The Royals continue their slide, and it is easier to see why. First, your starting pitching sucks as your starters have ERA of 5.33, 6.60, 4.47, 4.60 and two of your pitchers are not even averaging 5 innings per start and quality starts are a rarity. Your bullpen is overworked, and it is starting to show up as reliable relievers are showing signs of wearing and the bull pen ERA is over 4.
Which means you have to out hit opponents to win and even if your offense is among the best, it is still a difficult task to out hit your opponents on a consistent basis, but the Royals’ offense are not among the best.
Two of your best hitters, Mondesi and Benintendi injured, and your power hitters are slumping. Dozier is hitting .160 and just 7 homers and Soler is hitting .186 with 6 homers. Your leadoff hitter, Merrifield has more homers than your power guys. Outside of Perez and Merrifield, the rest of the lineup is mediocre. O’Hearn has hit better since his return from Omaha but Taylor is hitting .237, Santana .239 (he is second in homers with 13 so that is a silver lining), Gutierrez .215 when he was called up. Lopez is hitting .260 and adding good defense so he is doing beyond what you expect but Santana, Taylor, Dyson, Soler and Dozier have not performed to make up the difference with Mondesi and Benintendi out.
Merrifield is back to be being like the Whit we love as he heads the league in stolen basis and hitting .287 and Perez has 19 homers to go with his .282 average but they can’t carry the offense by themselves.
Didn’t expect this team to be a playoff but felt this team would be similar to 2013, a shot of a .500 season and much improved. Month of April showed the potential of what this team could be, but this team is underachieving, and it begins with pitching.
Bubic and Singer has not improved from their 2020 performances and taken steps backward. Keller has been a disaster and Minor has been a disappointment. Only Duffy so far has shown improvement and he has spent a significant time on the IR. Younger relievers have shown potential like Bentz, Zimmer, Staumont, and Barlow but others like Junis and Zuber have not. Wade Davis is on his last leg and Swarzak is showing why Arizona let him go. Holland leads the team in saves but he is not the Holland of 2014 as he has been inconsistent. There are games he is light out and there are games that he looks like a pitcher in his mid-30’s. Lynch and Kowar have done well at Omaha but their brief stay in Kansas City has been disastrous. There has been a call to fire Cal Eldred and maybe it is time to ask, is he the pitching coach for an upcoming and young staff. Singer, Bubic, Kowar and Lynch are part of a future rotation that potentially looks good and there are other young pitchers in the minors with their own potential, but that potential has to be delivered and the Royals have to look at coaching staff and ask are these the guys to take this team to another level.
The good news is that Bobby Witt, Jr and Nick Pratto are hitting their strides in the minors and Edward Olivares has shown that he has nothing left to prove in the minors. It is time to start looking at the youngsters and see what we have. Emmanuel Rivera has done well at Omaha, and it is time to see what he can do in Kansas City. Lovelady and Speier have not performed well in Kansas City in past stints, but it is time to see if they have learned from their past experiences and now ready for the show. They can’t be worse than Davis or Swarzak who are not part of the Royals future anymore.
I like Mike Matheny and in 2020, he looked like the guy to take Royals to the next level but this year, the Royals have taken steps backward. It is always easy to blame the manager and there is still a half a season left to turn things around. Royals are not going to the playoffs this year, but they are better than the team on the field now. They need to improve and set the stage for 2022. I would love to see Witt in Omaha now that he has figured out double AA pitching and has shown so far, he is worthy of his number draft pick. It would be nice to see him as part of the September call up.
The Royals have enough talent to compete in the next two years but there are some questions that need to be asked of the organization. Moore decision to grab Benintendi was a good one as he has performed well both offensively and defensively. Taylor was worth a look since he has the speed to cover center field, but Soler has yet to show he is worth a long-term contract and Dozier was signed for a long-term deal. Moore can’t be blamed for Benintendi or Mondesi injuries and the decisions he made on paper looked good, but players need to execute. Santana has hit for power but at .239, he could be better, and Dozier has been a disaster and not the Dozier of 2019. Soler had his good year in 2019 but before or since then, there is nothing to indicate that he is part of the Royals future. No team can afford a DH who is hitting .180 and only 6 homers plus Soler is a defense liability. Dozier may need some time in Omaha to get his form back since the Royals have committed themselves to him. It is time to say goodbye to Davis who has been a great performer in the past for the Royals, but he is not Davis of old but is an old Davis. Holland still has something left and leads the team in saves.