The KC Royals saw an increase in home runs in 2019, largely due to Jorge Soler. Is it too much to ask for even more dingers to fly in 2020?
Welcome back to the 12 Days of Royals here at Kings of Kauffman where we continue to spell out our wishes for our beloved team. We will continue up until December 25th and have already put some big requests on our list. This time lets focus on home runs.
The KC Royals have not always been known for their home runs. There have been many years where very few home runs made it into the stands of Kauffman, coming off Royals bats at least. But, that narrative changed a bit in 2019. Largely, in part, due to Jorge Soler.
Soler had a year for the record books. First, he broke the Royals single-season home run record of 38, then he made it to 40. Soler wasn’t done though. He was able to pass Mike Trout and push for the American League lead in home runs, becoming the 2019 AL Home Run King with 48.
If being realistic, we can almost expect Soler to drop a bit in 2020. Still, dropping a bit, maybe from 48 to 39 home runs, is still a home run number many fans can live with. Soler should be in good company in 2020 though and might have some hitters racing with him for the crown once more, at least for part of the year.
This is why we are wishing for home runs on this day of KC Royals Christmas. In 2019, the KC Royals hit 162 dingers across the season. Only two players managed to hit over 20 home runs on the year. Hopefully, that will change come 2020.
Soler will return and we can only hope he will break 40 again, though 50 would be nice. Hunter Dozier will back as well. Dozier smashed 26 in 2019 and has the potential for more. If the Royals proceed with the rumors and move Dozier to the outfield, he may be able to focus even more on hitting, instead of his defense at the corner. This could drive Dozier over 30, or at least allow him to stay in the 20’s.
Ryan O’Hearn is another name we should look towards. He had a disappointing 2019 campaign, but the end of the season looked up for him. If he can get the breakout year he needs, he is another 25-35 home run candidate and has shown in the past he has the power.
While we list all these fairly “new” Royals, let’s not forget about the returning veteran, Salvador Perez. Salvy didn’t play in 2019 due to recovery from Tommy John surgery, but fans shouldn’t count him out. He is fairly consistent with home runs, hitting over 20 in 2015-2018. recording 27 in both 2017 and 2018.
If these Royals can continue or live up to their potential and the rest of the roster can contribute 7-15 each for the entire season, the Royals could meet their 162 from 2019, and potentially blow it out of the water.
Why is having more home runs so important for the Royals? Really, it’s not that it’s necessarily important for the teams success. The 2015 team only hit 139 home runs in the regular season. The interest in moving up the home run rank is that it’s a different pace for the team.
The Royals aren’t typically known for their power-hitting, but instead for the speed and defense. That’s fine when you’re winning. Unfortunately, with two 100 loss seasons in a row, the Royals need to try something different.
While smashing dingers may not be the answer, at least its a change of pace and an attempt at something different that may help the Royals move the rebuild along and get back to postseason contention.
Join us again as we wrap up the 12 days of KC Royals and finalize our wishlist for our favorite team.