KC Royals continue to power display away from Kauffman
By Mike Courson
It could be, it might be…it is! Even broadcasting legend Harry Carey might have had trouble believing the KC Royals exhibition of power this season.
Entering Tuesday’s series opener at San Francisco, the Royals were 18th in the league with 74 home runs.
To put that in perspective, Kansas City finished 27th out of 30 teams last year with 147 home runs. In the World Championship year of 2015, it was just 139 dingers. In a season with a record number of homers around the league, Kansas City is on pace for 193 long balls in 2017.
The bad news is the KC Royals still have to play half their games at home. So far this season, 58 balls have flown over the wall at Kauffman Stadium. Only Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago (58) and Fenway Park in Boston (55) have comparable numbers in the American League. Kauffman’s rate of 1.76 a homers a game is the lowest in the AL and the second lowest in baseball. San Francisco’s AT&T Park leads that category at just 1.23 home runs a night.
Forty-five of Kansas City’s 74 home runs this year have come on the road. Mike Moustakas is second in the majors with 11 long balls on the road, and Salvador Perez is right behind him with 10.
That power looms large for a struggling offense that still ranks 27th in the league in batting average, 29th in runs scored, and last in runs batted in. It may loom even larger for players as they approach the trade deadline.
Entering Tuesday’s game, the KC Royals are still alive and well in a weak AL Central. Kansas City sits six games off .500 at 28-34, but is still just five games back of division-leading Minnesota. Unless things pick up and pick up fast, big names are likely to move by the July 31 trade deadline.
Both Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are looking like hot commodities at the corners. Moustakas a reliable defender and leads the offense with 17 home runs in 222 at bats. Even playing half his games in Kauffman, Moustakas is on pace for about 42 home runs (based on 549 at bats in 2015). Imagine what that number could be with the home games played in a more hitter-friendly park.
Hosmer looked like a bust at the start of the season, batting just .225 in his first 23 games. He hit .367 in the month of May, and he’s hitting .366 in the month of June. Add in the three Gold Gloves at first base, and Hosmer has tremendous potential on the market.
Steve Balboni hit 36 long balls in 1985 to set a club record for home runs in a season. Moustakas is on pace to break that record, but will he be in Kansas City long enough to do it?