What the hell happened to the offense?

It’s no secret that some of Kansas City’s best offensive prospects have been struuuuuuugling to get 2019 started.

Kansas City has had, legitimately, MAYBE 5 guys to be really excited about on the farm offensively. Kyle Isbel was destroying the baseball before straining his hamstring. Gabriel Cancel is off to a magnificent start to his first go at AA. Nicky Lopez looks fantastic. Kelvin Gutierrez was hitting the ball well but now he’s in KC. Bubba is hitting singles, but at least he’s hitting. Outside of that…it’s been ROUGH early on.

I wanted to get a better look at just how much the Royals young hitters were struggling, so I dug up the league averages and medians for the Royals affiliates. Here are the averages and medians for some select stats:

In the South Atlantic League (A):

Age BB% K% BB/K OPS ISO BABIP wRC+ SwStr%
Averages 21.4539 .09044 0.26508 0.37935 0.66905 0.12639 0.30654 98.5751 0.13653
Medians 22 0.08812 0.27084 0.3125 0.6521 0.11257 0.30656 97.6323 0.13545

In the Carolina League (A+):

Age BB% K% BB/K OPS ISO BABIP wRC+ SwStr%
Averages 22.5701 0.09956 0.23944 0.48941 0.68864 0.11852 0.31279 98.9352 0.12769
Medians 23 0.09375 0.23214 0.4 0.69702 0.10784 0.30882 104.179 0.1277

In the Texas League (AA):

Age BB% K% BB/K OPS ISO BABIP wRC+ SwStr%
Averages 23.8804 0.10146 0.24402 0.49181 0.71969 0.1407 0.31428 99.0049 0.11471
Medians 24 0.09602 0.23861 0.4 0.72131 0.12558 0.31373 98.8649 0.1107

In the Pacific Coast League (AAA):

Age BB% K% BB/K OPS ISO BABIP wRC+ SwStr%
Averages 26.2989 0.10399 0.22194 0.54508 0.8233 0.19627 0.3233 101.64 0.11124
Medians 26 0.10301 0.21795 0.44444 0.80228 0.17974 0.31623 98.259 0.1071

With those in mind, let’s take a look at some of Kansas City’s top offensive prospects and see how they are doing compared to the league they are in:

#1 MJ Melendez

  • 2 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • ISO

#4 Khalil Lee

  • 2 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • K%
    • BB/K
    • SwStr%

#5 Nicky Lopez

  • 2 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • K%
    • BB/K
    • OPS
    • wRC+
    • SwStr%

#7 Seuly Matias

  • 2 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • ISO

#8 Nick Pratto

  • 2 years younger than league average
  • Above average:

#9 Michael Gigliotti

  • 2 years older than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • K%
    • BB/K
    • OPS
    • wRC+
    • SwStr%

#11 Kyle Isbel

  • League average age
  • Above average:
    • K%
    • BB/K
    • OPS
    • ISO
    • wRC+
    • SwStr%

#17 Gabriel Cancel

  • 1.5 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • OPS
    • ISO
    • wRC+
    • SwStr%

#18 Brewer Hicklen

  • 0.5 years older than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • BB/K
    • OPS
    • wRC+

#22 Meibrys Viloria

  • 1.5 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • BB/K
    • SwStr%

#23 Blake Perkins

  • League average age
  • Above average:
    • BB%
    • K%
    • BB/K
    • SwStr%

#28 Jeison Guzman

  • 1.5 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • K%
    • SwStr%

#29 Nick Heath

  • 1.5 years older than league average
  • Above average:
    • BB%

#30 Emmanuel Rivera

  • 0.5 years younger than league average
  • Above average:
    • K%
    • OPS
    • SwStr%

That’s all of the Royals offensive prospects left in the Minor Leagues that made our top 30 list this off-season. Only five of them have a wRC+ that registers above league average. Nick Pratto seemingly can’t get anything going right now. Some guys have good plate discipline, some guys are hitting the ball well, but almost none of them are doing both well.

I don’t really know what to make of this. Outside of the aforementioned group consisting of Cancel, Gigs, Lopez, and Kyle Isbel, You can’t really frame any one else’s season as being “excellent” to date. There are way more hitters that have performed closer to alarming than excellent.

I’m not going to stress about it too much until June, but we’ve officially hit the point where the massive struggles by most of the Royals offensive prospects have entered my radar. There is still, of course, PLENTY of time for them to get this turned around, as most of our top prospects are much younger than the average player in the league. Hopefully they get going sooner rather than later.

 

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4 thoughts on “What the hell happened to the offense?

  1. Bubba Starling not doing so bad either, just saying.
    But yes, it appears most Royals high prospects left their bats in Surprise this year. Would be nice to say it is just the hitting black hole at Wilmington but the terrible at bats are also happening at NWA and Lexington and to a slightly lesser extent, Omaha.
    Maybe it is the focus on swing hard/swing often philosophy finally getting the better at all Royals levels.
    You are right, it is still just 1 month of data. Some did struggle early last year as well (Pratto as example). If this is still happening at the all star break, then it might be time to look at the whole Royals hitting philosophy (top to bottom) and replace the current hitting stable with some new coaching types.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A second comment. Have to wonder a little if the constant holding back of minor league system prospects is having some effect. Has to frustrate a lot of high level Royals prospects to see 20-23 year old players (drafted alongside them) reaching the major leagues this year while they are still stuck in A ball.
    No one ever discusses mental attitude in a ball players ability but Royals are one of the worst at not rushing players before they are ready (read before they reach Rule 5 status).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 2018 Draft Class Review: Pitchers 5/13/19 | Royals Farm Report

  4. Pingback: Minor League Minutes: 5/14/19 | Royals Farm Report

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