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

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Continue: 2B Michael Massey

Last 15 games: 360/.389/.680, 4 HR, 11 RBI

I don't think Royals fans appreciated Massey's value in the lineup until it was gone. Following his first stint on the injured list this season from March 28 to April 19, Massey missed 27 games from May 26 to June 24 due to a low back ligament sprain.

The second baseman was well above average for Kansas City at the plate during his first 29 games this season, including knocking six home runs and 12 extra-base hits in 29 games with a 123 wRC+. The lefty's presence really stretched the Royals lineup beyond just the top four, and that value wasn't appreciated until his second IL stint.

The 26-year-old flashed his defensive prowess on the field last season, logging a career-high 129 games. It was his bat that caused fans to be hesitant about his long-term outlook in Kansas City. His 2024 performance laid those concerns to rest. But, his second IL stay casts more doubt on his outlook. But, that isn't what I am fretting about. I am excited about how a designated hitter role allows the lefty more opportunity to hone his craft at the plate.

Why Massey will stay hot: Lighter workload in the field

The back issues are not going away for Massey. The Royals are slowly bringing him back along in the field, but that brings him into the lineup exclusively as a designated hitter. He only has five appearances since returning from the IL, but the initial results offer optimism.

Massey is slashing .286/.333/.571 across those five games, thanks to his go-ahead home run off Cleveland Guardians starter Tanner Bibbee Saturday night. He finished that night with two hits, marking the third game he hit safely in since returning to the 26-man roster.

I am not saying that every player who transitions to DH will automatically improve at the plate. But, batting wasn't Massey's forte last season. He has a hot bat, and a focus on that alone offers me hope for 2024.

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