The Royals are off to a 6-3 start in the AL central. The team is getting clutch performances from different players. Let’s see what the upcoming week looks like.
The Royals will play two at Minnesota this week then return home for a four game series with the Mariners and draw one of the tougher offensive schedules of the week. They get two Twin lefties in Brian Duensing and Francisco Liriano then at home they have Doug Fister, Eric Bedard, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda.
The top half of the lineup is hitting well led by Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. The slow start for Mike Aviles has meant more time for Chris Getz at the top of the lineup. Getz has capitalized and he gets an instant boost in value, as he will gain more at-bats, which gives more opportunity to steal and be driven in by the heart of the line-up. In limited action last year he stole 15 and the year before swiped 25.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Not:
Billy Butler has hit in all 8 games he’s played in April. This week he went 9-17 and had four multi hit games. Early on, he is walking more and striking out less with a great .270 ISO.
Jeff Francis has seen his ground ball rates at 58% in the early goings and has a nice K/BB ratio of 4.00. This gives him a 1.98 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP through two starts. His BABIP has actually been unlucky at .268 but his LOB% is unsustainable at 98.4%, expect some regression to come. However as a two-start pitcher this week, Francis is good to go pitching in Target Field and matching up against a puny Seattle lineup is a nice draw.
Alex Gordon is starting to show glimpses that he may live up to his potential. He continued hitting this week going 9-20. Even though he is hitting the ball well, he may come back down to earth a bit this week. He faces three left-handers and has only hit .222 in his career versus southpaws. Plus he faces King Felix and has a .111 career average against him. If you have a better outfield option, this would be a week to consider it. Another good play would be to seek out his trade value, as it is most likely pretty high right now.
Mike Aviles has started cold going 3-26. Wilson Betemit has seen more time at third. Manager Ned Yost said he would mix in players in the infield so this will not mean a permanent loss of time for Aviles.