By Aaron Charles @aaroncharleskc on July 14, 2014
The Kansas City Royals are limping into the All-Star break losing six of their last nine games, but they're still in a good position to make a run for the playoffs. The team has experienced some pleasant surprises and some disappointments thus far in the season. Here are five things we've learned about the 2014 Royals midway through the season.
A much-deserved starting spot in the All-Star lineup will help get the word out. Perez is currently hitting .284 with 11 home runs. The 24-year-old also boasts a .995 fielding percentage, and still hasn't reached his full potential.
Davis has been lights-out as Greg Holland's setup man, striking out 62 batters in 39.2 innings with a 1.13 ERA. He came over in the trade that brought James Shields to Kansas City and sent Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to Tampa Bay. Davis was terrible as a starter for the Royals last season, but he's been incredible since making the move to the bullpen.
Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar were the main haul for the Royals in the 2012 trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers. Both Cain and Escobar have been starting to realize their full potential in 2014, displaying solid work at the plate with the speed and defense that were always there.
Vargas signed a four-year deal worth $32 million in the offseason with Kansas City. That seems like a bit much considering he had a 4.30 ERA for his career prior to this season. The Royals gamble has paid off so far. Vargas is 8-4 with a career-best 3.31 ERA. His recent move to the DL was for his appendix, so Vargas should be back to form soon.
The Royals are last in the league with 55 home runs. Billy Butler has experienced an odd power outage with just three home runs when he hasn't hit fewer than 15 in a full season during his career. The addition of Raul Ibanez will not be enough to put the pop in the lineup that the Royals desperately need. They need to make a move for more power. Kansas City shouldn't bet their playoff chances on a hope that their underachievers will bounce back.
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