I’m a touch late with this week’s post, but luckily I’m grading myself on a curve … and I’m the only student.
Last week, the Royals did their best to revert back to their usual selves, dropping four games in a row and toying with the hearts of fans like an evil cat toys with innocent, downtrodden mice. The team was 2-4 this week to bring their record to 35-38, three games under .500 and 6.5 games out of first place. The Royals get a C from me this week, which seems to reflect the average team they’re trying hard to be. And while C’s may get degrees, they also get people jobs as baristas with dreams of opening their own coffee shop/book store (it’s a metaphor).
Onto the themes:
Jun 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Chris Getz (17) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Getz is (gone)! Long live the Getz!
The big personnel move of the week had Jarrod Dyson returning to the major league club and Chris Getz taking in the agricultural aesthetic of I-29 North, perhaps even stopping for a lovely round of golf at Mozingo Lake Golf Course in my hometown of Maryville (shameless plug for my favorite place on Earth).
And yet, Getz’s presence hangs in the air like a Royals popup with the bases loaded. Perhaps it’s because Ned Yost made this ridiculous comment to Terez A. Paylor: “Getzy didn’t get sent down because of poor performance. He was hitting (.214) but if you go back and look at a lot of those games that we won, Getz was right in the middle of it, some way, some form, some shape. That’s what you want, you want your players to go out and do something today to help us win.” Clearly, this comment is either a complete lie (you think Getz gets sent down if he’s hitting even .260?) or Yost really has no conception of what it takes to win baseball games (yuh know … players who can hit … and field). And please, forgo the cockamamie arguments about how Yost has a managing position so he must know more than me blah blah blah. It’s ridiculous, fallacious, and unproductive.
Perhaps the lingering Getz is the Getz patrolling right field too often, the Getz with a .254 OBP. That Getz is more commonly known as Jeff Francoeur. The feeling of Getz was the feeling that somewhere in the lineup the Royals were giving away an out by sending him to the plate. This is how it feels when Francoeur bats as well.
Check the method
I’m getting perturbed watching the games and listening to “baseball men” and hearing the term “aggressive” in reference to how the Royals need to approach hitting. We need to be more aggressive. The team just needs to be more aggressive. We’ve done a good job staying aggressive. Steve Pysioc absolutely loves this term; I think it’s how he tries to show the audience that he knows something about baseball, which he does not.
What the hell does it even mean? Aggressive? How does one enact aggression at the plate? Never mind, I see how a team is aggressive at the plate. The Royals are aggressive at the plate all the time. They swing at everything no matter what, and for their troubles they score about 3.9 runs per game. I can’t help but think it’s tied to this word “aggressive.”
Is aggressiveness tied to how hard someone swings at the ball? I think the Royals swing plenty hard even if they don’t hit it hard enough. I’m being slightly coy of course. I probably have a felt sense of what aggressive means, but the more I think about it, the more I think the people who use that term either define it in more vague terms: It means you gotta attack the ball—well what does “attack” mean? Swing hard? or they say it as a general point without truly understanding what it means either.
It’s not that the notion to “be aggressive” is wrong. How could I know if it’s wrong if I don’t even know what it means? It’s that I don’t think the Royals hitters know what it means either. I think they confuse an aggressive approach with a swing first, swing second, swing some more, and pop up to the third baseman … approach. If I were Dayton Moore, I would ban the use of that word in public statements and around the office, clubhouse or wherever the team is. It has no meaning, and thus, leads to miscommunication and confusion.
With this in mind, I’d like to offer a bit of advice to Royals hitters. BE LESS AGGRESSIVE. Rany Jazayerli recently posted about the Royals putrid walk rate and the teams ridiculous stubbornness in resisting sabermetric principles like using the walk as a weapon. As I see it, the Royals view an aggressive approach as an approach that values swinging to make contact over patience. So, be less aggressive correlates to BE MORE PATIENT. We know what “patient” means. It means see more pitches, try to work counts, force the pitcher to throw quality strikes, ideas that other small market teams (Oakland and Tampa Bay) have ridden to success.
Don’t hurt ‘em Moose
I’m scared about Mike Moustakas. He’s had four two-hit games in a row, and I’m scared because of it. I remember when I last thought that Moustakas may have found it, and he crushed my heart. Now, I’m afraid to love again, just like that girl in that movie that time.
But, if Moustakas and Hosmer continue to hit, continue to develop their power, the Royals are poised for a better second half. They’ll need the pitching to remain solid, but Hosmer and Moustakas are the missing components to an offense that has been terrible this season. They’ve been able to stay right around .500 with Moustakas having a season that makes him jealous of Francoeur’s numbers and Hosmer hitting with no power. Now, though I won’t let my heart know it, they look like they might be finding it. Imagine, where it could go.
That’s all for this week. Please direct all hateful, delightful, or insightful comments to the comments section below.