This may surprise you, but the Royals actually hit the ball relatively hard in 2017. They weren’t the best. That distinction belonged to Oakland. But they found themselved nestled at 11th in baseball in exit velocity right between the offensive powerhouse that was the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, who finished fifth in the American League in runs scored. While I’m not here today to ask or answer the question of why the Royals couldn’t score more runs in spite of an exit velocity ranking 11th in baseball, but if I was, you’d probably be surprised to know that they had the third to lowest ground ball percentage in baseball.
No, what I’m here today to talk about is the 10 hardest hit balls off the bat of the Royals all season. Because that’s more fun. Hitting the ball hard is awesome. But first some other fun stats! All these stats are from Statcast.
Royals players hit the ball 100 MPH or harder a total of 949 times during the 2017 season. That’s an average of about six times per game. Eric Hosmer led the way with 146 of those, almost one a game. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez were the other three Royals to do it 100 or more times. Christian Colon hit the ball over 100 MPH once. That’s about right. Of the 949 balls hit that hard, 98 went foul while 310 were recorded outs. That means the Royals hit .636 on balls hit 100 MPH or harder.
Let’s get to the good stuff now.
10. Mike Moustakas – 112.7 MPH
This one is boring. It was a foul ball against the Blue Jays on an 89 MPH cut fastball. Good for Moose, hitting the ball hard
9. Eric Hosmer – 112.8 MPH
Now the good stuff. Hosmer singled in a run on April 12 against Liam Hendriks of the A’s. The Royals lost that game 8-3, which you might remember as the game where Mondesi launched a massive home run in the bottom of the ninth inning that made everyone believe he was about to turn a corner and get going. He was demoted a few days later. Still, Hosmer’s opposite field single (there’s a shock, right?) was one of the hardest hit balls the Royals had all year.
8. Brandon Moss – 112.8 MPH
Moss had a big day against the Twins on July 1st, gathering five hits in a double header. This hit was a double off Buddy Boshers that came directly after a rare Jorge Soler home run. Moss would come around to score on an Alcides Escobar double. As a side note, Escobar only hit 35 balls at 100 MPH or harder all season. He played every game. Wow.
7. Eric Hosmer – 112.9 MPH
On April 26th, Hosmer lined out to the opposite field against Jose Quintana in a game the Royals ended up losing 5-2. That was in the middle of their terrible nine-game losing streak when nothing was going right. It was also right around the time Hosmer woke up from his slumber in the first few weeks of the season. At the time, we probably groaned at him making another out. I’d say he had a pretty good year anyway.
6. Mike Moustakas – 112.9 MPH
Moose singled against Michael Pineda in a game where Jason Vargas was bad, which was a rarity early in the season. The Royals lost, but Moose pulled a hard hit single to the right side. The Royals lost 11-4, so I guess a hard hit ball was sort of a highlight. He would single again later in the game and even drove in a run, but he didn’t hit the ball that hard, so we don’t care.
5. Eric Hosmer – 114 MPH
Hosmer hit a ball 114 MPH on the ground in a loss to the Tigers. He was thrown out at first. If you’re keeping track, this is his third time in the top 10 and his second out. Stay tuned.
4. Jorge Soler – 114.2 MPH
Soler had just come off the disabled list and the Royals were playing the Orioles on Mother’s Day. The offense was still struggling, and he was now a part of those struggles. Thankfully, Richard Bleier hung a sinker that he absolutely obliterated to dead center, clearing all three walls. I’m pretty sure Joey Rickard had some burns on his skin from that ball passing over him on the way out. The hope was that Soler was getting going on that swing. The reality is that hit accounted for 50 percent of his 2017 home run total. But hey, keeping him in the minors as long as they did means they have four years of control over him still.
3. Jorge Soler – 114.4 MPH
This was the precursor to that home run. He grounded out to Manny Machado the day before the home run and it led me to believe that he was about to get going. I even told people it was coming. Then he hit that home run the next day and I was vindicated. Only I wasn’t. But hey, I had a moment in the sun.
2. Eric Homser – 114.6 MPH
Of course Hosmer gets one of the top two spots on this list. He hit the ball hard consistently. This one wasn’t on the ground. It was a line drive against the Rays on May 8th when the Royals were working their way out of their funk. It advanced Lorenzo Cain to third in the seventh inning of a game the Royals had basically put away. They won 7-3. It was magical.
1. Eric Hosmer – 118 MPH
We should have known how this season would go. In the second game of the year, with the Royals down 9-1 after inexplicably using Nate Karns in relief, Hosmer stepped to the plate against Justin Haley and he hit a ball about as hard as you can hit it. He hit it the other way, which I know will shock everyone. What ensued was Eduardo Escobar picked the ball up off the dirt and threw it to first base before Hosmer could get there. Yes, that’s right. The hardest hit ball of the year for the Royals was a groundout to shortstop.
So that’s that. From 10-1, the hardest hit balls of the year off the bats of some Royals. They went 5 for 9 on them with a foul ball. They went 4-6 in the games they were hit. I don’t have any commentary to add to that. I just thought it was interesting. I hope you did too.