What has happened to Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas since George Brett and Pedro Grifol took over
On May 30, following eight consecutive losses—only one in which they scored more than three runs—the Royals reassigned their hitting-coach tandem of Jack Maloof and Andre David to the minors, and in their places installed George Brett and Pedro Grifol. The switch happened shortly after Maloof became embroiled in a mini-controversy concerning Kansas City's putrid power production.
As far as players turned hitting coaches go, it's hard to find a larger contrast in career achievements than Brett and Grifol. Brett, a legend in Kansas City, led the American League in OPS three times over his 21 seasons in the majors Conversely, Grifol never reached the majors, and finished with a career minor-league OPS of .599. However uneven Brett's and Grifol's playing careers may have been, they joined the Royals with the same endgame in mind: fix the offense and, by extension, put Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas back on the right path.
Is the Royals' first baseman coming out of his slump, or still struggling?
On Sunday, a baseball broadcaster informed me (and you and everyone we know) that a player on the Kansas City Royals entered the game 10 for his previous 28. “That’s a .357 average, so he’s coming,” I was told.
Eric Hosmer hasn’t done much this year, and his inability to take the great leap forward is a big reason why Kansas City’s go-for-it plan has disappointed thus far. But a .357 average, that’s pretty high, and if he’s coming, maybe the Royals would have something. It’s easy to buy into Eric Hosmer’s .357 average. It’s just easy to buy into Eric Hosmer, all the time, despite how long it’s been since he was good. He used to be so good, after all. And .357! Maybe that .357 means something.
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Guthrie appears to have taken a step forward since becoming a Royal yet there is nothing especially different about him.
Jeremy Guthrie has a 3.06 ERA through five starts which looks like a continuation of his post-trade work with the Royals from last season when he had a 3.16 ERA in 91 innings over 14 starts. All told, he had a 3.14 ERA in 123 2/3 innings with 1.10 WHIP. He is blasting the zone resulting in a minuscule 5.8 percent walk rate – a marked improvement over his 6.9 percent career rate. His strikeout rate is at 16 percent as a Royal, up from a 14.3 career mark. Everything seems to suggest he has found a new level of production in his early-30s with his new club.
Tim Collins has emerged as one of the top relievers in the game.
The Thursday Takeaway
As the Royals swept the Brewers out of Kauffman Stadium, one pitcher took home two of the three victories. That pitcher is lefty reliever Tim Collins, who is rapidly developing into one of the top bullpen arms in the American League.
The 22-year-old Collins struggled to rein in his walks last season, issuing 48 free passes in 67 innings as a rookie. He was tough to hit, though, holding opposing batters to a .216 average and pitching effectively against right-handed hitters, who combined for a 582 OPS. Armed with a quality fastball and outstanding curveball, Collins flashed his potential in 2011. In 2012, he has put it all together.
The Kansas City Royals are suffering through yet another losing season, but the team still trusts in The Process, and an interview with Andrew McCutchen.
When Dayton Moore was hired as general manager by the Royals in June 2006, he talked about how it would be a process to turn around a franchise that hadn't been to the postseason since 1985. Moore used the word so much over time that the business of restoring the Royals to respectability became known as “The Process” by their fans.
A brutal eight-game losing streak has taken the Atlanta Braves from first to worst in the NL East.
The Weekend Takeaway
It’s not all that hard to go from first to last in nine days this early in the season. To do so as resoundingly as the Braves have, though, takes a special kind of awfulness.
At the end of play on May 20, Fredi Gonzalez’s team was 26-16 and enjoyed a 1 ½-game lead in the National League East. At the close of shop last night, the Braves had slipped to 26-24 and sat in a last-place tie with the Phillies, four games behind the first-place Nationals.
The Durham Bulls are in the midst of a rare losing season, prompting Adam to wonder: How do fans of the Royals and Pirates live with losing every year?
The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
- Elizabeth Bishop
Down here on the Durham Bulls beat, I watched “America’s favorite minor-league team,” as they call themselves, go 5-2 in their season-opening home stand. The needle was pushed all the way over right from the start, when the Bulls and Gwinnett Braves went to extras on opening night. In the top of the 12th inning, Cesar Ramos gave up a go-ahead solo homer to J. C. Boscan; but in the bottom of the 12th, as the game passed the four-hour mark, the Bulls rallied to win it when Gwinnett shortstop Greg Paiml misplayed a fairly easy grounder. The Bulls’ Will Rhymes, since called up to Tampa Bay in the wake of Evan Longoria’s hamstring injury, opportunistically raced all the way home from second base with the winning run.
Albert Pujols may be struggling, but there are major-league regulars doing even worse.
Albert Pujols you know about. The $240 million man has yet to get untracked for the Angels and ended the month of April hitting a paltry .217/.265/.304 without a homer. He's hardly the only hitter who has begun 2012 in a funk, though. In fact, 41 other hitters came into Tuesday with True Averages lower than or equal to that of Pujols' .225 in at least 65 plate appearances, i.e., enough to qualify for the batting title. Sure, those are small samples sizes, but we're 14 percent of the way through the season, with one page of the calendar wadded up into a ball, so it's not like we can't at least gawk at the outliers. What follows is a look at a half-dozen AL hitters—none of them as good as Pujols to begin with, admittedly—who are struggling to an even greater degree than the Angels slugger, and where they and their teams might go from here.