Welcome to a new feature on I70 Baseball, the Royals Power Rankings. Each week we’ll rank the top five Royals in 2013 with a heavy emphasis on their performance in the past seven days. Just moments ago, Alex Gordon topped a 4-1 week with a walk off hit in the tenth inning. The club now sits at 17-10, on pace for 102 victories. As awesome as Gordon’s hit was, the week belonged to Lorenzo Cain, who continues to be the best hitter on the club in 2012.
#5 James Shields- Big Game James was brought in to be the ace and I seriously doubt the Royals thought his 3.00 ERA would rank third on the starting staff more than a month into the season. Shields picked up a victory off his old team with a gutsy performance on Tuesday night. After surrendering two runs in the first, Shields proceeded to pitch six shutout innings and notch his second victory of the season. It was the third time this season Shields has pitched 6+ innings and given up two runs of less.
#4 Alex Gordon- Sunday’s big hit aside, it was a rough week for the Royals’ left fielder. Gordon was 3/23 on the week before his 10th inning stroke and saw his average slide from .337 to .303 this week. Still, he leads the team with 20 RBI and is tied for the team lead in both home runs (3) and doubles (6)
#3 Jeremy Guthrie- The performance of the week goes to Guthrie for his complete game shutout of the White Sox on Saturday night. Guthrie completely owns the Sox, and has now gone a club-record 17 straight starts without a loss. Guthrie hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts.
#2 Ervin Santana- The official stats will tell you that Ervin Santana didn’t even pitch last week, but of course we all know that’s not true. Santana continued his dominance on Thursday afternoon before a snow out erased his efforts. To say Santana has been great this year would be underselling it. He’s struck out 31 batters in 36 innings and sports a 2.00 ERA.
#1 Lorenzo Cain- Cain was one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2013 campaign and so far he’s been incredible. He leads the club with a .341 average and didn’t do anything to hurt that this week. We was 8/20 with five runs scored and five RBI on the week (including the only two RBI in the team’s 2-0 win on Saturday night. Through five weeks Cain has been the best player on the team and one of the best in the league.
Honorable mention: Bruce Chen- Chen picked up his second victory of the season with two shutout innings against the Rays on Wednesday night. Chen has now made five appearances out of the pen without allowing an earned run. Perhaps more impressively, he’s struck out 11 batters in only 9 2/3 innings.