After starting the season with a struggling offense, the Kansas City Royals have now played 7 games with a new lineup. Granted, 7 games is a very small sample size to work with, but we’re able to see some of the immediate effects of Ned Yost‘s new lineup. For one, the new Royals lineup has scored more runs per game. What follows is a table of some important runs scored stats divided into old lineup (first 30 games) vs. new lineup (last 7).
|Old Lineup||New Lineup||Combined|
|Runs per game||4.27||5.43||4.49|
|Games > 6 runs||8||4||12|
|Games < 2 runs||7||3||10|
There’s a few important things to note about this table.
- The first is that the games with 6+ runs are meant to distinguish offensive outbursts while the games with 2 runs or less are meant to show offensive struggles.
- The second is that the Royals offense has really struggled as often as it has excelled. In fact, every game that the Royals have played with their new lineup has been either an offensive outburst or the exact opposite.
- As stated in the introductory paragraph, the Royals have scored many more runs with their new lineup as opposed to the old one. The question is whether this is due to an actual improvement or whether the small sample size is affected by an anomaly in the data.
- The rate stats between the two lineups are remarkably similar. In fact, the batting averages are identical. The old Royals got on base more while the new ones hit for more power.
Now, the similarities in these rate stats should indicate that the run scoring will also be similar. Sure certain lineups may yield more runs than others, but it’s difficult to see how such a dramatic increase could have happened. Let’s go back to Monday night. Monday’s game was an 11-4 victory over LA. The Royals collected 19 hits, including a 5-5 day by Billy Butler, to score their runs. Those who were watching the broadcast knew that their offensive prowess on this particular day was a rare feat. This is because the Royals struck out 13 times and didn’t walk once. How many times have the Royals scored that many runs while also striking out at least that many times and walking twice or fewer. Precisely once. In 2011 against Oakland, the Royals scored 11 runs while striking out 14 times and walking twice. That’s twice in a history dating back to 1969. The reason this is so rare is because that type of offensive performance shouldn’t lead to very many runs. Monday’s case was the exception rather than the rule.
However, there are some very positive aspects to this lineup. For one, the idea of Butler hitting behind Alex Gordon will lead to plenty of runs. Also, Jarrod Dyson has shown this year that he is more than a #9 hitter. Should he lead off? If you consider that he drew his first walk on Wednesday night, no. However, his 9% career walk rate would be extremely useful for a Royals team that doesn’t walk much, especially if he can keep his average in the high .260’s. Of course, with Dyson possibly going to the DL, this may not matter for another couple weeks.
If the Royals continue to produce the same rate stats with this lineup as they have so far, I wouldn’t expect their number of runs scored per game to stay at it’s current level. However, this new lineup may also help get other players going. Since the switch to the new lineup, Butler has hit .345/.367/.655. I’m sure that Butler would’ve caught fire at some point regardless of his position in the lineup, but it’s good to see hit hitting the ball hard now. Whatever the case, it’s been fun to see a few really dominant offensive performances in this past week. Hopefully, the Royals can take a series in Oakland and head to Houston with a record 4 games over .500. To do so, they’ll probably need a good showing from their offense.
Edit: Dyson is on the 15-Day DL. This means that David Lough will be called up. It will be interesting to see how Yost tweaks the batting order to accommodate this.