MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox

Royals Offensive Statcast Fun

This was the longest first half we’ve ever seen in Kansas City, both in terms of the number of games and in terms of how exhausting it is to watch this team every day. But we’re still here, so you should be too. With a team that has already surpassed their loss total of the 2015 championship season, there isn’t much to talk about usually, but it’s fun to be able to take a step back and look at some of the numbers. One of the great resources that has become more and more publicly available in recent seasons is the Statcast data, which can be equal parts amazing and overused, but it’s still fun, so let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows from the pre-break Royals.

Exit Velocity

This is an easy one to dig into because it’s just how many miles per hour the ball is hit. Taking an average doesn’t necessarily give the best data, but we’re going to look at it anyway. Here are the Royals leaders:

Player Exit Velocity
Salvador Perez 90.5 MPH
Hunter Dozier 89.8
Mike Moustakas 89.6
Jorge Soler 89.5
Lucas Duda 89.1
Cheslor Cuthbert 89.0
Jorge Bonifacio 88.9
Adalberto Mondesi 88.8
Paulo Orlando 88.4
Alex Gordon 87.9
Royals Average 87.5
MLB Average 87.3
Whit Merrifield 87.2
Rosell Herrera 87.1
Drew Butera 86.0
Cam Gallagher 85.5
Ramon Torres 85.4
Alcides Escobar 84.0

Lots of Royals hit the ball harder than the MLB average, which seems like a good thing. And yet, here we are. The Royals best hitter, Merrifield, is just under the MLB average and their hardest hitter is having the worst season of his career. Perez has the 59th highest average exit velocity in baseball, so that might start to explain some things.

Hard Hit Percentage

Since the average for exit velocity isn’t a great correlation to success, hard hit percentage looks to maybe give a little more data. A ball is considered hard hit when it’s struck at 95 MPH or harder.

Player Hard Hit %
Salvador Perez 45.7%
Mike Moustakas 42.3
Jorge Soler 41.0
Adalberto Mondesi 40.4
Hunter Dozier 38.9
Jorge Bonifacio 38.9
Alex Gordon 38.6
Royals Average 34.1
MLB Average 34.1
Lucas Duda 34.1
Whit Merrifield 33.4
Cheslor Cuthbert 33.3
Paulo Orlando 33.3
Rosell Herrera 30.9
Drew Butera 26.5
Cam Gallagher 25.0
Ramon Torres 24.0
Alcides Escobar 21.5

There’s Salvy at the top of the list again, which makes you wonder if he’s been a bit unlucky this season, and there’s a good argument that he has with a .235 BABIP and all those hard-hit balls. His ground ball percentage is up, but not to Hosmerian levels or anything, so his double plays seem partially to just be some bad timing, more than anything. If not for the wear and tear of catching, I’d argue he might be due for a nice second half bounceback. I’m not so sure if that’ll be the case since it’s him, but it’s possible. His hard-hit rate ranks 37th in baseball with Moose coming in at 86th.

Barrels Per Batted Ball Event

This is a little complicated, but a barrel is defined as when a ball is hit at the right exit velocity and launch angle to lead to a minimum .500 xBA and 1.500 xSLG. Basically, it’s a ball hit basically perfectly. Barreling balls is good.

Player Barrel %
Salvador Perez 11.7%
Adalberto Mondesi 11.5
Hunter Dozier 10.6
Jorge Soler 10.3
Cam Gallagher 10.0
Lucas Duda 9.6
Mike Moustakas 9.4
Jorge Bonifacio 8.3
Alex Gordon 7.2
Royals Average 6.5
MLB Average 6.1
Whit Merrifield 4.8
Cheslor Cuthbert 3.7
Alcides Escobar 3.2
Paulo Orlando 1.6
Rosell Herrera 1.5
Drew Butera 1.2
Ramon Torres 0.0

Again, the Royals are well above league average here, but their top man, Perez, ranks 63rd. But also again, it seems like Perez has gotten the short end of a fair amount of line drives this season.

Launch Angle

Launch angle, to me, is one of the most overused stats out there without context. It just needs more clarification behind it for anything regarding launch angle to be relevant other than if you’re describing just how high a popup was or something for emphasis. Still, we’ve got some context with the hard-hit balls in the previous categories, so here is the Royals launch angle leaderboard.

Player Launch Angle
Lucas Duda 19.4°
Mike Moustakas 19.2
Drew Butera 18.4
Salvador Perez 17.9
Cam Gallagher 17.8
Whit Merrifield 17.2
Jorge Bonifacio 16.9
Cheslor Cuthbert 13.0
Royals Average 12.8
Adalberto Mondesi 12.7
Paulo Orlando 12.3
Hunter Dozier 11.5
Alcides Escobar 11.1
Jorge Soler 10.9
MLB Average 10.8
Alex Gordon 8.0
Ramon Torres 6.4
Rosell Herrera 3.1

The guys who should be hitting the ball in the air are, for the most part, and the guys who can get by on the ground are, for the most part. I’d like to see Dozier lift the ball a little better given his batted ball numbers. If he can get a little more in the air than he did before the break, he could hit eight to 10 homers in the last 65 games.

Whiff Percentage

The Royals were once lauded for their contact ability. They shouldn’t be anymore, though they do have some players who are still very good at making contact. It’s just that they have a lot who aren’t.

Player Whiff %
Jorge Soler 36.3%
Adalberto Mondesi 33.3
Lucas Duda 32.0
Hunter Dozier 29.3
Paulo Orlando 28.3
Royals Average 24.4
Rosell Herrera 24.0
Salvador Perez 24.0
MLB Average 23.9
Cheslor Cuthbert 23.7
Jorge Bonifacio 23.7
Drew Butera 23.4
Alex Gordon 23.3
Mike Moustakas 21.2
Alcides Escobar 20.3
Whit Merrifield 19.9
Cam Gallagher 13.3
Ramon Torres 11.1

Jorge and Adalberto, the future.

Sprint Speed

Player Speed
Adalberto Mondesi 29.5 ft/s
Paulo Orlando 29.1
Hunter Dozier 29.0
Whit Merrifield 28.9
Rosell Herrera 28.8
Jorge Soler 28.3
Jorge Bonifacio 28.2
Ramon Torres 27.9
Alcides Escobar 27.5
Cheslor Cuthbert 26.9
Mike Moustakas 25.6
Alex Gordon 25.5
Salvador Perez 24.9
Lucas Duda 24.8
Drew Butera 24.7
Cam Gallagher 24.7

Man, the old Royals players are sloooooooooooooooooow. I wrote about this earlier in the season, how unathletic this team is. Things are getting better, though. Mondesi is a burner and fun to watch. Dozier moves surprisingly well. Merrifield is always fun. Bonifacio can move a little bit, so can Soler. They’re not necessarily going to be better in the second half, but adding Mondesi, Herrera and Bonifacio to the team and getting Soler back, along with trading Moustakas out for a quicker guy will at least make them a little more exciting from a speed perspective.

By now you’ve probably figured out that the headline of this piece had a double meaning. Let’s hope for those of us watching this team that the offensive numbers end up a little less offensive in the last two and a half months.

Find all this great data at Baseball Savant. It’s an incredible site that will cause you to lose serious track of time.

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4 comments on “Royals Offensive Statcast Fun”

Chris Lee

Butera is a great guy in the community. Prob a good defensive catcher, but he’s 34 and does not hit. When do Royals need to see what they have in Gallagher? Catcher is a loaded position in minors, so Cam does not have to be a future starter, although as a 2nd-rounder he may have some trade value if he shows something.

David Lesky

They should have moved on from Butera when Salvy came back, so you won’t see me arguing with your point.

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