2 KC Royals batters whose hot streaks will continue, 1 who will fade

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Fade: OF Kyle Isbel

Last 15 games: .302/.348/.581, 2 HR, 3 RBI

The Fontana, California, native may be the most polarizing Royals position player in 2024, so far. Before May, casual fans could look at his poor .217/.253/.373 slash line and wonder if there were better options down on the farm. His 71 wRC+ left a ton of potential in the lineup, even if he was batting ninth. Yet, his elite fielding skills, the same that landed him on four consecutive Opening Day rosters, make him indispensable in the lineup.

Kansas City needs Isbel's elite fielding skills to patrol Kauffman Stadium's center field, and that is what he has been consistently doing. His 10 Outs Above Average in 2023 ranked fifth-best among MLB outfielders, and his total OAA since 2022 ranks fourth. Yet, his lackluster batting performance had some fans wondering if Isbel would be part of a winning lineup.

Well, his recent hot streak at the plate has proven that he can be.

Across June, Isbel is batting .309/.339/.545, good for an astounding 140 WRC+. He recorded his sixth home run on June 28, setting a career-high for long balls in a season in just 67 games. From six extra-base hits to nine RBI, Isbel gave the Royals great production in the nine-hole. But at this level, it doesn't feel sustainable.

Why Isbel will fade: Unsustainable power surge

Despite the surging results, his process hasn't changed much, and his expected stats do not match the results either. His xwOBA still hovers at or below league average, while his hard-hit rate is steadily declining, according to Baseball Savant. The lefty is putting plenty of balls in play and using his speed to leg out some more infield singles, which is entirely unreliable or sustainable.

ZiPS projects his production at the plate to be where his xwOBA is right now: at or below average. That is not a bad thing, especially from a team's ninth batter, who specializes in the field. It just pales in comparison to the exceptional performance Isbel displayed in June. He is still on track to achieve career-bests across the board, so be sure to keep an eye on Isbel's progress down the stretch.