KC Royals: It’s time for Mike Matheny to feel the heat

(Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals’ offense must share blame for the club’s poor 2022 start.

Without question, the struggles of Kansas City’s young pitchers have been a concern since the start of 2021. A driving factor behind the club’s belief it can contend in 2023 and beyond is the crop of talented arms on the horizon. Singer, Kowar, Lynch and Asa Lacy have been listed on top prospect lists; Lacy has yet to reach the majors but the other three arms all have big league ERA’s above 4.60

But the club has also been unable to score runs. Despite serious slumps, Whit Merrifield and Carlos Santana remained in key batting order spots throughout April. Bobby Witt Jr. started his rookie season struggling at the plate until a late April move to the bottom of the order seemed to spark his bat.

Matheny’s lineup construction has been questionable and created dead spots in the primary run-producing parts of the lineup. Beyond that, Matheny’s decision to stick with questionable veterans over younger talent has been confusing.

Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares didn’t receive consistent playing time through the season’s entire first month, and it took an injury to Adalberto Mondesi to open the door for both. Now in the lineup consistently, Olivares has a .902 OPS.

And the recent injury to Carlos Santana provided just another example of poor lineup management. With Santana on the Injured List, Matheny chose Ryan O’Hearn to play first base instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to give promising prospect Vinnie Pasquantino a chance. O’Hearn has slashed .203/.280/.352 since the start of 2019.

Matheny has made it clear he’ll stick with struggling veterans far too long rather than letting his young players carve out their roles.