During the All-Star fan vote to determine the starters for the Mid-Summer Classic, there was quite a bit of angst towards fans of the Kansas City Royals. Considering that, at one point in time, the All-Star Team was set to be the Kansas City Royals featuring Mike Trout, Royals fans were accused of stuffing the ballot box at best, and fraudulent activity at worst. Primary among the complains towards an all Royals All-Star team was the inclusion of Omar Infante as the starting second baseman, a player that many were looking to replace in the Royals own lineup.
Yet, since his eventually losing battle against Jose Altuve, Infante has been an entirely different player. The worst second baseman in baseball statistically as of June 13, when he had a .204/.213/.283 batting line, Infante has been swinging a much better bat as of late. In his last 22 games, Infante has hit at a robust .309/.325/.370 rate, with five doubles and seven RBI in that time frame.
Despite this hot streak, one of the Royals perceived weaknesses in their lineup has been at second base. After all, Infante’s spot in the lineup had essentially been a black hole for much of the season, a place where rallies went to die in a mysterious vacuum of nothingness. Needless to say, any thoughts of what the Royals needed to do to upgrade their offense typically began with replacing Infante.
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Should this recent surge by Omar Infante change these thoughts? His batting line over the past few weeks has certainly been stellar, and the Kansas City Royals would be hard pressed to find anyone available to produce at that rate. Yet, even with the recent hot stretch, Infante has not been the type of hitter that the Royals truly need in the lineup.
While Infante is not a power hitter by any stretch of the imagination, what little power he had is almost entirely gone. Infante has yet to hit a home run this season, the only second baseman that currently has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title to not homer this year. Even though power is not a major part of Infante’s game, it would be great to have at least the threat of someone who could drive the ball at second base.
It may be tempting to say that, with Infante’s run of success, that the Royals do not need an upgrade at second. One may think that Infante, if he can continue to produce at this rate, would be more than enough for the Royals offense. Yet, it is difficult to picture these past three weeks as being the true level of how Infante will perform. As impressive as this hot streak has been, it almost has to level off eventually.
Do not be fooled by Omar Infante’s hot stretch. The Kansas City Royals still need to find an upgrade at second base.