The KC Royals have been shut out three times in four games. This time we look at the production of the lineup and the numbers behind the Royals struggling offense.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the Kansas City Royals need to score more runs. As of the 3rd of May, the Royals have scored 81 runs for an average of 3.24 runs per game, good enough for 28th in all of baseball.
Only the Braves and Rays have scored fewer runs than the KC Royals. It is unfortunate really when you consider just how good the pitching has been. Though they have been hurt by walks recently, the Kansas City Royals pitching staff ranks 6th in all of baseball with a team ERA of 3.34 and they are top ten in strikeouts per nine innings. The batting order and the running game have been discussed in previous posts as tweaks that could improve the Royals offensive efficiency.
A concerning statistic is the Royals low slugging percentage
The table below was put together to evaluate each regular players Batting Average, On Base Percentage, and Slugging Percentage (Slash line Stats) compared to the league average at each players respective position. For example, Alex Gordon‘s statistics are compared to the averages of all left fielders around the league.
Each player included in calculating the league average has at least 50 plate appearances. Though this is not a “True” league average since it isn’t perfectly weighted on plate appearances by each player around the league, it’s very close and gives a clear idea as to who is hitting and who isn’t for the KC Royals.
In the table above, batting statistics shown in green are above league average at that position while statistics in red are below average at that position for that statistic. What we clearly see is that only one Royal is above average at each hitting statistic.
Eric Hosmer is off to a very hot start with a batting average and slugging percentage over 100 points above league average for first baseman. Other players like Moustakas, Dyson, and Perez are near or above league average for their respective position’s slash line. Morales and Gordon on the other hand are well below average hitters for their positions right now with the exception of Gordon’s on base percentage.
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Another concerning statistic is the Kansas City Royals low slugging percentage. For those who may not know, the slugging percentage is a measure of a hitters power where slugging equals total bases per at bat divided by at bats. For example: If a player is 1 for 4 with a double, that is 2 total bases divided by 4 at bats so he is slugging .500.
The league average for slugging is .403 so far in 2016, which means that only three KC Royals are slugging above league average. As it turns out, those same three players are the only hitters so far who are slugging near or above average for thier own respective postilions.
A low slugging percentage explains a lot as far as why the Kansas City Royals cannot seem to put together a big inning when the opportunity arises. It is especially concerning when the DH, and all three outfielders are slugging below league average as the DH and some of the outfield positions are typically counted on to bring power into the lineup.
Right now it is truly a testament to the pitching staff that the KC Royals are above .500. But until the bats come alive, I expect the losing to continue.