KANSAS CITY -- Even after Tuesday's 9-7 walk-off win over the Astros, the Royals remained dead last in the American League in virtually every offensive category: runs scored, average, total bases, walks, on-base percentage, and so on.That may seem puzzling to some because the Royals, with 62 home runs, are
KANSAS CITY -- Even after Tuesday's 9-7 walk-off win over the Astros, the Royals remained dead last in the American League in virtually every offensive category: runs scored, average, total bases, walks, on-base percentage, and so on.
That may seem puzzling to some because the Royals, with 62 home runs, are on pace to shatter the club record of 168 in a season. But all of power simply hasn't translated to a better offense, though Tuesday's rally was encouraging.
There are at least a couple of culprits. First, three regulars are hitting below .200 -- Alcides Escobar (.177), Brandon Moss (.188) and Alex Gordon (.177). And second, the Royals simply don't have the team speed they had in 2014 and '15 that would create multiple ways to score.
The Royals led the AL in stolen bases in 2014, and were second in '15 when they won the World Series.
This season they are sixth.
Some of the reasons are unavoidable in the ever-changing landscape of baseball's economics. Speedy Jarrod Dyson, a pending free agent, was traded in the offseason. Another speed burner, Terrance Gore, is more of a one-dimensional asset suited more for September callups. Gore is in Double-A. Athletic outfielder Paulo Orlando got off to a slow start, was demoted to Triple-A, and now he is on the 60-day disabled list.
And Escobar just got his first stolen base of the season on Monday.
"We're more of an opportunistic baserunning team now," manager Ned Yost said. "If we get a [pitcher who is] 1.5 [seconds] to the plate or see a key, we'll take chances. But we don't have a Dyson or a Gore that we've had before."
Yost, though, simply shrugs his shoulder when asked how different it is to manage this year's Royals from previous ones.
"It's just a different look," Yost said. "But my mindset is the same. Nine times out of 10 managers manage the pitching staff. But the offense manages itself.
"We don't have [that speed] now. It's changed. It doesn't mean it's worse."
Yost believes this type of offense, with clearly more power, will end up being productive as the season goes on.
"From one through six, we've been productive, now that you include [Whit Merrifield] at the top," Yost said. "It's been the bottom of the order that isn't producing.
"The production has been worse [than previous years]. But [the offense] can get better if it produces. It will."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.