If the old adage about April showers begetting May flowers stands true, it would stand to reason that the gigantic golden shower that April took upon the early Royals campaign must have CERTAINLY led to a beautiful, vibrant rebirth over the past month, right? Well, not exactly. But there WERE some positive takeaways, I swear.
And like last month’s “April Recap,” I’m dedicated to finding them. It’s too easy to shit on a team like the Royals, but really, what good does it do to pile-on? Incessant Scribe complaints about what a failure Eric Hosmer is shaping up to be won’t make him any better. Similarly, thousands of whiny comments screaming about how “Walmart Glass” is ruining this team and should be burned alive (after being made to sell the team, of course), won’t accomplish anything.
What do we honestly think—that our wild internet complaints are going to cause a lot of introspection and soul-searching from the team’s heartless owner? That he’s going to read the astute observations from KCButtLicker6969 and say, “you know what? I AM cheap! I DO need to sign Johnny Fastball for $30,000,000 a year! What in the fuck was I thinking?! I should probably kill myself! La la la la la, I just shit my pants! OOPS!”
I mean, this COULD happen, but it seems highly unlikely.
So while we sit here, stewing in our own grotesque Kansas City baseball filth, let’s at least try to stay positive, at least for the next few paragraphs. It won’t kill us. It may even make us feel a bit better.
Country Breakfast Continues to Rake
Look, I don’t care if he doesn’t like the nickname (peculiar, as I had initially heard HE was the one who suggested it): I’m using it because it’s funny. And hearty. And full of bacon and flapjacks and three eggs, cooked how you want them. Kind of like Billy Butler.
Finally, after years of promise and hope and potential, ole Billy seems to finally be hitting consistently for power. Wait—let me rephrase that—“ole Billy finally seems to be hitting HOMERUNS, consistently.” See, despite what everyone says, he’s not the white Ken Harvey. He’s ALWAYS hit doubles, with authority and at a good clip. What we were promised, however, was 30 homeruns a year, easy. Power takes time to develop, the experts said.
He’ll come around.
Well glory, glory, hallelujah, Butler has finally harnessed his inner ham-power and is on pace to hit 38 homeruns. That’s right, eternal single-season Royals homerun record holder Steve Balboni, you’d better watch your Super Mario ‘stache, son.
Frenchy Returns to 2011 Form, Becomes Sexy, Sexy Trade Bait
I like Jeff Francoeur, really, I do. But the thing is, he’s a corner outfielder, and once William Bradford Myers gets here from AAA (which could be sooner, rather than later), we’ll HAVE two corner outfielders—Myers and Alex Gordon. Both are younger (okay, Gordon by only a month), cheaper (for now, anyway) and both have higher ceilings.
(Side note: Why do I feel like Francoeur is AT LEAST 34 years old? Unbelievable. HE IS 28. I HATE MY LIFE.)
Therefore, Frenchy’s recent surge in productivity is highly encouraging. He’s always been a streaky player, and quite honestly, the entirety of last year felt more like the exception as opposed to the rule. His April troubles—which extended quite prominently into May—felt a lot more like normal. Over the past few weeks, though, he has started to turn it on. Over his last 10 games (through May 30th), he’s hitting .450 with 4 homeruns and 7 RBI. Quite respectable, to say the least.
Alcides Escobar Continues to Impress
Early scouting reports on Escobar gave every indication that his offense would develop gradually. The Royals traded for the lanky Dominican for his slick defense, though. And while his Gold Glove caliber play at a premium position continues to shine, it looks like his offensive prowess might be coming to fruition, as well. Though it’s unlikely that he’ll be a consistent .300 batter, and he could stand to make a significant improvement with regard to walks, he’s shown surprising pop for such a scarecrow of a fella.
The thought of Escobar at the plate with the Royals down a run in the ninth, and the tying run standing on second no longer makes me cringe. He’s given me every reason to believe that he has just as good a chance of putting the ball in play as anyone else on this team.
And when he gets his braces off, I’m taking him out for taffy!
Felipe Paulino Saves Rotation from Being Completely Awful by Being Completely Awesome
Since being released by the Colorado Rockies and subsequently traded to the Royals for cash considerations in May of last year, Big Phil has been a revelation. Indisputably, Paulino has always had an arsenal of good pitches; his problem, however, has been the free pass. Now that his control issues have cost him two major league gigs, it seems as though he may have learned a lesson. Though his walk totals haven’t been Greinke-esque in their magnificence, they have been much more promising than in years past. Through 31 innings (through May 30th), he has walked 12. Five of those came in his last start at the Baltimore Orioles, a game that he, not so surprisingly, lost. It’s a hard thing—walking five and still winning.
Aside from that anomaly, he has been terrific. He’s 2-0 against the Yankees, without allowing a run. He’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning. His ERA through 5 starts this May (his entire season—he missed April due to arm ouchies) is 2.03.
Ladies and gentleman, Felipe Paulino is the ace of this staff.
Royals Cap Winning May for First Time in 18 Years
That’s right… the last time the Royals had a winning record in the month of May, it was 1994. The Lion King was topping the box office, Kurt Cobain was just getting busy being dead and OJ Simpson was a few months away from electrifying sports fans everywhere with his ability to murder people to death. In Slovakia, populist leader Vladimir Meciar wins the general election. WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
Meanwhile, here in lil’ ol’ KC, Hal McRae was leading his merry band of misfits to a shot at the AL wildcard, Vince Coleman was a year removed from blowing someone’s face off with a firecracker, and the Royals’ badass rotation was anchored by Kevin Appier, Tom Gordon and David Cone.
Then the strike crushed everyone’s hopes and dreams, and at the tender age of 12, I turned to the bottle. (of Mountain Blackberry Clearly Canadian sparkling water, but still)
So there we are… five GENUINE reasons to be excited about this team heading into June. Unlike last month’s “highlights,” I didn’t have to stretch—this time, there is no, “NOBODY DIED, HA HA HA.”
Though this team is still far from contention—we need more Paulino’s and less patchwork starts from Nate Adcock Luis “El Lobo” Mendoza—the future isn’t as bleak as some (including other writers right here on this site) might lead you to believe.