Early Season Power Outage For The Royals Corner Infielders
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By Michael McGraw ( Royals Correspondent) Follow @quickdraw29
The good news . . .
As of May.04 , the Royals record stood at 16 -10, good enough to claim second spot in the American League Central after the first five weeks of the 2013 season – behind the Tigers who are a half game behind them.
The Royals’ focus on pitching in the offseason has paid dividends up to this point, as the team ranks among the league leaders in staff ERA and walks and hits allowed.
As cliché as it sounds, good pitching gives teams a chance to win every day. Look no farther than the San Francisco Giants championship team in 2012, who won the World Series despite finishing last in the Majors in Home Runs during the regular season.
Mike Moustakas early season power surge 2012
Which brings the not–so-good news . . .
Despite being atop the standings in the division, the Royals have experienced a slow start with their power numbers. After the first four weeks, the team was tied with the Marlins in the Major Leagues and is for the fewest HRs in the American League (16). Additionally, the Royals are wallowing in the bottom half (11th with .399) of the league in Slugging Percentage.
Aside from Alex Gordon’s strong start to the season, the other three corner positions, RF, 1B, and 3B, typically a team’s source of power, combined for exactly 2 Home Runs, with Jeff Francoeur and Mike Moustakas hitting a lone HR each among the trio – and Eric Hosmer reeling in a bagel for his efforts.
Which brings the bad news . . .
The Royals young Corner Infield with Hosmer at First Base and Moustakas at Third Base has provided virtually no power production to start the season.
While the pitching can continue to keep the team in games, it is hard to envision a legitimate shot at the playoffs without at least one of these two young players realizing some of his potential this year.
Hosmer made his Major League Debut on May 6, 2011, followed a month later by Moustakas’ on June 10, 2011. The Royals envisioned this as the start of a strong foundation to solidify the corner infield for the foreseeable future.
While it is too early in either player’s career to state that this vision will not come to fruition, it is indisputable that both players’ sluggish start to the season continues a downward trend for each player that started in 2012.
Hosmer, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, and finished his 2011 season with 563 Plate Appearances, hitting .293 with 19 HRs, driving in 78 RBI, and carrying an impressive .799 OPS in his rookie season.
2012 proved to be not as encouraging, as Hosmer had 35 more Plate Appearances, yet hit only 14 HRs with 60 RBI, seeing his Batting Average dip to .232 – and his OPS fall to .663.
Through May.4 of the 2013 season, Hosmer accumulated a .275 BA, with 0 HRs and 9 RBI, with a .709 OPS that is a little better than 2012 – but not enough on a playoff contending team while playing a premium offensive position.
Moustakas, 24, was the second overall pick in the 2007 draft. After making his debut in June of 2011, Moustakas finished that season hitting .263 with 5 HR and 30 RBI over 365 Plate Appearances.
He then started the 2012 season with a strong April, hitting .315 with 3 HRs, 12 RBI, and an impressive .909 OPS. However, Moustakas, who has shown to be a streaky hitter in his young career, faded badly as the season progressed.
His post ALL -Star numbers demonstrate this fall, as he hit .211 with 5 HRs, 26 RBI, and a .586 OPS, en route to a .242 average with 20 HR and 73 RBI last season.
If anyone is looking for a bright spot in this dramatic lack of power from these two players, it is encouraging to think that the Royals are almost in first place after five weeks of the season with Hosmer and Moustakas combining for a .234 Batting Average with 1 HR and 15 RBI.
Through April 28 (last week), 99 players in the Majors had more RBI alone than Hosmer and Moustakas combined, including four Royals (Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain), and 275 players hit at least one HR in these first four weeks of the season, including the Royals’ Chris Getz, who had not gone deeo since 2009, a span of 967 At – Bats.
While the stats are concerning, it is no secret that it takes time for certain players to obtain consistency, regardless of their heralded prospect status.
While Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have contributed to some impatience and unrealistic expectations with young players across baseball, it is must be noted that it is still relatively early in these players’ careers.
Remember Alex Gordon, who did not see north of .260 and 20 HRs until his fifth Major League season.
Although the glaring slow start for Hosmer and Moustakas is unavoidable when looking at the Royals, the fact that the Royals are still near first in the Division is positive news for the team, especially if their two young Corner Infield counterparts can get their offense started.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***
A big thank-you goes out to our ”Royals Correspondent’ Michael McGraw. Michael was born and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Media Communication, and Sociology. After working in management for a communications company, he is now attending the Duquesne University School of Law.
A dedicated Pirates fan, Michael also became a Royals fan due to his family ties in the Kansas City area and frequent trips to the City of Fountains. Although Fred McGriff is his favorite player, Michael grew up following George Brett and Bo Jackson and maintains hopes for his dream World Series matchup of the Pirates – Royals. Follow @quickdraw29
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Posted on May 5, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @quickdraw29 on twitter, al central, alcides escobar, American league, billy butler, chris getz, detroit tigers, eric hosmer, kc royals, lorenzo cain, miami marlins, michael mcGraw, mike moustakas, Mike Trout, minnesota twins. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Early Season Power Outage For The Royals Corner Infielders.