Kansas City Royals: Billy Hamilton is buying into the system
We are in an era of baseball where the power game reigns supreme. However, that is not the case with the Kansas City Royals.
Heading into the 2019 regular season, the Kansas City Royals are built to go against the grain, which is not always the easiest thing to do. If it is going to work everyone has to buy into the system, and that starts at Spring Training.
Playing the speed and defense game is not a new philosophy for the Royals. They have been doing it for years, especially during their 2015 World Series run. That is why nobody was shocked when Kansas City jumped at the chance to sign Billy Hamilton.
In a recent video the outfielders, and manager Ned Yost talk about what this team is defensively. Yost speaks on how the outfield needs to get comfortable enough to play alongside each other, Alex Gordon is excited to have Hamilton, and the new speedster wants to give the pitchers a level of comfort.
One of the things Hamilton talked about is how he wanted the pitchers to know he had their back on balls hit his way. That is buying into what the Kansas City Royals are from the jump. It also happens to be something he is very good at.
Last season, Hamilton was worth 16 outs above average. That is good enough to be tied for fourth with Adam Engel among outfielders. To give perspective, Lorenzo Cain is in first with 22 OAA. The highest ranking Royal from 2018 was Alex Gordon at two.
Hamilton can be such a good defender in part because he is so fast. Which also helps on the bases. To the surprise of no one, his spring speed is in the 99th percentile. At 30.1 ft./sec he trailed only Byron Buxton, Magneuris Sierra, and Roman Quinn for fastest in the league. Hamilton was tied with Engel and Trea Turner.
The Royals provide an environment that really fits Hamilton’s abilities. That explains why it is so easy for him to buy into what Dayton Moore and company are trying to do.
Where it gets interesting is with Yost’s comments. He believes that the Kansas City Royals outfielders can gel well together in order to become this well-oiled outfield machine. And they have the potential to become that.
As I am sure many of you who watched the video noticed, Yost mentions Gordon and Hamilton by name. That makes sense, they are the two known starters. That right field battle is where this whole thing will become even more interesting.
The competition in right field is a good thing, and it will be fun to watch over the next few weeks. It has been said before, but if speed and defense is the desire, Brett Phillips is the answer. The only question is about his offense.
While Gordon and Hamilton are gelling, they will have to wonder who will complete their trio. It won’t be a big deal to them once a player is picked, but there is some serious defensive potential.
The Kansas City Royals need to buy in when it comes to the speed and defense philosophy. While other teams are trying to hit the ball 600 feet, they will be trying to make opposing catchers sweat. They will be a fun team to watch.