KC Royals hoping Michael Massey's Toronto trip translates to more success

His two-home-run series offers reminder why the franchise believes in him.
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On Tuesday night in Toronto, we saw something rarely done. It was the KC Royals' 17th win in April, a franchise record, but the truly remarkable moment was yet to come. We witnessed another stellar start from Cole Ragans, a familiar sight on the field. No, we saw second baseman Michael Massey call off team captain Salvador Perez not once, but twice when fielding pop-ups. The second iteration came on the game's final out, securing a 4-1 Kansas City win.

And what did Perez do both times?

He smiled, ear to ear.

The Venezuelan is known for his easy-going approach, all while putting up MVP-caliber numbers. But his ceding ground to Massey, a 26-year-old with just 11 games this season, was a silent endorsement from Perez. It was one glimpse, one grin, and one game that Massey earned more respect from the famous veteran.

The KC Royals saw a glimpse of what they need from Michael Massey in Toronto.

While Massey gained more respect from his peers, fans focused on his red-hot production at the plate against the Toronto Blue Jays. He reached base safely in all three games in Toronto, with two home runs and an astounding seven RBI. It was a standout three-game series for Massey, especially considering his recent struggles since returning from the IL. While the Illinois product is finally on the right track individually, his primary focus remains on the team's success.

“After the year we had last year, putting together a good April is probably going to turn some heads,” Massey told MLB.com's Anne Rogers on Tuesday. “But we’ve got to keep it going. We’ve got a lot of guys in this clubhouse that have been on winning teams and in the postseason, which is where we’re trying to get. We’re in a good spot, but you don’t get into the playoffs in April.”

Massey is exactly right. The season is only 20% complete, and the remaining outcomes are still vast. There is still a long way to go before any playoff spots are determined. Kansas City needs all hands on deck if they want to play meaningful baseball in October once again. One such hand is undoubtedly Massey.

He is the front office's top choice for Kansas City's second baseman of the future. He has an above-average glove and helps form one of the best defensive infields in baseball. Massey has power from the left side of the plate. He has the chemistry and experience alongside this team's core players, something integral to the previous championship-winning squad. All that, and more, make Massey an enticing option.

All Massey has to do is produce.

He had struggled to do just that heading into the recent Toronto series. In seven starts, he posted a measly .458 OPS, with only one extra-base hit. He did only have one strikeout in those games; no walks cast doubt on his batting approach. Massey was fresh off the IL, but that excuse wore away with each passing game.

His power surge in Toronto helped buy him some time, but baseball is all about what you have done lately. Adam Frazier is getting more and more action in the outfield since Massey's return, showing manager Matt Quatraro's preference for Massey at second base. That preference is echoed at this organization's top.

“We know [Massey’s] still one of those players who’s in a developmental phase in the Major Leagues, but we believe in his bat,” general manager J.J. Picollo said after Massey's return. “He can provide spark, he’s got some power. He does a good job defensively as well. We just want him to be himself. We liked what he did last year. When we made some of the acquisitions we did in the offseason, it was with the understanding that Michael is still going to be in the lineup quite often.”

As Royals players enjoy their off day Thursday, there has to be a certain energy. Returning to Kauffman Stadium. Playing against the reigning World Series champions over the weekend. Riding high off a solid road trip. All that could fuel another strong Royals run at home, where they are 12-5 this season. That run would be much easier with Massey continuing his power surge in Kansas City. Who knows? Maybe that would elicit one or two more grins from the team captain.

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