Apr 9, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) celebrates with teammate Eric Hosmer (35) after hitting a three run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The offense to this point has been more or less what I expected. A lot of fans have been upset by the output, but really if you correct for all factors it has been fine. Let’s look at it with respect to competition level first:
StarterRuns ScoredStarterRuns ScoredErik Johnson
The Royals have faced an inordinate amount of Cy Young level pitching in the first 8 games of the season. When you face Verlander, Scherzer, or Sale it is going to generally hurt your offensive output. Archer is also really good, and may eventually be on that level as well. Only 20 to 30 starters are on that level out of 150 starters in the majors at any given time, so you should only see one every 5 to 7 games. The Royals to this point have seen too many and it has hurt their runs scored, and the weather probably hasn’t helped either.
Now the Royals are heading out on the road to face a bunch of bad baseball teams. The offense should feast over the next couple of weeks, as these are the pitchers they are going to face as ESPN has mapped the probable starters out.
|Date||Starter||ERA||Proj. 2014 ERA (ZIPS)|
That is a lot of mediocre to terrible starting pitching that the Royals will be facing over the next four series. Only one pitcher who was projected to have a sub-4.00 ERA over a 13 game period.
If come April 25th the team is still scoring 3.5 runs/game, then we can start freaking out, but none of those guys is in the same vicinity as Verlander, Scherzer, or Sale. The players that are under-performing to this point can be easily evaluated after this as well. Mike Moustakas and Billy Butler are the two so far as needing to get going. Alcides Escobar hasn’t been great either, but he has started to turn it around and isn’t expected to be very good with the bat no matter what. Especially for Moose, if he is still floundering toward the end of April it might be time for a change. The only problem being that there is no obvious solution at third base. Danny Valencia every day doesn’t make me real comfortable either, and the two minor leaguers that might be good in the future, Cheslor Cuthbert and Hunter Dozier, are too far away from the majors. AAA has Jimmy Paredes right now, and that is possible as the other side of a platoon for Dozier, but for now let’s just hope Moustakas starts hitting over the next couple of weeks.
Get ready for a big bump in run production. The pitching has been tough, but it is about to soften up while the weather warms, and I expect big things from the bats of the boys in blue in the near future. Who knows, maybe James Shields can even get some support.