For most baseball fans, this week is the worst week of the season. Sure, the All-Star festivities are kind of fun, but once the game is over, we’re left with two more nights without major league games. These are trying times, friends.
With that in mind, now is a good time to look back at what went down in the first half of the season. The Royals had an up-and-down first 94 games, finishing just two games above .500. In the following paragraphs I’ll hand out some awards to a few of the team’s notable players. The awards are really just words and not anything tangible, but it’s the thought that counts.
Most Valuable Player: Alex Gordon
Despite his struggles in the last couple of weeks, Gordon is having yet another tremendous season as one of the best all-around players in baseball. He leads the team in several stats, including runs scored, wRC+, and WAR. His 4.6 fWAR trails only Mike Trout among American League players, and ranks 4th in all of baseball. The Royals don’t have another player who can replace Gordon’s production, so they’ll need him to return to the lineup fully healthy and ready to perform once again.
I admit this is kind of a cop-out by giving it to two players, but this is my awards show and I’ll do whatever I darn well please. This duo has been nothing short of incredible so far. Davis has excelled in his return to the bullpen, striking out more than 14 batters per 9 innings, and allowing as many extra-base hits as I have this year. That is, zero.
Holland’s been his usual dominant self, with a strikeout rate just below Davis’, an ERA- of 46, and 25 saves. Without this combo manning the late innings, the Royals would certainly be in a much worse position than they currently are.
Biggest Surprise: Alcides Escobar
We’ve always known Escobar’s glove would carry him, but he brought his bat with him this season, which is a helpful tool to have as a baseball player. He’s struggled recently, seeing his wRC+ fall to 96, but he’s still been one of the most valuable shortstops in the league, and his defense up the middle has been huge for a team needing to prevent as many runs as possible.
Honorable Mention: Jarrod Dyson, Jason Vargas
Biggest Disappointment: Too Many To List
Not all awards have to be good awards, and this is one of those not-good awards. In fact, this title is bad enough to be shared by a handful of Royals. Mike Moustakas is still trying to come back from his horrific start. Nori Aoki has apparently lost his ability to hit for extra bases, as has Billy Butler, who can’t seem to return to his consistent self. Eric Hosmer, despite his torrid pace in July, is still hitting worse than Dyson overall. Needless to say, the offense has failed to meet expectations so far.
Best Play: Alcides Escobar, 4/21
There were a lot of quality nominees for this prestigious award, but I had to give it to Escobar, who ran roughly 120 feet from behind second base into foul territory to snag a popup just before it touched the ground. I’m still amazed every time I watch the video, which is what you can do now:
What about you? Who are you giving these fictional awards to? Feel free to leave your selections in the comments.
Tags: Kansas City Royals