It happens to me every Spring Training. The Kansas City Royals burst out of the gates offensively with scores that more closely resemble the NFL than then MLB. Players who absolutely need to do great begin the year in Arizona by doing great, and I get excited. I start thinking “man, this is exactly what we need. If only we can translate this into the regular season, we’ll be unstoppable.”
Then it hits me — again. Idiot.
At this point in the year, hitters feast on pitchers trying to fine-tune specific parts of their game. This absence of the dire need to get the batter out often manifests itself in final scores that look downright cartoonish. I’ll never complain about a two-homer outing or an 11-score game, but I need to keep in mind that such production won’t be the norm once Opening Day arrives.
The Royals recorded a league-leading .335 as a team during Spring Training 2013. Once the regular season started and wins and losses actually began to matter, that average dropped to .260.
So, is news of Mike Moustakas‘ two home runs in yesterday’s game still great news? Sure it is. I just need to remind myself that it doesn’t necessarily mean Moose has it all figured out. Moose hit .394 in Spring Training last year with five homers and 16 RBIs in 26 games. That would put him on pace to go yard 31 times and record 100 RBIs over 162 games. Obviously, his production came nowhere close to those numbers in the regular season.
Moose is currently sitting at a .556 average, and he’s just one of seven Royals with at least seven at-bats and an average of .429 or higher. Call me a pessimist, but I’m not convinced anyone in KC will hit over .400 this season.