Earlier this year when we were still under the leadership of our dashingly handsome editor, Lewie Pollis, he reached out to the staff over at Kings of Kauffman to get their take on the Royals and their chances in 2013. Now, more than two months later, I’ve once again reached out the Kings of Kauffman with another set of brain busters. Just like last time, staff writer Mike Vamosi was kind enough to entertain our questions and provide some very insightful answers. You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeVmos.
Wahoo’s on First: How has the transition to George Brett as hitting coach gone? Are the Royals showing much improvement or are they continuing to just underachieve and go through the motions?
Mike Vamosi: Here’s the thing with George Brett coming on board, the numbers look to be the same but you’re seeing improvement from Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. Which is why some of us Royals fans feel the move was made to light a fire under those two. He’s made guys accountable and results are slowly being produced under his and Pedro Grifol’s watch.
Wahoo’s on First: James Shields has pitched really well even though his record doesn’t reflect it. Has his performance laid to rest the “should they or shoudn’t they have” debate with the trading of Wil Myers or is it only a matter of time till it looks like a mistake?
Mike Vamosi: If you’re still asking I guess those of us outside the “Royals bubble” are still thinking it. Personally I’ve moved on because Shields has pitched better than his 3-6 record suggests and has kept KC in nearly every game this season. The biggest issue was when Tampa Bay called Wil Myers up and he started hitting which I think was tough for some with Jeff Francoeur who was still on the team. It’ll probably be a trade most don’t get over but there isn’t a reason both teams can’t be ok with it since a need seemed to be served by both.
Wahoo’s on First: Who has been your biggest disappointment so far this season for the Royals? Personally, I was all aboard the Billy Butler bandwagon but I feel like has underwhelmed thus far after a great 2012.
Mike Vamosi: I get your Billy Butler disappointment but I honestly think the numbers are low because teams pitch around him and he tries to make something happen. In a perfect world Gordon would hit in front of Butler and Hosmer or Perez behind giving him threats so teams had to pitch to him. Since this is geared for the offense my disappointment would be Alcides Escobar, who just doesn’t seem to take pitches plus when batting second has struggled unlike last season when it looked like he was breaking through.
Wahoo’s on First: Despite their struggles, the Royals are still only 4.5 games back in the division. Both the Tigers and unfortunately the Indians have shown some glaring weaknesses that may hurt them in the second half. Do you think the Royals have what it takes to make a second half surge or are the destined to finish in the middle of the AL Central pack?
Mike Vamosi: I actually sent a tweet out about this after the game Sunday at Minnesota thanking Detroit for keeping KC in the race despite stretches that should’ve buried the Royals. Honestly I think Kansas City can stick around with its starting rotation/bullpen but what does the offense do? Should they get that figured out I like the teams chances of hanging around given the flaws that you and Detroit seem to have right now.
Wahoo’s on First: Are there any moves you’d like to see the Royals make heading into the second half either externally through trades or internally through the farms system? Do you expect them to stand pat and if they do, should they?
Mike Vamosi: I would say the team needs to address the second base and right field situation but since Saturday they’ve seemed to do so DFA’ing Frenchy and calling up Johnny Giavotella from Omaha. Pitching wise I like the staff but I could see Danny Duffy being recalled from Omaha with Luis Mendoza going to the ‘pen or being waived. After May I didn’t know the direction the team would take but as of July 1 I don’t think they need to do anything major with the roster but if David Lough can continue to contribute like he has plus Jarrod Dyson/Lorenzo Cain staying healthy the team looks to be in ok shape.
Wahoo’s on First: What is your prediction for this week’s series?
Mike Vamosi: Cleveland is hot right now with how they’ve been playing but I really like the Royals chances of taking the series given that it’s at home where they’ve played slightly better. However could I see the Indians winning or sweeping given how KC has failed to take advantage of opportunities like these this season but I truthfully like Kansas City at least winning 2-of-3.