3 KC Royals who need to be better in June

William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
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First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino

Let's get this out of the way. Pasquantino was not terrible in May. His .754 OPS, four home runs, and 16 RBIs this past month were still better than many on the Royals roster. But he just did not look like himself at points. He struck out more than he walked last month, but his .6 BB/K ratio in May was the worst month split of his career. His .255 BA and .310 OBP were noticeable drops from his April performance as well. The changeup continues to baffle Pasquantino, too. He whiffs at the changeup more than any other pitch, despite seeing it 19.2% of the time. Pasquantino will need to make adjustments to his approach at the plate if he wants to regain his early-season success. It will be interesting to see how he responds in the coming months and if he can bounce back from his struggles in May.

But his struggles at the plate only shed more light on his poor defensive metrics. Pasquantino was slightly above average as a defender in 2022, registering 1 OAA in 71 attempts, according to Baseball Savant. He performed better than the estimated success rate and showed that he could hold his own in The Show. Pasquantino's lackluster glove was noticeable while he progressed through the minor leagues. That version of Pasquantino is showing on the field this season, unfortunately. He already has a -3 OAA in 2023 in just eight more attempts than last season. That is tied for second-worst among all AL first basemen, ranking in the 10th percentile overall. Couple that with Pasquantino's arm strength ranking the worst among all MLB players, and the defensive metrics have not been kind to him whatsoever.

In May, Pasquantino was a Hunter Dozier-level player. A defensive negative, struggling at the plate. After all, Dozier had a better May at the plate than Pasquantino did, albeit in limited action. Bats wax and wane, though. Pasquantino's bat is one that the Royals should trust to make a comeback in June. He is now a crucial member of this Royals core moving forward after being somewhat unknown before the 2022 season. Pasquantino now being an above-average bat is what Royals fans now expect. If he continues to struggle in June, Vinnie's red flags will become impossible to ignore.