Kansas City Royals Power Is Much Improved Over 2014


The Kansas City Royals are better in almost every facet of the game in 2015, compared to the 2014 edition that won the American League pennant. Though the KC Royals are once again last in the American League in home runs, their 2015 improvements include the lineup’s power.

This is a case where ordinal (rank order) data distorts reality, and we need to look at the actual numbers.

Last season, the Kansas City Royals hit a mere 95 home runs as a team, which was the lowest total in baseball by a wide margin. The team with the second-fewest home runs was cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals with 105. While you might say that’s only 10 home runs, it’s a wide gap when you consider the Cardinals play in the National League—which doesn’t use the designated hitter.

More from KC Royals News

This season, the KC Royals have smacked 93 home runs in 118 games. First of all, the Royals are no longer last in MLB in home runs. This season, they rank ahead of three National League teams (Phillies, Marlins, and Braves).

With 46 games remaining in the 2015 season, the Kansas  City Royals are on pace to hit approximately 128 home runs. That total would represent a 34% improvement over the 2014 squad.

That’s significant.

The KC Royals are now more of a team that simply plays in a big ballpark than a power-challenged bunch of hitters. Heck, if we look at AL road homers, the Kansas City Royals are actually ahead of Central Division rivals White Sox and Twins, with 49.

Oh, and in case some of you stat nerds are wondering if it’s just a bad pitching year, there probably is a little bit to that argument. So far in 2015, we’ve seen a bump in AL averages in slugging (.407 up from .390) and OPS (.722, up from .706). Still, that doesn’t account for all of KC’s 34% jump in home runs.

We can attribute some of the power surge to new acquisitions Kendrys Morales and Ben Zobrist. Morales has been a big upgrade over the fading Billy Butler, hitting .289/.351/.457 with 32 doubles and 13 home runs. Zobrist has chipped in four dingers in less than two weeks with the club. Zobrist, however, figures to be a big power upgrade through the stretch run with 10 total home runs this season, and 120 dingers in his career. While those aren’t huge numbers, it allows manager Ned Yost to remove one pitty-pat bat from the lineup when Alex Gordon returns.

Much of the improvement has come from guys already with the team. Seven guys currently on the Royals roster have hit more than 10 home runs this season, compared to only three last season (Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas).

This season, Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain have joined the double-digit home run club, along with new additions Morales and Zobrist. Salvador Perez has equaled last year’s output of 17, and figures to hit more over the last six weeks of the season.

Heck, if anything, I expect the KC Royals home run pace to increase as pitchers tire at the end of a long season.

The Kansas City Royals upsurge in power isn’t limited to home runs. Their .407 team slugging percentage ranks 12th in MLB. Again, that’s a big jump from 2014 when the KC Royals slugged a mere .376, which ranked 19th.

The bottom line is that the  KC Royals figure to put seven guys in their playoff lineup with more than 10 dingers, and likely feature a couple of guys with more than 20 (Perez has 17, Hosmer 14, and Morales 13).

That gives me some hope that the Kansas City Royals won’t be helpless if they have to steal some playoff wins in a bandbox like Toronto or New York.

Next: Royals Continue To Defy Expectations

More from Kings of Kauffman