I don’t know if Mike Moustakas will ever be a good big-league player. Neither do you. And, while we’re here, neither do the Royals. That’s a problem on a few levels — levels that require more time than we have here for a blog post — but because it’s Monday and I’m in a good mood let’s do something optimistic.
You may have seen the column about the Royals’ playoff chances now that we’re exactly two months from the end of the season. The Royals need a lot of things to go right, of course, enough that no single column could cover it all. One of the things I didn’t get to — along with the smooth return of Jason Vargas so the bullpen isn’t overworked — is the curious case of Mike Moustakas.
Moose became such a flashpoint around the Royals early, it fortified some minds and allowed people to dig in a bit on whether he can be a good player going forward.
The Royals demoted him on May 21, which was at least a week too late. And after Danny Valencia got hurt, they brought Moose back up at least a week or so sooner than they otherwise would have.
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But if you can chop his season down, it’s worth pointing out that he’s now played more games after the demotion than before it and the body of work is pretty decent.
Before the demotion: a .152 batting average, .223 on-base and .320 slugging percentage. Among the worst hitters in baseball.
Since the demotion: .231 average, .292 on-base and .449 slugging.
It’s a strange group of numbers, which is what you get when a guy has 20 singles and 14 extra-base hits and a lot of outs, but that .741 OPS is comparable to the season numbers of Aramis Ramirez (.750), Sal Perez (.749), Manny Machado (.731), David Wright (.739) and Jason Heyward (.730).
You can also manipulate the end points a little more and see that Moose is at .816 since June 10 (with nine homers and 20 RBIs) and .823 (with five homers in 57 at bats) since July 4.
The Royals have some problems, obviously. But at least over the last month or two, Moustakas isn’t one of them.