Apr 4, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Norichika Aoki (23) connects for a single during the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Quick – name the only team in baseball that has yet to hit a home run. Since you are reading this post here, and based off the headline, it’s pretty easy to guess that the answer happens to be the Kansas City Royals.
With a week gone in the regular season, the Royals find themselves with fewer home runs than Gio Gonzalez. For most other teams, such a statistic would be moderately depressing, even if the season has only just begun. Already, the Royals have set a franchise record for their most games at the start of the season without a homer, and only a very few of the balls hit appeared to threaten that power outage. However, Ned Yost and the rest of the Royals coaching staff is unconcerned about that lack of power.
In this situation, Yost is actually correct. While it would be great to see Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler start to hit home runs, or Mike Moustakas to start hitting something, that just is not how this team is built. The Royals are designed to get on base, work the count and put the ball in play. This is not a team that will be threatening to break power records. Steve Balboni‘s home run record is likely safe for another year.
What the Royals are, theoretically, is a team designed for the spacious confines of Kauffman Stadium. With that in mind, they are far more likely to be amongst the league leaders in doubles and stolen bases. Much like last year, when the Royals ranked last in baseball with 112 home runs, that is not likely to change in 2014. However, if the team performs as expected, and as we all hope, the lack of home run production will not matter.
The Kansas City Royals will score runs this season. Once their batting average with runners in scoring position begins to normalize, those runs will start to cross the plate. As long as runners continue to get on base, then the Royals lack of power will not be a concern.
The Royals were built to get on base and put pressure on opposing defenses. They were not built to try to hit home runs in a park that suppresses power.