The Kansas City Royals have officially reached the first quarter of the season and there are not a lot of positives to talk about. While there have been a lot of negatives, the play from a few individuals such as Alex Gordon and Adalberto Mondesi has been impressive to watch. Dayton Moore met with the media on Saturday and stated a few things that some Royals fans have been waiting to hear.
To some extent, this was how Dayton Moore was feeling that day. He remains cautiously optimistic and believes that the Royals are better than their record.
“I don’t think a lot of people necessarily believe in us,” Moore said. “I know one thing. We believe in this group of players, and I know they believe in themselves. The adversity that we went through is exactly what we needed to put ourselves in a position to win the rest of the year.”
The Royals have the second-worst record in the American League, just ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, and have already experienced a 10-game losing streak. They’ve lost seven one-run games and have won just one series since the start of April.
“We’ve kind of dug ourselves a hole,” Moore said. “If you’re going to struggle, you’re better off struggling early. Then find your consistency and you’ve got time to make it up. You can recover. Every team is going to go through their struggles throughout 162 games. Hopefully ours is over and we can continue to play consistent, winning baseball and get on a run. That’s what it’s going to require at this point in time.”
This team is standing pat
One thing Moore made clear on Saturday is that he does not plan to make any significant addition to this team through free agency, trade, or a minor league call-up. He believes that it would not have a major impact on the team.
“These are the players we have,” Moore said. “There’s nobody to go get. There’s nobody to trade for. There’s nobody else to call up right now that fits. You don’t want to bring a young player up, unless you feel like they’re going to have a chance to play every day.”
Moore made these comments due to the recent success of Nicky Lopez in Triple-A Omaha. After having spent most of spring training in big-league camp, Lopez is off to a stellar offensive start in the minors, where he’s hit .363 with a .463 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage through 30 games.
However, offense has not been that big of a problem for the Royals. They’ve hit 48 home runs and four players have hit more than six as well as five players have slugging percentages of .500 or better. Alex Gordon is turning back the clock, Adalberto Mondesi has lived up to the hype that everyone had on him before the season, and Hunter Dozier is currently playing at an MVP-caliber level.
“I believe our offense can beat you in a lot of ways,” Moore said. “We can beat you with speed. We can beat you with power. We still strike out a little too much for all of our liking. Unfortunately, it’s an industry-wide issue. There’s a lot of players striking out. But I like our power. I like our speed. Certainly what Hunter Dozier has done in the first 40 games, this last month has been really good.”
Starting pitching remains an area that the Royals should experiment with over the course of the season. While Danny Duffy’s return from injury will help matters, the Royals are still allowing 4.95 runs per game through the rotation. Their quality start rate of 36% ranks below the league average.
While the current group of Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Homer Bailey, Jorge Lopez and Duffy resembles what would likely have been the projected starting rotation in spring training, it doesn’t mean that the Royals won’t consider potential changes to the group.
“I think Sparky is somebody that is right there competing for a spot in that rotation,” Moore said.