Ryan O’Hearn provided a pivotal two-run homer on Saturday night for the Kansas City Royals and emphasized the that “We play for each other”
Ryan O’Hearn has been a mixed bag for the Kansas City Royals this season. After looking like he was going to be the first baseman for the next decade last year, he struggled to make the roster out of Spring Training and has put together a less than impressive 2019 season. However, he’s put together a solid month.
Since August 25, O’Hearn is slashing 0.295/0.386/0.689 with 7 home runs and 12 RBI’s in 22 games (173 wRC+). He has 18 strikeouts but has worked 9 walks in those games with a 0.306 BABIP. He provided the critical two-run bomb on Saturday night that tied up the game in the top half of the 6th inning.
The home run came on a 1-1 pitch and O’Hearn deposited it into the right-field upper deck. 14 home runs is a career-high for O’Hearn but you’d like to see him getting a few more runs batted in. In 44 games last season with the big league club, O’Hearn has a 0.293 BABIP which is right in line with the league average of 0.300.
His 0.221 BABIP this season would suggest that he’s potentially been the most unlucky player on the Royals roster. Per StatCast, his 9.0 percent barrel rate and average exit velocity of 90.5 mph are not terrible by any means. And with a 43.2 percent hard-hit rate, more of those balls should really be falling in for hits.
After Saturday night’s game, O’Hearn discussed the pitch sequence he saw in the 6th inning on his monster home run and then also getting the rally started in the top half of the 9th inning. Cheslor Cuthbert provided a clutch pinch-hit two-run home run on a line drive that landed in the left-field corner and he was all smiles rounding the bases.
"“I hadn’t faced a left-handed pitcher, definitely not in September,” O’Hearn said. “Seems like it’s been a while. Yeah I mean tie game in the 9th there, Rogers is a great pitcher. He’s got great stuff, just anything I could do to get on base and get a run in the 9th inning there, so that was huge for me. Fun ball game.(On home run) Yeah, it was a changeup that he left up over the plate, I think he threw me three changeups in that at-bat. I was banking on him throwing something offspeed there, and he just it up and over the plate. Yeah, it was a good one.There’s a bunch of fighters in the dugout and guys that play for each other. It’s been a tough year, no doubt about it but these guys are battling. We don’t that the Twins are going to the playoffs or not at this point. We’re just coming out every day, trying to get a win and playing for each other.” – Fox Sports Kansas City"
O’Hearn, 26, has a real chance to lock up the first base position. He’s put together a strong final month of the 2019 season. Ryan McBroom was acquired just before September callups and he’s played pretty well this month with a slash line of 0.321/0.377/0.393 but has yet to find the long ball.
It’s obviously still a small sample size for McBroom and (O’Hearns recent success for that matter) and John Sherman and Dayton Moore will need to make a critical decision this offseason if they plan to pursue additional help for the first base position.