Stats and the 2017 Kansas City Royals: The Not-Good
By Colby Wilson
You, home reader, are probably pretty smart. So you can probably see this logic.
Royals swing at lots of pitches out of the zone + Royals swing at a lot of pitches in general = Royals unlikely to walk very often.
And yet, the Kansas City Royals have somehow raised the inability to work a walk to something of an art form.
That the Royals 6.6 percent walk rate is baseball’s lowest is no surprise—nothing I tell you about some of their plate patience issues should come as a surprise by now. But what might be a little surprising is that this is a long gestating issue for the franchise.
Since 2001, 21 teams have had a season with a walk rate of 6.6 percent or less. The Royals are responsible for a full third of those. The damage:
- 2015 – 6.3 percent
- 2014 – 6.3 percent
- 2016 – 6.3 percent
- 2008 – 6.4 percent
- 2012 – 6.6 percent
- 2001 – 6.6 percent
- 2017 – 6.6 percent
Somehow, some way, the Kansas City Royals have created a culture where free-swinging and refusing to walk—in an era where we thought everyone had learned to appreciate that getting on base was more important than how it happened—is an institutional imperative. Amazing.