Who is most to blame for Royals runners in scoring position issues?


There have been a lot of issues over the past few weeks for the Kansas City Royals, but one of the most shocking and frustrating has been the team’s performance with runners in scoring position. At one point a few days ago the Royals had 15 hits in their previous 100 at bat with RISP; as Ryan Lefebvre put it on the air, it was like the whole team was Neifi Perez as soon as a runner has touched second base.

Hitting with RISP is important because a hit in these situations will usually score a point. Hit better than expected in these positions, and you will score more points than expected and to win more than planned. When you hit worse than you expected, well, you can just watch the Kansas City box scores from around June 5-19.

So who is ultimately to blame? Let’s take a look and see how the Royals hitters fare with RISP. We’re going to take a look at all the players who have made at least 50 home plate appearances in the year, which disqualifies Adalberto Mondesi, Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares in particular.

Incomplete level

Jarrod Dyson

  • 11 PA
  • .200 / .273 / .200
  • 37 wRC +

Cam Gallagher

  • 8 AP
  • .167 / .143 / .167
  • -27 wRC +

Dyson and Gallagher racked up over 50 AP, but they just didn’t build enough AP with RISP for a conclusion to be drawn. This is especially true given that these are the bottom guys. We can always reassess later in the season.

Not their fault level

Carlos santana

  • 78 PA
  • .267 / .385 / .417
  • 118 wRC +

André Benintendi

  • 57 PA
  • .292 / .368 / .458
  • 125 wRC +

Whit merrifield

  • 67 PA
  • .298 / .313 / .456
  • 95 wRC +

Nicky lopez

  • 49 PA
  • .278 / .378 / .278
  • 91 wRC +

Perhaps the main reason the Royals have issues with runners in scoring position is that they have precisely two players who are hitting better than the league average: Santana and Benintendi. It’s also probably not a coincidence that the Royals started to do particularly badly with RISP after Benintendi got injured.

The other two players listed in this level are here for very different reasons. Merrifield has the highest batting average of any Royals with RISP, and while he doesn’t go around in those situations, you arguably want your best pure hitter on the team looking to do some damage when he does. there are runners on second or third. As for Lopez, he makes his best plate appearances when it counts. With RISP, Lopez walks 14.3% of the time and hits only 6.1% of the time. You know he’s going to buckle up and give you good PA when the runners are ready to score.

Gonna need a level of improvement

Jorge soler

  • 64 PA
  • .204 / .311 / .429
  • 99 wRC +

Salvador Perez

  • 75 AP
  • .258 / .333 / .364
  • 89 wRC +

That doesn’t seem to be the case as he only hits 0.204 with RISP, but Soler has been quietly productive in these situations. He walks, and he hits for good power, and he doesn’t even hit a lot – 17.2%, which is pretty good. He just needs to strike more often and he will be a real contributor.

Perez isn’t great with RISP, but his performance is frustrating nonetheless. With no runners on base, Perez hits 0.309 and has a 151 wRC +, but his production drops when there are runners. Maybe his aggression is more exploitable when there are runners, or maybe it’s a small sample size, but either way, Perez is part of the reason the Royals didn’t. not doing as well as they could or should.

These guys deserve a level of blame

Hunter Dozier

  • 50 AP
  • .119 / .260 / .357
  • 71 wRC +

Kelvin Gutierrez

  • 23 PA
  • .130 / .130 / .130
  • -35 wRC +

Michael a taylor

  • 56 PA
  • .208 / .304 / .250
  • 60 wRC +

Hanser Alberto

  • 31 PA
  • .214 / .207 / .393
  • 52 wRC +

Ryan o’hearn

  • 16 PA
  • .125 / .125 / .125
  • -38 wRC +,

Whooo boy, where to start? O’Hearn has just 16 home plate appearances with RISP, but managed to pull off nine. Alberto’s OBP with RISP is a putrid 0.207, and is surprisingly lower than his average in these scenarios. Taylor only hits 0.208 with RISP, and his power absolutely evaporates when there are people on base. Gutierrez made 19 strikeouts in his 23 PA with RISP, failed to walk, and none of his three hits were for extra goals. And Dozier, well, his struggles have been well documented, although at the very least he’s been better with RISP than when there are empty bases.

What’s the verdict?

So what is there to do here? Fortunately, there isn’t much statistical evidence that hitting with runners in scoring position is a real skill. We work with fairly small samples that can turn around quickly. In other words, the fact that the Royals recently broke with RISP doesn’t necessarily indicate that they will continue to do so.

However, there is a more fundamental problem here, and it is a problem that you will have to excuse my French here because it is the most succinct and poignant way of getting this across: the Royals have a lot of crap hitters. . I’m not talking about crap hitters this season; rather their career the numbers are boring.

In other words, 16 Royals have racked up 10 or more AP with the team this year. Do you know how many of them have a wRC + career of 80 or worst? The answer is eight: Michael A. Taylor, Nicky Lopez, Hanser Alberto, Kelvin Gutierrez, Cam Gallagher, Jarrod Dyson, Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares. A ninth, Ryan O’Hearn, has a 67 WRC + in 167 games over the past three seasons.

Yes, guys like Isbel and Olivares are young and don’t have a lot of big league PAs under their belt. And yes, it’s perfectly good to have a guy like Gallagher on your team, who’s never going to be a good hitter but who makes up for it like a great defensive backup receiver. Still, you’re not going to hit well when giving a total of 898 plaque appearances to the nine names above.

One of the underrated reasons for the success of the 2014 and 2015 Royals teams is that they had legitimate training in the big leagues and competent backups. This team doesn’t have that. And when you rack up bad hitters like they’re old-fashioned, you’ll have a hard time scoring points. It’s that simple.


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