Year Six Series: The Hitters


A couple weeks ago I looked at individual starting pitching performances during the Dayton Moore era and compared the results to  all the six year periods in team history. Unsurprisingly, Dayton’s rotations sat near the bottom of the list. Today I’ll tackle the offense. Specifically I was looking for seasons where players put up an OPS+ of 110 or higher in 500+ plate appearances. With the success of Billy Butler the last four seasons, and Alex Gordon the last two, I figured the hitters would fare better than their mound brethren. Which they did, but not overwhelmingly so.

There were eleven seasons the past six years that matched the above criteria. That number placed them 25th among the 34 time periods. Only the offensive ineptitude of the 1990’s kept them from being closer to the bottom. And of course, Butler and Gordon. Those two account for the top six seasons under Moore, which is interesting, since they were already in the organization when Moore was hired.

1Billy Butler1406792012
2Alex Gordon1406902011
3Billy Butler1346782010
4Alex Gordon1257212012
5Billy Butler1256732011
6Billy Butler1256722009
7Melky Cabrera1217062011
8Jeff Francoeur1196562011
9Eric Hosmer1185632011
10David DeJesus1185772008
11Alberto Callaspo1156342009

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September 24, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) receives congratulations from designated hitter Billy Butler (16) after hitting a home run during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Criticize the lack of a Moore acquisition or draftee in the top six all you want but Butler and Gordon have been really, really good. Seven of the seasons came in the last two years thanks in large part to the 2011 offensive explosion. The five seasons put up that year tied the 1980 and 1982 teams for the most in Royals history.

12011Kansas City RoyalsAL5Billy Butler / Melky Cabrera / Jeff Francoeur / Alex Gordon / Eric Hosmer
21982Kansas City RoyalsAL5Willie Aikens / George Brett / Hal McRae / Frank White / Willie Wilson
31980Kansas City RoyalsAL5Willie Aikens / George Brett / Hal McRae / John Wathan / Willie Wilson
41999Kansas City RoyalsAL4Johnny Damon / Jermaine Dye / Joe Randa / Mike Sweeney
51989Kansas City RoyalsAL4George Brett / Jim Eisenreich / Bo Jackson / Danny Tartabull
61978Kansas City RoyalsAL4George Brett / Hal McRae / Amos Otis / Darrell Porter
71972Kansas City RoyalsAL4John Mayberry / Amos Otis / Lou Piniella / Richie Scheinblum

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The top time period was 1975-1980 with 21 seasons. Butler and Gordon’s 140 OPS+ would have placed 9th on that list which is testament to how talented those teams were offensively (Speaking of really, really good, George Brett occupies 6 of the top 15 spots).

Here’s the complete rundown.