The Royals have not yet reached the numerical midway point of the season, but we’ve learned the trend.
At one point this year, they were 17-10.
They then proceeded to lose 22 of their next 28 games.
They followed that up by winning 11 of 13 to get back to .500…but lost their next four games.
This is clearly a .500 team. They will meddle around this mark for the rest of the season because they are able to do one thing well – pitch – while being among the worst in the league at the other half of the game – hitting.
Kansas City is allowing an AL-best 3.85 runs per game.
Their offense, however, is in the lower third of the majors averaging 3.96 runs scored per game. George Brett taking over as interim hitting coach has coincided with a slight uptick in production, but KC still has one of the weakest, literally, offenses in the game.
The 49 homeruns the Royals have hit this year are second fewest in Major League Baseball, in front of only the lowly Miami Marlins. Bottom line: they just don’t do enough damage when putting the ball in play. Single after single will only get you so far.
Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler NEED to up their slugging percentages by significant margins for this team to contend over the second half.
Unfortunately, just as Hosmer seems to be heating up, Gordon is cooling down considerably.
7) Royals 1st Half MVP = LF Alex Gordon
Despite his recent plunge in production, Alex Gordon has still been the best hitter over the course of the season in this lineup (Gordon hit just .188 in June – 18 of 96 – and it dropped his season number from .323 to .285).
He still leads the team in homers, hits, runs, at bats, and triples.
What separates Gordon from the rest of the bats in this lineup is his defense. Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar play sterling defense, no doubt, but Gordon is a two-time Gold Glove winner in left who has shown nothing in 2013 to indicate his level of play is slipping.
Gordon has eight outfield assists without committing a single error.
8) Royals 1st Half Cy Young = SP Ervin Santana
Santana barely edges James Shields and, to a lesser degree, Greg Holland for this honor through the first half.
Coming off a season with the Angels in which he 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and gave up a league-high 39 homeruns, Santana has bounced back to be, quietly, one of the most effective starters in the American League.
Like Shields, he’s pitched far better than his win-loss record would indicate. He’s only 5-5, but he’s got a top-10 ERA and WHIP in the AL.
A free agent after the 2013 season, GM Dayton Moore will have to seriously consider whether or not to keep Santana around as a cornerstone of the Royals rotation for the future.