As my friends know, I am a die-hard Kansas City Royals fan. When being realistic, I had modest hopes for the Royals this season – stay competitive throughout the season, get hot in September, and squeak out a playoff spot. However, the Royals’ early-season struggles could mean a fire-sale before the trade deadline.
So, how bad have the Royals been in comparison to other teams? What exactly is wrong with them? This blog provides some answers to those questions, specifically looking at offensive metrics, though this piece is far from comprehensive.
(Note, the dataset I’m using denotes the Royals as KCA).
The Royals don’t hit in horrible counts…but they don’t hit in great counts either
The Royals are decently aggressive, ranking in the middle in terms of percentage of plays ending on 0-0 counts.
The Royals still rank in the middle in terms of plays ending with an 0-2 count, and they rank low on the metric of 1-2 counts. Both are seemingly good outcomes.
But, there’s always a but, they rank much lower than several teams on plays ending with a hitter’s count. This is not so great.
The Royals aren’t getting their lead-off runner on
While not at the bottom, the Royals rank in the bottom third of MLB teams in terms of getting their lead-off runner on base.
They are only average in strikeout-to-walk ratio
Again, the number isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. Are you seeing a pattern here? The Royals’ offense isn’t terrible across the board…just average in many ways, strong in almost no department, and pretty bad in a few areas (as we’ll see soon).
The Royals aren’t hitting for power
Well, this really isn’t a surprise. The Royals have never been a power team, and Kauffman isn’t the most hitter-friendly park. However, with the likes of Mike Moustakes, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Brandon Moss, a ranking this low is disappointing. In my opinion, they should at least be in the middle of the MLB in home runs.
The Royals aren’t getting on base (duh), particularly against lefties
The Royals have struggled mightily with getting on base, particularly against lefties. Their on base percentage against lefties is dead last, and they are also at the bottom in OBP against righties. (To note, I’m using a slightly different formula for OBP – it’s more of a broad success rate – so these numbers won’t align with those reported by traditional outlets).
The Royals aren’t frequently hitting line drives
I looked at the Royals in comparison to a set of four teams playing quite well so far – the Astros, Nats, Rockies, and Orioles. On average, the Royals hit fewer line drives than all these teams. KC averages 5.6 per game, compared to the likes of Baltimore and Washington, who average 7+.
Clearly, the Royals have had their struggles. But as I pen this blog, the Royals are currently winning in the late innings. Perhaps a comeback is in the cards…though my head cannot quite ignore the numbers in this post.