(Apparently) Why The Royals Are Bad

As you may know, I was working today’s game against the Kansas City Royals. After the game, I spotted four Royals fans taking pictures and talking to each other in the left field stands. I felt like striking up a conversation, showing them that fans of opposing teams could co-exist, so I asked them if they were from Kansas City. It turned out that two of them were actually from the Twin Cities area, but the other two were indeed visiting from Missouri. I continued talking to them and eventually our conversation turned to the lack of success for the Royals. Of course, I had to see how a fan felt about the team, so I asked a simple question: “What do you think is the reason why the Royals have been so bad lately?” A good chunk of the answer certainly shocked me.

This is not intended to be the view of all Royals fans, but I felt that it would be interesting to see how someone felt about this team that watched them more often than me.

1. Money

That’s right, the Royals need more money. Why? This guy said (paraphrasing), “We have a good rotation, a good closer, though we can’t ever get to him, we have a good offense, we’re first in hitting, we have a good defense…we just need more money.” He later said that another issue was how terrible the bullpen has been this year, but a huge issue was the low payroll. With the exception of Zack Greinke, he felt that once the Royals had some good players, they traded them away or let them walk as free agents. I’m not entirely sure that this was true, but I wasn’t feeling confrontational today.

As a retort to what he said (again, because I didn’t feel like making a big deal out of this), yes, the Royals have a good offense…right now. They’re first in the AL (third in MLB) in batting average (.303), 7th in MLB in on-base percentage, 9th in slugging percentage…they actually are doing pretty well right now, offensively. But, look at four of the starting nine for the Royals, with the AVG/OBP/SLG triple slash statistics.

Yuniesky Betancourt, .324/.359/.524

Scott Podsednik, .436/.500/.462

Jason Kendall, .368/.415/.447

Jose Guillen, .350/.395/.800

Throw in Billy Butler and David DeJesus, and the Royals have six starters hitting over .300. Butler and DeJesus are definitely capable of sustaining that type of production for the whole year, but of the four I highlighted above, only Podsednik has a chance of hitting over .300 for the whole season and I’m only saying that because he did it last year. Guillen will not maintain a .800 slugging percentage; that’s a number that only Albert Pujols could reach. Podsednik won’t hit .400 forever. Basically, these four guys are overachieving right now, and it’s going to hurt Royals fans when these guys start regressing to their career numbers.

I would spit out numbers on the Royals’ pitching staff, but they’re skewed thanks to the horrid performance from the bullpen right now. I do feel that the rotation isn’t as good as this guy claimed, however. After Greinke, Gil Meche, and Brian Bannister, there isn’t too much to get excited. Luke Hochevar is an underperforming starter that occasionally flashes brilliance, and I view Kyle Davies as a poor version of Nick Blackburn. If you removed Greinke, I’d call the rotation average. As for the defense, well, I’d just point you towards Joe Posnanski or Rany Jazayerli.

2. Dayton Moore

This fan did not refer to Moore by name, but he did complain about “the GM.” This is a dead horse that’s been beaten many times, so I won’t go down that road in depth. All I’ll say is that he’s made some curious transactions, and for some reason, he says one thing and then does something almost the opposite. However, at least in terms of the offense, he seems like a genius with signing Podsednik, and Ankiel in the offseason, and trading for Betancourt and signing Guillen in past years.

But as I said before, many guys on the team will regress, and when it does, it will hurt. Despite the high ranks in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage, the Royals are in the middle of the pack in runs scored, and have a 4-7 record. If the offensive regression starts and the bullpen doesn’t fix their problems, this will be yet another long season in Kansas City.

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4 Responses to “(Apparently) Why The Royals Are Bad”

  1. Laura Hay Says:

    I equate being a Royals fan with being a Gophers fan. Just sayin’. I love talking to people in the sections. So much fun!!

  2. Josh Says:

    I assume you were being facetious when you applauded Moore for the Betancourt and Guillen acquisitions. Guillen is a mediocre power hitter who provides no defensive value at a very high cost and Betancourt made Nick Punto look like Joe Mauer with his historically awful slash line last season (.269 OBP)! Both players are exactly why the Royals suck. Moore invests too many resources (monetary and trade value) for substandard players with limited ceilings.

    The real issue with the Royals is drafting (e.g. Gordon and Hochever were high picks and have been underwhelming). Ever since their nice little run with Beltran, Damon and Dye, they’ve had nothing to show for in the farm system.

    And let’s not forget pitching… they actually had a wonderful young bullpen a couple seasons ago and Moore dealt away this strength for mediocre talent (e.g. Mike Jacobs). When Zach Greinke has been the only pitcher worth a damn since Kevin Appier last pitched in 1999 for the Royal Blue, you know you aren’t going to be posting playoff caliber squads. And even with Greinke, this current pitching staff is barely average.

    The Royals are actually my second favorite team, which makes this whole situation completely frustrating.

    • Andrew Says:

      To clarify, I meant Moore only looks like a genius right now for signing or trading for those guys, because they’ve been so damn good offensively this year.

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