Does Ned Yost have clue? Hard to say. But he does have a new hitting coach. Photo by Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

All the bravado you can muster can’t save these Royals


This is not an article about WAR, or sabermetrics, home and away batting vs. day or night pitching. This is about what I hear, and what I see when I listen to the radio or watch this Kansas City Royals team. It’s a team I’ve listened to, watched, scoured the box scores for and spent hard-earned money and devotion on since 1969. Some folks like to analyze stats from Kansas City to Wilmington and back to prove their opinion. That’s fine.

Me? I just listen and watch. My conclusion? This is not a playoff team. Add all the shine and bluster you want, and God bless you for holding out hope. This team was built to be competitive. But this version of the Kansas City Royals just wasn’t built to make the playoffs.

I was listening to Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros on the radio. I love listening to baseball on the radio, and even half-way enjoy it when I’m enduring Steve Physioc and his forced bravado. Ever notice that he rarely uses contractions when he speaks? It’s not natural.

I digress. The score was 5-0 Astros over our hapless Royals, and the Astros had a runner on third. Danny Duffy, “dead arm” and all, was still on the mound and Physioc let out a doozy, speaking of the game situation: “Danny is in danger of getting blown out of this game.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Not that he kids around much anyway. Who, these days, would take the notion seriously that the Royals could come back from a 5-0 deficit? As soon as Astros rookie George Springer hit the 2-run dinger in the first, that game was over.
Someone who comments on these posts recently challenged me to explain what is wrong with the Royals’ hitting. The commenter told me he had cited several expert sources that have tackled this subject, and wanted my expert opinion. Problem is, unlike Physioc, I can’t fake “expert.”

Ah, but if only I knew. If only these so-called “experts” knew. If only Ned knew! Then we all could tell the players and then the Royals would be playoff bound in no time at all.

If they were to ask me what is the issue with hitting, I would say, simply, our boys are not hitting. That’s it. They make way too many outs and don’t get nearly enough hits. And the the hits they do get are mostly singles. That’s about as “expert” as anyone can get who doesn’t wear the uniform.

Is anyone accountable for this? There are 25 players, and few have been punished for poor hitting. There’s a Chinese Fire Drill at the hitting coach position. Dale Sveum is the latest to get the open seat. There’s only one manager, and he’s still allowed to fill out the line up every day. And there’s only one general manger, and he still has the keys to the stadium.

So, no wonder Steve Physioc was still expecting a Royals comeback, even when the boys in blue had dug themselves into a 5-0 hole. All the right pieces are in place as far as the organization is concerned. Any day now, the switch will flip – all by itself – and hits will fly.

Let’s be certain about this team and its expectations. The Royals are getting exactly what they wanted when they assembled their team in the offseason. They wanted more singles. They wanted to have to get at least 3 hits in an inning to score a run.
The top offensive acquisitions, Nori Aoki and Omar Infante, were signed as table-setters. No need for Nelson Cruz and his .310 batting average supporting 19 home runs. No need for a bomber in the middle of the lineup. The Royals moved Alex Gordon down in the lineup. Bombs would somehow materialize with that move.

Except, the players currently manning the corner infield positions, plus the designated hitter have as many home runs apiece as the back up catcher: one. And the outfield has four home runs – collectively!

If you took the hitting totals to-date, and divided them by nine (for each offensive position), the profile of the average Royals player would have 49 hits, 10 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 20 RBIs with a batting average of .251. If we were to give that “average” Royal a name, his name would be “Jeff Franceour,” and Moore would probably sign this prototypical Royal to another two years with a hefty raise!

This is the type of offense Kansas City has come to expect. And this is the offense that Moore assembled this winter.

There is an unwritten rule among Moore and his staff that says: “No one can hit home runs in Kauffman Stadium, so sign Punch-and-Judy players.” Yet, opposing teams come in and spray balls into the fountains like you and I used to hit wiffle balls into the neighbor’s yard as kids.

With these low power expectations, it’s understandable then that our second baseman and shortstop have one-fifth of the teams’ home runs. It’s the stadium, stupid!

And, it’s perfectly fine that we could suit up nine Jeff Franceours and pretty much get the same thing we’re getting now.

But, please, please don’t insult us and have your radio lackey try to create some mid-game melodrama by telling us that the outcome of the game is sitting on the precipice of victory or defeat when the Royals are down 5-0.

As fans, we’ve been tuned to this station for decades, and that song stopped playing when this roster was put together.

Tags: Kansas City Royals

  • Brady Warshawsky

    Think it is starting to look like ‘ol Yost & his drinking buddy Dayton need to hitch their wagon to another town. Their act is getting WAAAAY too old. But what am I to expect? It’s not like David Glass will bring in anyone worth blinking at in their place. It suck being a lifelong Roylas fan.., they always break my heart.

    • cardsfanatik

      While I do agree with you 90%, and I am NOT one of David Glass biggest fans, the Royal’s payroll ranks 19th this year, sitting at roughly 92 million. For a small market team, with so many “homegrowns”, Glass put out the money. The problem is, he handed it to a high school teenager at a condom store right before the prom. He grabbed what he could, before anyone saw, and ran with it. Moore put ZERO thought into what the hell this team needed. It NEEDED Nelson Cruz in RF, not Nori Aoki. It did need Infante at 2B, but it also needed a 3rd baseman that was proven. Even if that 3B wasn’t a masher, he needed to hit for league average AT LEAST, with average D. Instead, they trotted out Moustakas and his sub .200 BA, and left him there for the first 1/3 of the season. Valencia is o.k., but he’s not awe-inspiring. It also needed a couple veteran bench guys, guys that have won before, and know the kind of atmosphere it takes on an everyday basis to stay sharp and competitive. The problem with this team, isn’t David Glass, IT IS Dayton Moore. I believe that Glass actually has very little daily interaction on the player front, the man doesn’t even seem to care for baseball to much. But he DID pony up the money this year. His failure is in the fact he has listened to Dayton Dumbass to much, you know how it is, if you tell a lie long enough, even you start to believe it. Thats Dayton to Glass. And, to point out something else, if Dayton the tard is gone, so is DeadHead Ned. Ned couldn’t manage bingo at the local VFW.
      I believe that if Glass were to get a GM that wasn’t a total dumbshit, you would have a manager that could manage a team, not just coddle them and make excuses for them, but one that can turn them into guys that are PAID to PERFORM. These aren’t a bunch of damn elementary kids that your trying to teach how to play T-ball. These guys have been playing baseball non stop for years. Who gives a shit if you offend them if you sit them because they are sucking? Who gives a damn if sending them to AAA bruises their Prima donna ego, I sure as hell don’t. I don’t, and neither should they.
      All fans need to show up at every home games with signs that say FIRE DAYTON, hold them up, and then walk out, and not come back til Glass does. Better yet, just stand outside with the signs, and don’t buy tickets, This team IS NOT a playoff team. And the ONLY one that can be blamed, is the dipshit who built it.

  • moretrouble

    My compliments on a well written article. I don’t necessarily agree with your point of view, but you express your point well. I do agree that KC should have signed a big bat … as you know, they tried to sign Beltran, but others were available … as you point out, Nelson Cruz, for one.

    I don’t agree that this version of the Royals has no chance at the playoffs. Yeah, the offense hasn’t been good … but, contrary to what people might think, teams run hot and cold … and it’s difficult to know why. Guys start seeing the ball better, there’s a line-up change, a poor home team goes out on the road, etc.

    Yost keeps saying the team will start winning … they certainly did last season after the All-Star break … but, they haven’t yet, although the last couple of days, they’ve done well. I don’t think fans should write this team off yet … there are too many games left on the schedule.

    Houston best Baltimore last night after sweeping KC … they’ve now won 7 straight. Baseball is a bit unpredictable … even the worst teams can play great for short periods. Maybe, KC can catch a few teams on the downswing and put together a little streak … I wouldn’t give up just yet.

  • tDennis Gallagher

    Yost is a good coach….for a minor league team.But for the majors forget it.He doesn’t seem to have the ability to light a fire under these “boys” asses.When he starts treating them like men and giving them a good chewing out when they need it,everything will be status quo.This is a small market where you can’t wait forever for fear of losing talent.And this team has talent.

  • Stan Colbert

    They wanted a lineup they could make copies of and use every day. Then they want a pitcher who will go out and make 100 pitches, and hopefully by that time we are in the sixth or seventh inning. That way the bull pen is set up for Arron in the seventh, Wade in the eighth, and Holland saving the ninth.

  • nathan82

    This is GMDM fault. The only bright side to this season is that he may be fires sooner rather than later. The entire organization has proven that it cannot develop major league talent aside from relievers. DM has yet to develop a starting pitcher, or o great hitter. We have some guys that are OK, but no reliable all star. His drafts have been highly regarded, so that means there is a systemic breakdown somewhere. The GM has two main responsibilities in my book: acquire talent, and hire people to develop that talent. DM may be able to acquire talent but he is a failure and hiring coaches at all levels. The only way to fix this is to start over. Sucks but it is true.