As they say, July was a very, very good month for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals went 16-10, pulling themselves within a few games of the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central and taking over the second wild card spot in the AL. They pulled off a nine game winning streak near the end of the month before falling to Boston on July 29th. The month was very good for Kansas City but do the numbers speak to that as well? Let’s take a look at how you break down the month of July for Kansas City.
Let’s begin with the pitching, which has been the strong point for Kansas City throughout most of the season. Overall, here is how the Royals ranked in the league:
BB/9-13th (which means they had the 3rd best walk rate in the AL)
HR/9-14th (2nd lowest in the league)
HR/FB-15th (Best in the AL)
So those are the overall pitching numbers in July. Let’s break them farther down, starting with the starting pitching:
BB/9-15th (Best in the AL)
HR/FB-14th (2nd best in the AL)
So just based off these numbers, the Royals rotation was about in the middle of starters numbers in July to slightly better. How about the relievers?
HR/9-14th (2nd best in the AL)
HR/FB-14th (2nd best in the AL)
Just like in years past, the bullpen carries a good bulk of the Royals pitching. The one change is obvious in the strike outs per 9 rate, which was one of the lowest in the league for July. The Kansas City bullpen used to be built on power arms. Now, the relievers are allowing the stellar Royals defense to do the work. It becomes even more evident by the fact that the Royals bullpen has the second highest ground ball rate in the AL for the month at 53.6%. So the pitching held up their end; how about the offense?
On the surface it appeared the Royals offense was above average this past month, but we all know the numbers won’t lie:
For a team that can really struggle offensively, the Royals bats were the biggest part of their successful month. The fact that the team ranks in the Top 5 of the league in most offensive categories was a boost to their winning record in the last 31 days. We all know this team can be streaky, so a cold spell could be just around the corner, but if they continue to put up numbers like this, the Royals should be able to stay in contention over the last couple months of the season.
Speaking of the offense, who really led the way for the Royals in July? My money would have been on Eric Hosmer, but alas it was ‘Two Hit’ Whit Merrifield who led the team in fWAR throughout the month. Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were vital contributors to the team’s success and helped lead a major offensive charge throughout July:
Home Runs-Mike Moustakas, 9
Runs-Eric Hosmer, 22
RBI’s-Hosmer & Moustakas, 21
Batting Average-Hosmer, .379
So what will be on the plate for August? There is no way to really guess that, although the recent injury to Salvador Perez could mean a dip in some of those offensive stats. What I can say is that if they produce anything close to what they did in July this Royals team might be able to elevate themselves further along in the American League Central. With less than sixty games left, it is ‘do or die’ time for any team looking to capture a postseason berth and Kansas City will have to weather some bumps in the road. Luckily, a large chunk of these players have been through the grind before…but will that be enough to get them to October?