Through 18 games, the Royals offense is one of the worst in baseball. They rank 26th in runs, 26th in OPS and 25th in weighted on-base average.
Their second baseman, Omar Infante, leads the team in RBI. Their shortstop, Alcides Escobar, leads the team in OPS. The team has hit six home runs; eight individual players in the majors have hit at least six, and nine players have hit five.
Among the heart of the team’s order, only Alex Gordon is performing up to expectations, with a reasonable .294/.329/.441 slash line and a 114 OPS+. Billy Butler has one extra-base hit, Eric Hosmer has four, and neither has hit a home run. Salvador Perez is batting .095 in his last 10 games. Mike Moustakas has a .492 OPS.
The picture is not pretty. The power outage is the reason behind the team’s 9-9 start, general manager Dayton Moore believes. But it also sustains his belief in his team’s talent.
We’ll let him explain, as he did in a telephone conversation on Tuesday morning.
“Of course, it’s been a little frustrating,” Moore said. “It’s frustrating for the players. But nobody’s I would say concerned. We’re not really panicking.”
He added, “If your offense is clicking and your rotation is clicking and your bullpen is clicking, you’ll win 20 of 30 games. You play .500 because there’s a phase of your team that is not performing well. It may be starting pitching. It may be defense. It may be hitting . . .
“Right now, we’re playing .500 baseball, and we’re not producing. We’re not slugging, and we’re not getting our timely hits enough. You’ve got to expect that to change. Hitting is the one part of the game that over the course of the season takes care of itself, so to speak.
“If the defense is good, it usually will stay good. If the rotation is good, it usually will stay good, assuming everybody stays healthy. But the offense is one of those things that goes through ups and downs. Hitting is the most difficult thing to do well in all of sports, in my opinion.
“Again, if your team is producing in all phases of the game, you have a great month. If your team is not producing offensively, or in the starting rotation, if you have a good team, you’re playing about .500. If you have a bad team, you’re well below.
“We are where right now because of how we’ve performed offensively. I’m not disappointed. And I’m not really concerned.”
•One other note:
Moore does not expect Perez to catch every game in 2014, even if Perez is on pace to do so, and manager Ned Yost is loathe to discuss when he will sit him. But Moore stressed he trusted Yost, bench coach Don Wakamatsu, the club’s training staff and Perez himself to keep the player healthy.
Moore indicated there was no set limit for how many games Perez could play in a season. He leaves that up to the on-field personnel.