What's Going Right?
Simply put, the pitching has been great and the hitting has been good enough to win some games. Sound familiar, Royals fans? The Omaha starters have totaled a 3.72 ERA, and the bullpen has been even better. Some notables:
Will Smith - 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, 31 Ks, 6 BBs
Chris Dwyer - 24.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Nate Adcock - 15.0 IP, 2.40 ERA, 14 Ks, 1.13 WHIP
Louis Coleman - 11.0 IP, 1.64 ERA, 12 Ks
Blaine Boyer - 7.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 14 Ks, 0 BBs
Although Omaha's pitching is strong, the hitting, as a team, has not been that great. They are currently 12th out of 16 teams in OPS at .717. The offense has had several key performers carry the weight of others who aren't hitting like the team would like:
David Lough - 77 PAs, .405 OBP, .493 SLG, 6 XBH
Johnny Giavotella - 77 PAs, .403 OBP, .463 SLG
Brett Hayes - 36 PAs, .351 OBP, .735 SLG, 4 HRs
Anthony Seratelli - 46 PAs, .435 OBP, .526 SLG, 4 SBs
What's Going Wrong?
It's difficult to find much wrong with the pitching, but there has been a couple players that have not performed well when they toed the rubber. Brian Sanchez has taken the hill as the team's fifth starter and sports an ERA of 5.93. Considering his performance as a starter, it seems odd that Sanchez has been a starter this year. It stands to reason that the Royals would like someone from NW Arkansas to pitch their way into Omaha's rotation. George Sherrill's 10.80 ERA in 1.2 innings could prove to be just an outlier. The only other pitcher with an ERA over 5.00 is Atahualpa Severino (5.06), so it's hard to find much more to complain about from the pitching staff.
As good as some of the Royals hitters have been, there are, unfortunately, more that aren't hitting very well. Former first-round pick Christian Colon has an OPS of just .621 in 72 PAs and has committed 4 errors already. DH/1B/C Max Ramirez has an OPS of .629 and has struck out in 1/3 of his at-bats. Super-sub Irving Falu's OPS is an abysmal .442, and he's been caught stealing twice in the rare occasion he's actually made it on base. Brandon Wood (.611 OPS), Paulo Orlando (.493 OPS), Adam Moore (.571 OPS), and Wily Taveras (.385) have all contributed to the Storm Chasers woes on the offensive side of the ball.
So... what can Omaha provide to help out the Royals?
It's hard to find any holes on the Royals pitching staff. With our starting pitchers averaging almost 6 1/2 innings per start, there probably isn't enough innings available right now to justify the 12 man staff they have now. The only pitchers with an ERA of 3.86 are closer Greg Holland, primary set-up man Kelvin Herrera, reliever J.C. Gutierrez, and the pitcher most affected by April's odd schedule - Luis Mendoza. The Royals won't even entertain the idea of sending down Holland, Herrera, or Luis Mendoza, so that leaves Gutierrez. If the Royals were to release Gutierrez, an argument could be made that they would benefit more by bringing up another bench players.
Offensively, the Royals have received very little production out of the 1B, 2B, 3B, RF, and C positions. Mike Moustakas at 3B has been especially bad this year. Anthony Seratelli could come up and split time at 3B and 2B. One would think that David Lough could be at least as productive as Jeff Francoeur in RF - or he could be the 4th outfielder and Jarrod Dyson could be starter. With Eric Hosmer looking like he might be ready to turn a corner, the Royals won't look to upgrade there, and Salvador Perez's presence on defense is enough to let him ride through this dip in offensive production.
So, could the Royals call up someone to boost their lackluster offense? There are several players that could provide the spark the Royals are looking for, but don't look for any changes to be made right now. Dayton Moore and J.J. Picollo have both said they like to see the first quarter of the season play out before they make any major changes. That being said, if the Royals are truly in "win now" mode, it might force them to move up their timeline to replace lackluster player performance.
To discuss this story in our premium forum, please click here.