Friday, July 2, 2010

Are the Royals closer than we think?

After reading Sam Mellinger's article, I started taking inventory of the Yost era.

Here are the facts:

-The Royals are 22-22 under Ned Yost.

-The Royals are 22-22 under Ned Yost, despite the fact that Jason Kendall and Scott Podsednik anchor the top of the lineup and Yuniesky Betancourt plays nearly every day.

-The bullpen is vastly improved after the additions of Blake Wood, Victor Marte, Dusty Hughes and Kanekoa Texeira.

-The Royals are only being outscored by 31 runs (run differential of .39 runs per game).

-The offense is based on stringing singles together.

-The Royals lack multiple power threats.

-Nearing the halfway point, the Royals are only 9.5 games out of first place.

-Jose Guillen is currently blocking two players who are tearing up AAA Omaha. If he is moved, the Royals 25 man roster becomes wide open and allows Kila and Gordon to be moved on to the team for regular duty.

-Zack Greinke is starting to look like Zack Greinke.

-Anthony Lerew and Bruce Chen are filling the voids of Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche nicely.

-The Royals appear to be on the verge of a significant roster turnover as the trade deadline approaches.

Now here's the hopeful, borderline-insanity-optimism:

With the subtraction of one player (J. Guillen) and addition of two players (Gordon and Ka'aihue), the Royals immediately add power bats and basecloggers to the everyday roster. This will assess what is currently the Royals biggest void: power. Can the addition of Gordon and Ka'aihue really do that much?

Answer: YES.

Those two combined can put up numbers that will put the Royals in a good position to make a late season push at .500. Certain spots in the lineup have created offensive "hot spots" that has marginal players putting up big RBI numbers. Yuniesky Betancourt has 33 RBIs. He's batting .225 with runners in scoring position in the 9 hole. Meanwhile, David DeJesus is sporting a robust .323 average with RISP, and 35 RBIs.

The Royals need guys who can draw walks and hit for power, plain and simple. The team is serviceable right now. But the singles train needs a locomotive. A massive power generating machine to put this club over the top.

Only being outscored by .39 runs a game, the Royals really aren't that far away from a numbers stand point. Fundamentally, they're below average, but the addition of some power bats and clever roster maneuvering by Dayton Moore could add that boost that the Royals need to get back on track.

A strong finish to 2010 means several things. It will re-energize the fanbase. It will move the team in the PROPER youth direction that they have strayed from in the last one and a half years and it will put them into position to be a better team in the future.

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