The Kansas City Royals have been the talk of baseball lately, as they have earned themselves the American League Division lead after scorching reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer for 10 runs in four innings.
You can't seem to find many flaws with the Royals during their current nine game winning streak. With that being said, there is no doubt that Kansas City's blistering bats have been the number one key to their recent success.
If you look at the Royals offensive stats in June it wouldn't be hard to figure out why Kansas City has dominated their opponents. During their last 15 games, the Boys In Blue have scored 88 runs, hit .294 and totaled 52 extra base hits. All numbers lead the American League in the month of June.
If those numbers aren't impressive enough, consider Kansas City has scored an amazing 57 runs in their last 59 innings at the plate.
As Rex Hudler always says, you have to find a player to drive the bus. Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar have certainly been the lead bus drivers as of late. Escobar had a 12 game hitting streak in early June and Perez is on a current 11 game hitting streak.
It's hard to truly determine how much the hiring of hitting coach Dale Sveum has to do with the recent offensive outbreak. One thing is certain though. Since the addition of Sveum, the offense has looked much more patient at the plate.
I noticed earlier in the season, this lineup would typically swing at bad pitches early in counts which would most times lead to ground outs and pop outs. Their current approach has been much better, as they have gone deep in counts, waiting for a good hitter's pitch rather than a good pitcher's pitch.
One of the biggest keys to finding success from the plate is finding a way to put the ball in play. The Royals have certainly done that, striking out fewer than any team in the majors during the month of June.
The pitching hasn't missed a beat during the recent hot streak. Royals starting pitchers haven't allowed more than three earned runs during the winning streak. Kansas City pitchers have also been able to keep the ball in the ballpark, only allowing seven homeruns in June, which is the best in the American League over that span.
Wade Davis seems to be the unsung hero of the ball club over the past two months. Not many people probably know that Davis hasn't allowed an earned run over his last 20 innings pitched. Davis will certainly be called upon to rack up a bunch of innings out of the bullpen as the division race heats up.
With uncertainty to how long Norichika Aoki will be out of the lineup, I like how Jarrod Dyson has made the most of his opportunities this year coming off the bench. I think he has looked the best he has ever looked in his career. He has been very comfortable at the plate and his speed on the base pads always leads to scoring chances.
With the All-Star break approaching, I thought it would be fun to predict where the Royals will stand.
It would be hard for any offense to consistently hit at the level the Royals are hitting at right now. With that being said, I don't think this offense is a fluke. I think Kansas City will continue to hit the ball at a relatively high level. I can see this team averaging about 4.3 runs per game over the course of this season. The Royals also have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball with consistent starters such as James Shields and Jason Vargas as well as young guns Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy. With the Royals current level of play and an average strength of schedule, I think Kansas City will stay hot and be in first place at the break with a record of 55-39.