The Kansas City Royals, coming off wins in ten of their last fifteen games with both great starting pitching and timely productive hitting from the offense, saw a change in the batting order. Manager Ned Yost seemed to want to change it up in the three spot in the order, which has been a black hole for Royals hitters this season. The third spot in the batting order is supposed to be a position that a guy gets the opportunity to get guys who are on base in to score runs. But the problem is that the offensive production that the Royals lineup has put together this season is just not working. The Royals are 11th in the American League in runs scored yet they are in the upper half of the league in both hits and batting average. So what is the problem? A team that gets hits should be able to score runs but if they are not in the right order than the guys getting the hits do not have the opportunity to do so with guys on base.
The third spot in the batting order for the Royals this season is batting .223 with 57 runs batted in and only 30 extra base hits in 466 at bats. Putting that into perspective the nine whole in the lineup has driven in 55 runs. It would be great for the nine spot to be two RBIs behind the three spot if the fact were that the three spot has lets say 80 RBIs or so. But that would also mean that the Royals were scoring more runs and winning more games than they have this season.
The Royals have used numerous hitters in the three spot this season including Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Billy Butler and most recently Alex Gordon. Gordon, who seems to be comfortable batting leadoff not only has a good batting average, .291, but it his on base percentage, .367, that makes him such a viable candidate for the number one spot in the order but if the guys behind him are not producing enough to get him in than his getting on base does not truly matter. Some may say why mess with his psyche since he has had success at the leadoff spot the last two seasons but with the season lost the question to ask is why not? If the Royals truly are playing for the future then why not try out a few guys at the number three spot to see what they can bring to the table. Eric Hosmer proved that in his young career he is not ready for the role of run producer at the top of the lineup. His production, or lack there of, this season has pushed him all the way to the bottom of the order. He will turn things around and more that likely end up being the future three hitter for the Royals but something is going to have to change in his approach for that to happen. The Moustakas and Cain experiments were never going to stick because that is not what the future has in store for either of them. Moustakas projects to be a solid five hitter with power and a batting average of .280 if not a touch under that. Cain could fit into two different spots in the order. He could be a six hitter with the pop that he has shown so far in his late entrance to the 2012 season but he seems to look more like a seven or eight guy with speed to get on for the top of the order. Billy Butler is purely a number four hitter. This gives the Royals three different guys to get on in front of him throughout the season. The reason Butler is not a good fit at number three is his lack of speed. If he gets on base with a double it is not a sure thing that a single will score him. If he gets a single a double will more than likely never score him.
Ned Yost has a tough task of putting together a line up with the guys that he has on his roster this season. With guys struggling and having three players, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler, being the only to stay consistent all season long it is hard to put a line up together This all being said here would be the lineup for both the current and the future Royals that I would put together if I was signing the lineup card every night:
1.Current- Chris Getz (2B) Future- Alex Gordon (LF)
2.Current- Alcides Escobar (SS) Future-Alcides Escobar (SS)
3.Current- Alex Gordon (LF) Future- Eric Hosmer (1B)
4.Current- Billy Butler (DH) Future- Billy Butler (DH)
5.Current- Mike Moustakas (3B) Future- Mike Moustakas (3B)
7.Current- Eric Homer (1B) Future- Salvador Perez (C)
8.Current- Jeff Franceour (RF) Future- Lorenzo Cain (CF)
9.Current- Lorenzo Cain (CF) Future- Chris Getz (2B)
The problem that the Royals have faced this season is that the guys producing are not in the right spots. Gordon may be the guy who leads off for this team in the future but if he can give this season a boost from the three hole that is all Ned Yost is trying to do. Nothing from the three spot seems to have been working so why not put the guy who is hot in that spot. Some will say if it not the future than why try it but if he continues to put a guy who is continually slumping in that spot there people will still be upset. The players for the Royals have put their manager in a tight spot by not allowing him to put them in the three hole. He is just trying something new and just because it may not work once does not mean it will not work over the rest of the season. Trying something new that does not work once is better than leaving something old that has not worked for 117 games so far this season.