As Kansas City Royals fans we’ve grown conditioned to move into “next year” mode by early July, but before I do I’d like to take one moment to reflect on the Good, Bad, and Ugly from the Royals in 2012. Sure, we’ve still got a month left in the season, but there are some interesting numbers that have already been put up…
Alcides Escobar is exceeding everyone’s expectations at the plate. Escobar’s .303 average and 35 extra base hits are far better than what we were told to expect. He still needs to improve on his on base percentage to be a legitimate 2-hole hitter, but he looks much more like a productive offensive player than the offensive sieve we all expected.
The bullpen really is that good. Tim Collins, Greg Holland, Louis Coleman, and Aaron Crow have all struck out at least a batter per inning. To lose your closer at the beginning of the season to Tommy John, and the trade the two best relievers at the deadline, and still have your bullpen be a strength is mighty impressive. The best part of course is that all of these guys are still young, cheap, and under club control for the foreseeable future.
Luis Mendoza absolutely looks like a serviceable Major League starter. After a rough start to the season, Mendoza’s new cutter started paying dividends and he has been arguably the Royals best pitcher for a majority of the season. I was in the camp that was against Mendoza at the beginning of the year and it looks like I was wrong. Since June 12, Mendoza has posted a quality start in nine out of thirteen outings and not given up more than four runs even once.
For a team with no power, the Royals sure do strike out a lot. I often wonder if Kevin Seitzer’s approach to hitting is the reason for the Royals team’s lack of power, but it sure doesn’t seem to be helping in the walk/strikeout ratio. Not one regular on the club has even close to as many walks as strikeouts and some of the club’s best hitters have the worst ratios paced by Mike Moustakas’ 1 BB for every 2.8 Ks.
The two year extension for Bruce Chen is not looking very smart. Chen’s 5.10 ERA is only a small reflection of how much worse he’s been in 2012. What’s worse, with 146 IP he’s not even been an innings eater. Chen will be a part of the Opening Day rotation of 2013, and it’s hard to see how he’ll be any better than he’s been this season.
Dayton’s been wrong about a lot of things but he may be right about Johnny Giavotella. I’ve never been one to think the Gio’s fielding was so terrible that he shouldn’t be on the roster, but it certainly isn’t a plus and neither is his bat to this point. Through two seasons he’s had 269 at bats and sports an OPS of .593. He’s probably got 100 at bats left in 2012 and that number had better rise significantly or he may not get another chance in Kansas City.
Luke Hochevar is who we thought he was. Hochevar threw eight shutout innings in his last start to lower his ERA all the way down to 4.95. In 2012 he’s had five starts where he’s gone seven innings or more and given one run or less. Incredibly, he’s had six starts where he’s given up six runs or more. He has the potential to be a staff ace, and the downside of AAAA pitcher. It doesn’t seem likely he’ll ever choose one or the other.
Jeff Francoeur is exactly who we thought he was. Want to hear an awesome stat? Through Friday if you add up Frenchy’s doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs and walks you get 92. That’s exactly how many strikeouts he has. That’s disgusting, and it sums up his 2012 season perfectly. Even better, he’s also signed through next season.
David Glass is still the owner, Dan Glass is still the president, Dayton Moore is still the GM and Ned Yost is still the manager. Moore is the one of these four that I’ve given a free pass to for the last few years but he had a terrible offseason. Yuniesky Betancourt…Jonathan Sanchez…Jason Bourgeouis…Humberto Quintero…even the contracts given to Frenchy and Chen. If we had an owner that cared about winning, Moore would be on notice and Yost would be fired. Of course, if David Glass cared about winning his incompetent son wouldn’t be the president of the team.