Right now the KC Royals rank 25th in runs scored with 301 total runs. That yields a runs per game average of almost exactly 4 runs per game. The best offense in baseball, the Boston Redsox, are averaging right around 5.5 runs per game. The 2015 KC Royals ranked 7th in MLB scoring 724 runs for an average runs per game of 4.47. Believe it or not 1/2 a run makes a big difference.
Couple the Royals 4 runs per game average with the starting rotations average ERA of 5 runs and it is easy to see why the Royals aren’t atop the division right now. But where do the Royals need help?
So far this season, the following every day players have an OPS above .750: Hosmer, Orlando, Perez, Merrifield, Cuthbert, and Cain. Eibner and Butera both have an OPS above .750 but Butera is a backup and Eibner doesn’t have enough plate appearances yet to really be included.
Morales has already righted the ship as his OPS in the last 30 days is .958 indicating Morales has found his stroke again and is figuring out ways to beat the shift.
Gordon was off to a slow start when he was hurt leaving his OPS at .678 and Morales got off to a pitiful start to the season such that his OPS is still only at .692. However, I expect Gordon to heat up at some point and get closer to the .802 OPS he had in 2015. Morales has already righted the ship as his OPS in the last 30 days is .958 indicating Morales has found his stroke again and is figuring out ways to beat the shift.
Then, of course, there is Escobar. Escobar has THE LOWEST OPS on the team at .589. In fact, Escobar’s OPS is lower than Infante’s OPS who was DFA’d not long ago (Infante OPS was .600)! Though Escobar’s OPS has never been that high as his OPS in 2015 was only .614 on the season, this is still pretty low even for Escobar.
The implications from above are that, for the most part, the Royals have the pieces offensively to perform much better than their current numbers suggest. The key is 2016 Kendrys Morales looking more like 2015 Kendrys Morales.
The defensive minded and athletic Royals simply cannot afford to have a DH not performing. When Morales is in his groove, it protects Hosmer and Perez, and provides one of the few RBI bats in the lineup. Especially with players like Escobar and Dyson in the lineup from time to time together.
The other thing is that Escobar needs to hit 8th or 9th in the lineup. Ned Yost cannot let a guy with an OPS below .600 have more at-bats than guys like Hosmer, Perez, Cain etc. Because, as has been well documented, the lead off hitter may have as many as 70 more at bats than the #4 hitter in the lineup throughout an entire season.
A batting order I would like to see is as follows: Vs. RHP: Merrifield, Gordon, Cain, Hosmer, Morales, Perez, Orlando, Cuthbert, Escobar. Then Vs. LHP: Merrifield, Cain, Hosmer, Perez, Morales, Orlando, Gordon, Cuthbert, Escobar.
Essentially the I believe the KC Royals offense will continue to improve with what they already have, saving trade pieces for improving the rotation which they desperately need.