Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
For years, the Kansas City Royals had been waiting for Mike Moustakas to truly break out. Last year, he hit his absolute nadir, being banished to Omaha for ten days due to his anemic production. While Moustakas was better after his return, and performed relatively well in the postseason, any optimism that he would be able to break through was muted by his track record of failure at the major league level.
This time, that solid postseason and excellent performance in Spring Training actually carried over to the regular season. Moustakas began hitting the ball to all field with authority, easily setting career best marks with his .284/.348/.470 batting line, 22 home runs and 82 RBI, while tying his career best with 34 doubles. Showing more patience than he had in the past, Moustakas improved his walk rate while cutting down his strikeouts as he became a much more complete player.
Now, the question becomes whether or not Moustakas can sustain this success beyond this season. He did display an ability to adjust to what the opposition gave him, going the opposite way until opponents got out of their defensive shift, then pulling the ball through the hole on the left side. It could be that, instead of being a one year fluke, the breakout that the Royals had hoped for is finally here.
For one year, at the very least, Mike Moustakas has become the hitter that the Kansas City Royals envisioned. Considering where he was last season, Moustakas was the easy choice for the Most Improved Royal.
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