A stab at figuring out these Royals based on numbers that you may or may not dismiss
The Kansas City Star
You are free to dismiss the premise of this blog post, and that’s probably a presumptuous and unnecessary disclaimer. You’re free to dismiss the premise of this blog post or any other you damn well choose, of course, but I’m mentioning this here because this one is even goofier than normal.
I’m trying to isolate the Royals’ 12-game stretch of playing dead from the rest of their season so far.
I tried to figure out the Royals in Sunday’s column^, and there’s a lot of good stuff in there, so I hope you take the time to read it.
^ A Royals player complimented me on that column and even said, “Yeah, everyone REALLY liked it.” Somehow, I think he was being sarcastic.
But this is a little bit different. You probably know the Royals^ are 8-5 since the end of the losing streak, and 11-7 overall if you could take out that two-week nightmare, but like I wrote in Sunday’s column, if it wasn’t for that one iceberg the Titanic wouldn’t have sunk.
^ This is closer to an excuse than should be made about this team at this point in their development, but the injury thing is still a factor we should all keep in mind. One month in, and the team has its centerfielder, closer, catcher and setup man on the DL together.
Anyway, this is more surface statistics and less thought and reporting, to be perfectly honest, but I do think it’s interesting just the same. Especially because some of these numbers will surprise you.
Overall, the Royals are hitting .260 with a .317 on-base and .414 slugging percentage. Those numbers rank fourth, sixth and sixth, respectively, in the American League. They are scoring 3.97 runs per game, which ranks 10th.
During that 12-game slide to mud, the Royals hit .269 with a .330 on-base and .416 slugging percentage. You will notice that those numbers are actually up from the season totals — but close enough that the AL rankings wouldn’t change — though their 3.67 runs per game would be 11th.
Let’s look at the pitching. Overall, they are 12th in the AL with a 4.83 ERA. During the nightmare, the ERA was an incredible 5.94 — a half-run worse than the Twins, which tells you plenty. What’s even crazier is they also gave up seven unearned runs during those 12 games, compared to just one in the other games.
That means in the 18 games NOT in the losing streak, the Royals have a 4.04 ERA, which would be 10th in the AL and just four-hundredths of a point off the league average.
Anyway, maybe this just confirms what we already thought, that the Royals wasted too much of their hitting during the losing streak but more than that had bad defense complemented by awful pitching.
The key, of course, is whether the Royals are more the trainwreck of those 12 games or the promising group of the other 18.
The answer is somewhere in between, because no team is as bad as 0-12 and this team isn’t as good as 11-7 (that’s a 99-win pace over 162).
But I do think they’re closer to 11-7. Even during the losing streak, I said I’d drop my expectation from 78 or 79 to 75 or 76. That would mean they’re roughly a .500 team outside the skid. I think that’s about right, and by the end of the season, there will be a lot more optimism around Kansas City than there is right now.
So long as they can find a starting pitcher or two.