Aug 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielderBen Zobrist
(18), center fielderLorenzo Cain
(6) and right fielderAlex Rios
(15) celebrate after the win over the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
3. Royals Superior Defense
The Kansas City Royals are an outstanding defensive team, probably the best in major-league baseball. The KC Royals have the best Ultimate Zone Rating (+50.9) and DEF (+56.9) in MLB, rank second in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with +56, and sixth in Defensive Efficiency (.714).
More importantly, the KC Royals have proven their defensive prowess on the big stage last season. They’re a team that can frustrate opponents by regularly making “impossible” plays. And we know they can do it under pressure.
More from KC Royals News
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 2 update
- Winter Meetings: Any blockbusters for the KC Royals?
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The versatile Nate Eaton
In short, the Kansas City Royals deploy a defense with an above-average fielder at every position.
Meanwhile, defensive metrics are split with the Houston Astros. According to Defensive Runs saved (+30) and Baseball Prospectus’ Defensive Efficiency (.715) they’re among the best teams in the league. However, both Ultimate Zone Rating (-2.6) and DEF (-7.6) consider the Astros a below average defensive team.
Three out of the four major defensive metric systems rank the Astros significantly behind the KC Royals (DRS, UZR, DEF), while Defensive Efficiency rates Houston slightly better than Kansas City (.715 vs. .714).
In particular, UZR doesn’t think much of the Astros infield defense. Three out of the four infielders have negative rankings, including third baseman Luis Valbuena (-4.4), 21-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa (-6.0), and first baseman Chris Carter (-1.9).
In the late innings, the Kansas City Royals can get even better by deploying speedster Jarrod Dyson in center field and moving Lorenzo Cain to right in place of Alex Rios. While the Royals only rarely made this move during the regular season in order to give Cain a chance at winning a Gold Glove, expect to see this alignment if the KC Royals get an late inning lead during the playoffs.
When the Kansas City Royals put Dyson in the game, they might be playing the best defensive outfield in baseball history.
Next: KC Royals Have Better Bullpen