With September in full swing the Royals can finally see the playoffs within reach. They are 2 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central and according to Clay Davenport have a 73% chance of making the playoffs.
The Royals 2014 projections only explain half of the reason of why they are where they are in the standings right now. The other half has to do with how the Tigers have not lived up to their preseason estimates and that has a lot to do with Detroit's pitching. I am not going to get into all of those details at the moment. Instead we are just tackling the Royals offense.
We know the Royals pitching has been great; we know their defense has been even better, but what we underestimate is just how average their offense has been. Yes, I said average. Kansas City's pitching and defense could have been great this year but if just two or three players underperformed their pre-season expectations by a good amount then this season could have been a bust, (still could). I can see this being argued as just another angle in which to look at the statistics, but really the most consistent part of Kansas City's team has been their pitching and defense so it makes sense to look at KC's offense to understand how they have pulled this season off.
Their farm system was known before the season to be loaded with pitching talent and we were told that the talent would finally be contributing this season, but the offense has always been a bigger question mark. You hoped guys like Hosmer and Moustakas would start putting it together, but you could not count on that. Up to this point in their careers they have not shown true signs of consistency.
The Royals front office, and most fans, banked on their hitters outperforming their projections this season in order to catapult the team into playoff contention. What no one expected was for them to play as predicted and quite arguably slightly under those predictions and still be in the hunt.
The Royals offense holds a current R/G average of 4.01. I projected at the beginning of the season that they would have a R/G of 4.12 by seasons end. For the most part, the 2014 Royals offense has played just as forecasted. Sure we all expected more power from Billy Butler and we didn't expect Moustakas to flirt with the Mendoza line all year, but as far as overall production the forecast was spot on. Below is my predictions for the Royals 2014 hitting statistics by player.
And here is the current Royals hitters statistics as of 9-8-2014. This was downloaded from Baseball-Reference.com. Don't get glossy eyes, these two tables are meant for you to just browse at leisure to see for yourself how the Royals have met and only met offensive expectations. In this case, with 21 games to go in the season, average might just be good enough.