The KC Royals need changes in hitting philosophy

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

As easy as it is to harp on the pitching woes of the KC Royals, offensively the team is putting up historically bad numbers as well.

Whit Merrifield led the team with a .282 average in 2020. Outside of Cheslor Cuthbert hitting .274 in 2016, that is the worst for a KC Royals qualified leader since Lou Piniella had the same average in the franchise’s inaugural season in 1969.

Cuthbert only had eight plate appearances above the required 502 to qualify, if not for him Eric Hosmer would have been the best on the team with a .266 average. Tough medicine to swallow.

As a team, the Royals hit .244 this season, which ties the 1970 squad for second-worst combine performance. That edges out the first year of existence when .240 was the mark.

The last time Kansas City eclipsed .260 as a club was in 2016 and this year’s performance is 30 points shy of the swinging days in ’10 and ’11 when they hit .274 and .275, respectively.

The Royals are not getting on base by other means, either. Their OBP of .309 this season matches last year and the ’69 and ’70 seasons as second worst. Only the .305 rate in 2018 saves it from being the most atrocious ever.

Even if the pitching improves, and many signs point to that, the wins will still be hard to come by without runs being pushed across the plate. Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Adalberto Mondesi, Nicky Lopez, and crew must not only collect more hits but find alternative ways to get on base.

Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Brad Keller, and perhaps a couple of rookies who could start, need to not feel the pressure of having a near-perfect game every time they take the rubber. The fans want to feel one or two-run deficits are not insurmountable.

Much of the thrill of watching the mid-2010 teams was that you always knew there was a good chance they could rally. The last few years, once the Royals were behind by more than a couple of runs you were fairly safe to turn off the game.

KC Royals hitting leadership may need to be changed

Hitting coach Terry Bradshaw has been with the organization for two decades and is well-respected. Since being named to his current role, however, he has overseen the worst three-year stretch of traditional statistics in franchise history. The personnel he has been given may speak to some of this, but even in the lost years of 1995-2010, the hitting was not this bad.

Historically, Kansas City is going to shatter a major league-low in taking care of business with the bases juiced. This includes teams from the dead-ball era.  Unacceptable.

For the Sabermetric followers, the overall team batting WAR was the lowest since 2009 when Alberto Callaspo was the second-ranked hitter on the team. Mike Matheny kept many of the coaches he inherited from the Ned Yost days; it may be time to reevaluate and bring in more leaders he is familiar with.

Next. Royals need to add these players to 40-man roster. dark

Is a major change needed in offensive philosophy, or can this be turned around with some tweaks? Hopefully, Mike Matheny has a pulse on this as he enters the offseason.