As this weekend will mark the halfway point of the season, let's take a look at some of the notable stats from the first 79 games.
Offense & Defense
Mo RS RA OPS ERA
Apr 3.8 5.1 700 4.32
May 4.0 5.7 699 5.27
Jun 5.4 4.5 730 4.30
The offense has shown dramatic improvement in the last month, while the pitching has come back strong after an off month in May. Even the defense has stepped it up from the first month of the season, with only 5% of runs allowed being unearned in June, compared to 17% in April.
Reggie Sanders will probably end the season as the team leader in OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Average) as long as his sore hammy keeps him on the disabled list. These are the top three players looking to take over his 1.059 showing.
Even better for the Royals, the hot hands in June all look to play a significant role in the team's future.
Joey Gathright has been getting on base at a .446 clip since his call up on June 6. While he does only have three extra base hits, the speedster has also stolen five bags while only getting caught once.
From a pitching standpoint, the relief staff has an overall ERA of 4.06 compared to the starters at 4.95.
A look at June ERA shows that while the bullpen has really been heating up, the rotation still needs some serious work.
DL Rosa 6.41
Gil Meche has slipped a little, but still looks like a win for Dayton Moore, while Brian Bannister has held his own.
De La Rosa is a fantastic pitcher to have if the game were still being played without stadium lights (a 3-0 record in day games); Odalis Perez is looking a lot like the devil, and Scott Elarton can stay in Omaha forever as far as I'm concerned.
Winners & Losers
Thanks to the wonderful stats over at Fangraphs (track a game live and see how your emotions look in a line chart), we can see who has contributed the most to the Royals wins and losses this year.
The stat Winning Percentage Added (WPA) gives credit for every play made that increases or decreases a teams chance at winning a game. As such, it puts greater importance on plays made late in a game, where the outcome of the game becomes more certain.
Most observers believed that Kansas City getting a reliable bullpen would be a sign of the apocalypse. No four horsemen yet, but keep your eyes peeled.
After some poor outings as a starter, Zack Grienke has ratcheted up his WPA by getting some big strikeouts as a reliever. Soria has been an absolute steal for the team, and one wonders if they shouldn't begin stretching him out to be a starter like Minnesota did with Johan Santana.
The two guys who have hurt the team most have one distinct difference: fielding. While TPJ may flail away at the plate like a tee baller facing the high school kids, he has flashed some pretty good leather this season, something that isn't accounted for much in these numbers.
Scott Elarton just stinks. One good outing in AAA will not convince me otherwise.
A young offense is coming around, and the bullpen has been a revelation. Dayton Moore must continue adding to the starting rotation. That is the key to this team becoming a threat in the American League in the very near future.