Royals New Year’s Resolutions: The Hitters

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Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The start of a new calendar year means two things: everyone mistakenly writing the previous year on checks and other documents, and people making resolutions. I’m not big on resolutions, mostly because the concept of waiting for a new year to make a change is weird to me, but whatever floats boats and such. Resolutions are a thing so I might as well participate in some capacity.

Not with my own resolutions, of course. I don’t have time/motivation for that kind of nonsense. No, this is just about the Royals.

Last year, I came up with some resolutions for most of the major league roster, and the team ended up winning the pennant. Coincidence? Almost certainly. Still, it’s best to not tempt fate, so let’s do this again.

As a team, the Royals should resolve to win the World Series. I could stop writing now, but that would be boring and a waste of everyone’s time, so I’ll look at individual players. I’ll start things off with most of the position players in this post, and in a subsequent post, I’ll do a rundown on the pitchers.

Salvador Perez – Stop swinging at everything. Perez swung at balls out of the zone more frequently than any player in baseball not named Pablo Sandoval, and all that swinging led to poor production, particularly on balls to the opposite field. If he can get back to his pre-2014 swing rate, Perez should have a very nice bounce-back season.

Eric HosmerFind some consistency. In the last two seasons, Hosmer has had poor numbers in the first few months of the season before rebounding in the second half. If he’s going to become the kind of star some still think he can be, he’ll need to consistently perform at the plate from Opening Day all the way through September.

Omar InfanteStay healthy. Several injuries were nagging Infante throughout the year, and his bum shoulder had a visible impact on his playing ability. For him to return to his average level of production – at the plate and in the field – Infante must take care of himself as the season rolls on to ensure he is as close to 100% as possible.

Mike MoustakasLearn that bunting against the shift is okay. Moose did this once, and he did hit the ball the other way a couple of times in the playoffs, but he needs to do so even more frequently so defensive shifts don’t eat him alive again. While I’m sure the Royals want to see him hitting dingers, Moose has yet to prove he can do that enough on a consistent basis to offset all of the popups and lazy flies. Bunting to third could help him provide a bit more value with the bat.

Alcides EscobarBe more aggressive on the basepaths. Escobar is one of the better baserunners in the game, and while he did steal 31 bases in 2014, he probably could have stolen even more. Even if he doesn’t duplicate his .317 on-base percentage, he should have plenty of opportunities to swipe more bags. Obviously he can’t steal every time he reaches, and Escobar still needs to be smart when taking the extra base, but that kind of value should be a big boost to the offense, once again.

Alex GordonKeep being awesome. Gordon’s the best player on the team, and the only thing he needs to do is recover from his wrist surgery. Considering he’s some kind of superhuman, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Lorenzo CainFor the love of Salvy’s Instagram, STAY HEALTHY. He burst onto the national scene during the playoffs, showing how much of an impact he can have on the game. However, it’s tough for him to make an impact from the disabled list, so sticking to the stretching and workout regimen from 2014 will be very important. The Royals have some outfield depth, but they only have one Lorenzo Cain.

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Alex RiosRediscover the power. Rios hit only 4 home runs in 2014, which is a low number. The Royals don’t need him to hit 30 dingers, but because he doesn’t get on base all that often, Rios needs to bring a bit more pop to the plate next year. His doubles and triples will help, too, but this lineup could really use some balls flying over fences.

Kendrys MoralesWork as hard as humanly possible in Spring Training. One of the things that hurt Morales so much last year was missing out on camp and the early season adjustment period that caused havoc on his timing. If he’s going to bounce back this year, it’s going to take a lot of work in Arizona to make sure he’s in game shape, and that his swing is back to what it looked like before 2014.

Jarrod DysonHit more line drives. While he can turn a lot of ground balls into singles, Dyson’s line drive rate was just 13.8% last year. For a player who sees a ton of pitches in the zone, that’s not very good. He did better in 2012 and 2013, so he clearly has the ability. We all know Dyson’s value isn’t exclusively tied to his bat, but an improvement certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Christian ColonImprove third base defense and keep hitting lefties well. The Royals should implement a platoon at third base, but the chances of them doing that out of the gate are nil. If Colon proves he can handle the hot corner, while also hitting lefties better than Moose (a low bar, to be sure), the team may be more willing to give the former more plate appearances.

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