The statistics and results in the win/loss column don’t exactly tell the story of where the Kansas City Royals are in the “process” set forth by Dayton Moore upon being hired as general manager during the middle of the 2006 season.
It may shock most that do not have an insider’s perspective, but, aside from a couple of minor leaguers, the Royals’ 2013 lineup should look incredibly similar to what is currently being run out on a nightly basis.
While the 2012 season has been as frustrating as ever to watch unfold, most in and around the organization are fine with the ups and downs as it relates to the offense. With youth and inexperience serving as the main culprits, a little seasoning will go a long way toward helping certain players realize their full potential.
Just ask Alex Gordon about his journey.
Most of the fans’ aggravation has been due to seeing players take the field that simply shouldn’t be or aren’t a part of the team’s immediate future.
With the season already lost, the Royals would do well to get a jump-start on the 2013 season by letting the starters of the future play together as the current season closes. Besides, Wil Myers and Johnny Giavotella are actually upgrades over Jeff Francoeur (right field) and Chris Getz (second base)—although Giavotella has struggled in his stints in the majors over the last couple of seasons.
Here is an idea of what that lineup should look like now and in 2013.
Should Eric Hosmer be given the opportunity to hit third in the lineup again?
1. Alex Gordon – Left Field
2. Alcides Escobar – Shortstop
3. Eric Hosmer – First Base
4. Billy Butler – Designated Hitter
5. Mike Moustakas – Third Base
6. Wil Myers – Right Field
7. Sal Perez – Catcher
8. Lorenzo Cain – Center Field
9. Johnny Giavotella – Second Base
A handful of the players have found their comfort zone in the lineup, thriving in their roles so far this season. There is absolutely no reason to tinker with what is working when everything else seems to be falling apart.
Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar have settled in quite nicely atop the Royals' lineup this season. While maybe not your prototypical 1-2 punch, both have continually exhibited what is necessary to succeed in their specific roles.
Eric Hosmer is entrenched in a deep sophomore slump, but is young and still learning how to adjust. He showed last season that he is capable of hitting in the middle of the lineup and should get that opportunity once again next season.
The emergence of Billy Butler’s power may be the biggest reason why Hosmer should bat third while Butler hits clean up. His 24 home runs are a career high and everyone is rooting for him to break Steve Balboni’s abysmal club record of 36 set back in the Royals’ World Series Championship year of 1985.
Though slumping as of late, Mike Moustakas is on par with the expectations of his first full season in the majors. Second on the team in home runs and runs batted in, he should settle in quite nicely in the fifth spot in the order for a very long time.
Francoeur will still be under contract next season, but there is no way Myers doesn't break camp with the Royals next spring. As long as Myers is in Kansas City, he will be the starting right fielder and hitting in the middle of the lineup.
The absence of catcher Sal Perez for much of the first half of this season had a resounding effect on the entire Royals' roster. The starting rotation and bullpen would have benefited from his handling of the young pitchers and the lineup could have used his bat.
Since returning on June 22, Perez has hit .313/.338/.545 with eight home runs, 17 runs batted in and 21 runs scored.
Having Lorenzo Cain and Johnny Giavotella at the bottom of the lineup provides a good amount of speed and pop before turning it back over to the top of the order.
With one more year under the belts of all the young players, everything could fall into place for the Royals' offense. The lineup features a good balance of speed and power, and it is possible Kansas City produces enough to be one of the best offenses in the league next season.