Moose really never has. Its not a good comparison. I’m not saying ‘trade him’, but send him down let him show for an extended period of time he can hit and make adjustments. It maybe that he is a major league third basemen, with a AAA bat.

  • jimfetterolf

    What will measure Moose’s leash at this point is what is behind him. Valencia shows some life, but historically bad against righties with a mediocre glove, so not a full time replacement. Colon isn’t doing anything in Omaha, so that leaves Gio as savior. He hits righties as well as he does lefties, and the extra error or two a week can be made ujp for if he can just hit .240 or so, so the job is his to seize. Has nothing to do with Ned Yost love, has everything to do with the replacement. I suggested today at the Star that Andy should join Moose at Omaha to try to get his game up to major league level.

    If Gio can hit at all I think it’s time for moose to be demoted. May be his last hope, spend the rest of the year in Omaha and learn to stay balanced and hit line drives. If not, Cuthbert and Dozier are the next hopes.

  • moretrouble

    If Valencia hits reasonably well and the team performs as expected, the front office may give Moustakas the rest of the year. Moose does give them solid defense at the position. Plus, they have a lot of money invested in him. If they can win and carry him on the roster all season, they might do that.