KC Royals get a poor grade for their play in the month of April

Royals poor grade

You can’t put too much in giving a grade for the first month of the Royals’ season but when we look at the predictions versus the predicament of the 2017 Kansas City Royals: most of us could only do if-then statements.

If we are winning, we are all in. If we are losing, goodbye to Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jason Vargas and/or Alcides Escobar.

We also looked at the off-season moves with wonder as general manager Dayton Moore traded away Wade Davis, one of the game’s best closers, and Jarrod Dyson, who has game-changing speed.

Sure it is early and too often the struggles out of the gate tend to be weighed more heavily versus mid-season bumps and slumps. I do know this; we have no idea what the roster will look like come August and September. Mark down the July 31st trade deadline on your calendars and be prepared for a bumpy ride.

The Royals aren’t the only one to watch as 2017 looks to be one of the most active trading seasons ever – due to the talented player pool that might be available. Many big names like Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Brian Dozier, Jose Quintana and David Robertson are some of the top names that are already being mentioned in rumors and deals. Throw the five amigos in from KC and you have got plenty of talent out there that may be rent-a-players in the last half of the season.

The catch-22 is someone in a contract year usually performs well, knowing a good year could lead to millions of dollars more moving forward. This could work for or against the Royals.

As I take a look of what the Royals have done so far, keep in mind I want this team to contend and trading for other talent that can contribute this year. We also have options down on the farm that can keep us competitive, but currently we have some concerns that throw red flags on our season.

The first one is our bullpen. Once the best of all of baseball and maybe all-time, we haven’t gotten much relief from our relievers. Matt Strahm has already been sent down and recalled. Travis Wood has been off. Chris Young continues to struggle. Closer Kelvin Herrera has given up a couple of bombs. Heck, Joakim Soria has been one of the more reliable options! The bullpen represents where we neglected to improve on for 2017 and it shows. I give it a C grade.

Grading the starting pitching is a bit challenging. I look at it as meeting the expectations or exceeding them. Danny Duffy is continuing to look like our ace, but Vargas has really stepped up. The Royals were patient with Vargas as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery and it is paying off. Ian Kennedy has pitched better than his record shows. Nathan Karns and Jason Hammel have been pretty good as well, but need to be better. It’s a long season but our starting pitching is looking really solid and may be one of the most underrated staffs in all of baseball. Let’s hope that we can hang on to that hope all year. My grade for starting pitching is B+.

Now, to the offense that has been somewhat offensive to the fans. Sure, Moose and Salvador Perez started off hot by smacking homers. Cain got out of the gate by hitting on the plus side of .300 and with a plethora of walk to hike his on-base percentage. One stat that is a major concern is the number of strikeouts. Brandon Moss and Alex Gordon are swinging and missing at an alarming rate. Our team batting average is pretty low and we can’t win if every member strikes out more than 130 times. It’s practically impossible to keep the line moving this way. We need wins and that takes runs. Moss has not been the answer in replacing Kendrys Morales. Whit Merrifield has been called up to either play second base or be a utility player. I liked the athleticism Raul Mondesi showed, but he didn’t stay up long, batting .125.

Hosmer’s struggles may mean that his value isn’t where he or we need it to be. This may be the biggest concern we all have, his value is going down and we may have to lose him to free agency in 2018. Overall all our offense isn’t scoring runs and it’s showing on our record. The grade is a C-.

The bottom line is we are not looking good going into May. While no one is the American League Central got off to a fast start, we are seriously looking like we are not going to be able to compete. I still fear the Royals coming up short and getting nothing for Hosmer, Cain, Moose or whomever we might lose, it looks like we may be in the market to make moves.

Unless the Royals start winning soon, look for Dayton Moore to be spending more and more time on the phone, playing, “Let’s Make A Deal.”

What’s your grade for the Royals so far? Comment below.

For more coverage of the Royals visit http://kcsportspaper.com/category/pro-teams/

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Article by James Peuster

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