Kansas City Royals Offense: Lucky or Good?

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So far the Kansas City Royals offense has not been the problem it has been over the past couple of seasons. They are tied for second in runs scored, second in OBP, first in slugging, and fifth in home runs. This is definitely not what anyone was expecting.

Now we know they are not going to score over seven runs per game all season, and the team will not get on base at above a 40% clip the whole way. On the other hand, this team is probably going to be better than they were last year offensively despite only having a seven game sample to draw inference from.

Starting with game seven of 2014, I did a rolling sum for how many runs the Royals scored in every seven game period last year. That is 159 seven game chunks. In only one of those 159 sets did they score as many runs as they have to start this year. So it is possible that the offense has had its best performance of this year already and will revert back to last year’s form, but it is pretty unlikely as 0.6% of the time last year they were better than this based on seven game samples.

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Probabilistically, we can also look at it from an outcome perspective. Last year the Royals scored less than 4 run in a game 79 times, or almost 49% of the time. If you calculate the probability of any seven game period having 0 such games from a similar team it comes out to a 0.9% likelihood.

Most of the continued success of this offense will hinge on how far the coming regression goes. If they fall back to 5 runs a game and stay there, this team is going to be very, very good. If they fall back to 4.2 runs per game they will be okay, but have to fight hard to stay in the playoff picture. Fangraphs has them ending at 4.31 runs per game, which is already approaching 10% above last year, and that has moved their win projection up to 83. Seven games has moved their model up 3 to 4 wins already.

This team’s hot start is not “real” in the sense that no team is as good as the Royals have played this first week, but it should definitely not be ignored either. Expectations for the Kansas City Royals should be shifting upward for everyone.

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