Kansas City Royals Have Gotten More than Expected from Ben Zobrist
By David Hill
When the Kansas City Royals acquired Ben Zobrist, it was thought that he would be a nice fit in the lineup, someone that would upgrade the team at either second base or right field. While his approach and ability to make contact fit well with the Royals offensive philosophy, it was not expected that he would be a true game changer in the lineup. In fact, all he really needed to do was to be better than either Omar Infante or Alex Rios, something that seemed relatively simple to accomplish.
Instead, Zobrist has been on an impressive run since coming to the Royals. In his 18 games for Kansas City, Zobrist has posted an impressive .379/.468/.636 batting line, drawing twelve walks while only striking out seven times. Zobrist is leading the team with nine extra base hits and four home runs this month, becoming a true presence in the lineup.
Zobrist’s impact upon the Royals has gone beyond what he has provided on the field. His patient approach at the plate has seemingly worn off on the team, helping the Royals offense continue to put pressure on the opposing pitcher, even if the hits are not falling in. This patient approach would also be well served for the postseason, as the Royals could, in theory, wait out the opposition and drive up pitch counts while looking for their pitches.
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Ben Zobrist was an attractive piece for virtually every contenting team due to his defensive flexibility and his postseason experience. He is considered as a true professional, someone who can help lead a clubhouse on a young team, or fit in seamlessly on a team with established leadership. His ability with the bat allows him to be slotted in almost anywhere in the lineup, as Zobrist has had at least 75 career plate appearance at every spot in the batting order.
While Zobrist was expected to help deepen the Royals lineup, he was not expected to drive the bus when it comes to offensive production. Yet, he has done exactly that, giving the Royals a lot more than one could have reasonably expected since he has been acquired. This production, should it continue, could be the difference for the Royals this year.
The Kansas City Royals certainly got more than they expected with Ben Zobrist. Hopefully, he can stay hot and give the Royals that deeper lineup they will need when the calender roles around to October.