To start the 2022 season, the Kansas City Royals are waiting on their offense. Simply put, too many of their key hitters aren’t hitting. That has led them to just nine wins in the first 25 games of the season.
Expectations for the 2022 Royals were high, saying they could be a .500 or better team if the offense—which has the potential to be a well-rounded lineup—could get their bats going. They certainly have hitters who could hit for power, get extra-base hits, and get runners in scoring position home. So far, however, the question is why are so many good hitters struggling both getting on base and getting the timely hitting they need to win games?
Most Hitters Struggling
The Kansas City Royals, still waiting on their offense to show up, have seen most of the regular starters struggle. As of Sunday’s game, they are hitting only .218 overall and are in the bottom five of slugging and on-base percentage. They’re also ranked 29th in home runs and last in RBIs and runs scored. The team is averaging only 3.2 runs per game, which also puts them in the bottom five.
Starts With Salvador Perez
The dismal offensive start for them begins with Salvador Perez. He is hitting just .192 and has not looked good at the plate all season. Last year, he enjoyed the best season of his career, batting .273 and an OPS of .859 and 337 total bases.
It was also one of the most exciting seasons in Royals baseball history. Perez broke Johnny Bench’s single-season record for home runs by a catcher when he hit his 46th and finished the season tied with Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with 48.
Perez is one of this team’s leaders and makes this team go. If they are to get over their hitting woes, it has to start with him. He certainly has to ability to get on a hot streak and carry this team, especially after his remarkable 2021. He needs to get his confidence and his bat back if the Royals are to contend.
Perez isn’t the only batter with issues. The Kansas City Royals waiting on their offense and have others who need to step up and get it going. First baseman Carlos Santana is hitting .159 and leadoff man Whit Merrifield, one of the club’s most reliable hitters is hitting just .140 with only three extra-base hits.
Even MLB top prospect Bobby Whitt, Jr. has struggled, hitting .241 with just one home run. Whitt is a demonstrated five-tool potential player who tore through the minor leagues last season. He was expected to bring both power and speed to the middle of the Royals lineup. So far, he has demonstrated neither.
The Kansas City Royals are waiting on their offense, but do have one positive. Outfielder Andrew Benintendi is one of the top hitters in the AL with an average of .344. He had several nagging injuries during the 2021 season and just needed time to heal. Now healthy for 2022, he is hitting the ball well, once again showing that patient approach and line-drive capability the Royals wanted. However, he only has one home run.
Can Fix Things
This team can fix things but they need to do so sooner rather than later. We know hitting is difficult, to begin with. Hitters going through slumps start to press too hard because they want it so bad. It takes hitters out of their comfort zone, sometimes making it worse. Having teammates to rely on to keep your mood even or to keep you from grumbling can help.
However, it gets to be even more of a challenge when you are going through a hitting slump as a team. When the whole team is slumping, it is hard to get them back in it, to get them to step back and focus on what makes them successful as hitters.
That is where the Royals are now. If a couple of batters can get their “mojo” back, they all might. But, the Royals need to find out what’s causing the slump. They need to work on their mental confidence. If there are physical or technique tweaks that can be made, they need to make them.
The Season Is Young…but
The season is still young, but at least seven important players need to get on track and start hitting better and with consistency. Yes, across 162 games there will always be slumps. Hopefully, the Royals’ bats will heat up. If this team continues to struggle with their offense and their performances at the plate, it will sink them further in the loss column, digging a hole they may not be able to get out of. That will make it challenging for them to have their first winning record since 2015 when they won the World Series. There is still time to fix things. The Royals just need to figure out how—and soon.
Salvador Perez, Johnny Bench, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Carlos Santana, Whit Merrifield, Andrew Benintendi