Kansas City Royals: Five Biggest Surprises in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Jakob Junis. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Jakob Junis. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 20: Mike Moustakas
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 20: Mike Moustakas /

Mike Moustakas: Royals Home Run Record Setter

Coming off a severe knee injury, there’s always a question about how a player will bounce back. After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2016, Mike Moustakas came back about as well as possible this season.

Anyone who thought Moustakas would break the Kansas City Royals single-season home run record—set by Steve Balboni in 1985—missed a golden opportunity to win the lottery. Moose entered the year with a previous career high of 22 homers in a season. In fact, his two highest outputs together totaled 42.

So, of course, he has blasted 37 this campaign.

Not only has he set his career mark in home runs, but also his 83 RBI and .839 OPS are personal bests. The downside has been an increase in strikeouts with his 90 marking a steep increase over his stellar 2014 and 2015 seasons when he averaged 75.

Moustakas got off to a great start to the season—one of the few Royals who can say that. He hit seven home runs in April, six in May, eight in June and nine in July. Aided partly by a late first-half flurry, Moustakas earned his second All-Star Game appearance. (Both have come courtesy of a Final Vote win.)

Injuries and fatigue took their toll on Moustakas in August and September. After hitting his 35th homer in mid-August, it took over a month for him to break the 36-homer barrier. Even with his recent struggles, Moustakas has been a pleasant surprise in 2017.

Even those who were convinced Moose would come back strong from his knee injury, never could have envisioned the season he’s put together. It’s a shame that it’s taken until quite possibly his last year with the Kansas City Royals for Moustakas to put together this kind of season.

Next: Assessing the 2018 Schedule

What do you think, fans? What were your biggest surprises of 2017? Let us know in the comments and on social media.