Previewing the Kansas City Royals | The Process Report

Previewing the Kansas City Royals

Wagons from Kansas City have been rolling into St. Pete for as far as the eye can see as folks with all levels of ambition get excited for this four game set with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals look pretty bad this year if we look at their record. Most of that justification shows up when looking at their offense, but flying under the radar is that they’re pitching really, really well. Let’s start there:

I have the Royals with the sixth best collective pitching in the game. Just going by plate appearances they would appear to be a rested bunch that hasn’t been tasked with nearly the load the Rays have faced to date. Both teams have virtually the same number of strikeouts and walks in that time despite the extra hundred batters faced for Rays pitchers, but that isn’t where KC shines. They’re amongst the very best teams at limiting quality of contact, and with a couple of still very good defenders out there the Royals are able to take run suppression to another level. The Rays have climbed the rankings substantially in the last few days thanks to wonderful starts from Alex Cobb and Matt Andriese.

The Rays are fortunate that they will miss staff ace Danny duffy, but don’t sleep on Jason Vargas who has come back from a late start to be very tough. Karns will go tonight and you can see that he, also, does well to suppress hard contact, and I think he has actually been a little unlucky so far. Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy should also see starts and you can see that they’re also quite good. All of these guys, in fact, are pretty good starters and they’re backed up by a deep pen.

Once we bring the non-balls in play into account you can see that these guys can really chuck. The pen has a couple of weak links so far in Wood and Herrera, but both have long track records of success. They’ve got plenty more that boast both long term and current year success.

Switching over to the offense you can see where the weakness lies for the Royals. They don’t walk, they strikeout a fair amount, and they don’t hit the ball with any authority. Unlike the Rays who walk well, strikeout a ton and hit with oodles of power.

They have given a bunch of time to guys that probably aren’t ready, but that policy has led to some pretty good hitting from Jorge Bonifacio. Moss, Moustakas, Hosmer and Salvie Perez round out the threats. Everything after that can be pitched aggressively.

Thing is, most of the guys that do manage to make hard contact almost never walk, and many of them strikeout a ton, too. Hosmer is a good hitter even if that is drowned out a bit by playing first base. The Rays will need to take the fight to this lineup as so many of their hitters are just non-threats. Don’t let their couple of decent hitters beat you and then hope you can score enough. Sounds like a recipe for disaster this series.



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