Batting Eighth: Alcides Escobar
Alcides Escobar became an enigma for the Royals in 2014 and 2015. He became known for swinging at the first pitch of the game, and it was generally believed that when he swung at the first pitch, the Royals were going to win.
At eighth in the order last season, Esky posted a slash line of .286/.343/.389 across 138 plate appearances.
In 2015 during the World Series, Noah Syndergaard even went so far as to throw the first pitch at Esky’s head in order to keep him from swinging.
Yes, ‘Esky Magic’ was mythical and unlikely and should never have worked, but for a while it did.
In 2016, everything caught up to Escobar and the Royals and as his slash line plummeted, so did his spot in the batting order. He shuffled between seventh and eighth in the order and posted solid numbers in both of those spots.
At eighth in the order last season, Esky posted a slash line of .286/.343/.389 across 138 plate appearances. He also walked ten times in that span compared to only 13 times in 367 plate appearances out of the lead-off spot.
If Merrifield doesn’t work out in the lead-off spot, the KC Royals can always turn things back over to Escobar and hope that magic is rekindled, but dropping him in the lineup gives the Royals an all fields hitter with occasional pop near the bottom of the order.