Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Dayton Moore – genius.
Part of the reason as to why the Kansas City Royals were expected to regress this season involves the moves they made this past offseason. They lost Nori Aoki, James Shields and Billy Butler, replacing them with Alex Rios, Edinson Volquez and Kendrys Morales. Rios and Morales were coming off down years, leading experts to feel they were downgrades over what the Royals had. Volquez, meanwhile, was considered a one year fluke after his strong 2014 season, and could not possibly replicate Shields production.
While Rios has been a disappointment since being injured, Volquez and Morales have been far more than even the Royals likely would have expected. Volquez has been an admirable replacement for Shields, posting a 12-7 record with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.258 WHiP. While Volquez does not have Shields reputation as an innings eater, he has pitched just six fewer innings in one fewer start.
Morales, meanwhile, has been that middle of the order power bat the Royals had been searching for. He has slugged 17 home runs and a team leading 36 doubles this season, while producing an excellent .293/.358/.476 batting line. He has been more than a replacement for Butler in the lineup, as Cuban Breakfast quickly won over the Royals fanbase.
Add in his stellar trade deadline acquisitions of Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto without ravaging the farm system, and Dayton Moore has been on fire this year. Given how the experts panned the Kansas City Royals moves at the start of the season, the fact that he has had this level of success may be the biggest surprise of all.