KC Royals: What is Wrong with Alcides Escobar Offensively?

pbrennan
Apr 16, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) hits a walk-off single against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) hits a walk-off single against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Never really known for his offense, the KC Royals shortstop, Alcides Escobar, is off to a start that is even considered rough for him. What is causing this deep slump for Escobar?

KC Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has never really been good with the bat. His best season was in 2012, when he was about league average offensively. Other than that, he’s been pretty atrocious at the plate

But the start for Escobar has had this year has been worse. He’s right there with other struggling KC Royals hitters that combine for the worst offense in Major League Baseball.

This isn’t really an April trend too. Escobar has been pretty average to his standards in the month of April. Plain and simple, Escobar is having one of the worst months of his career.

Problem

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Alcides Escobar has always been predominantly a groundball hitter. Since becoming a full-time player in 2010, Escobar ranks in the top fourth of Major League Baseball in GB%. Of course, with Escobar’s speed, this led to an inflated amount of infield hits (ranks 3rd since 2010), which led to some inflated BABIPs and batting averages. If Escobar was going good, the ground balls were going though the hole.

The problem with this year is he isn’t hitting as many groundballs. Escobar is hitting more flyballs than usual. In fact, he has had the highest FB% of his career, at 42.3%.

The biggest culprit here is his launch angle. Last year it was at 8.3 degrees. So far this season, it stands at 14.9 degrees.

Results

There is actually a major problem with that. When Escobar is hitting flyballs… his contact is terrible. Here is where he ranks among 166 batters with at least 150 flyballs since 2010 in certain stats.

  • Exit Velocity- 165th
  • Average Distance- 163rd
  • Swing Speed- 166th

The numbers speak for themselves. So obviously, by hitting more flyballs, Escobar is making bad contact more often. That isn’t necessarily a recipe for success.

Conclusion

The change in Escobar’s launch angle is very odd. Maybe he’s trying to hit for power, though the results have been terrible.

"KC Royals: Ryan O’Hearn Could Be An Option"

If his swing doesn’t change, Escobar could be up for a long season in a contract year. Hopefully he can get it corrected.

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