By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on July 2, 2014
The first half of the 2014 MLB season has been full of the unexpected for the Kansas City Royals. The team has experienced plenty of pleasant surprises and some disappointing ones. Here are the five biggest through this point in the season.
Prior to the season, there was a collective groan in Kansas City when Ned Yost announced that Davis was a contender to be the No. 5 starter for the Royals. He was terrible in 2013, and the fans were ready to move on. He lost out and responded by becoming arguably the league's best setup man. Davis boasts a 1.26 ERA with an astounding 56 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched.
The solid speed and defense from Cain and Escobar is certainly no surprise, but the fact that they have the highest batting averages among the Royals' everyday starters is. Escobar is hitting .297 while Cain boasts a .309 average. Yost finally bumped Cain up in the lineup, but for reasons only known to Yost, Escobar is still hitting at the bottom of the order.
The lack of progress from Moustakas at the plate has been a big disappointment for the Royals, and back in May, he was sent to triple-A Omaha for a week to get it together. The Royals need his power in the lineup, but the .185 average definitely needs to come up. For Royals fans who are concerned that Moose might be a bust, don't forget that Alex Gordon took quite awhile to come around too, so there is certainly still hope.
Considering power was a big issue with the team last season, this may not seem like such a big surprise, but the Royals certainly expected better from Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. A combined six home runs between the two through the first half was definitely unexpected.
Kansas City's starting pitching has been incredible, and it's been the biggest factor to the team being in the thick of the playoff race. All of the Royals starters have an ERA under 4.00, with Duffy leading the way with a mark of 2.60. After Tommy John surgery in 2012, Duffy is now back at full speed. He's made a seamless transition from the bullpen and become one of the Royals' most pleasant surprises this season.
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