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Zimmerman: Tim Collins. He is turning into a strikeout machine.
Jazayerli: Salvador Perez. His defensive skills have long been above average, but what's so extraordinary about him is that three years ago, he couldn't hit .200 in A-ball, and last year he hit .331 in the majors. Now that he's back, we're going to find out whether his bat is for real.
Moneyball Move You'd Make
Passan: I would spend every last dime that I could, every dime that I had, trying to keep my pitchers healthy. I don't know if Tampa Bay figured it out necessarily, but they do a really good job. They grow their pitchers from within, and they do not get injured. It's a pretty staggering thing to see because there's a team that has a dreadful stadium because it's a terrible market. It has no business winning, and it's going out there and beating the Yankees and Red Sox every year, and it's a fascinating story. They are what the Royals can be.
Brown: Moneyball was all about tapping into on-base percentage. Have you seen some of Dayton Moore's acquisitions? The Royals haven't ever cracked that book. Let's start there. OBP is life.
Keeler: It's a fact: The Royals don't hit home runs (last in the AL as of June 26) and don't walk a whole lot (also last). There's nothing wrong with that, except that Kauffman Stadium is playing smaller this year. And that means you're not taking advantage of your primary environment. There are good contact guys, speed guys and scrappers, but this isn't 1977 — the park doesn't play that way now. The top eight contenders in the American League all have at least one thing in common: They can knock the ball out of the yard. When the three-run home run is the coin of the realm, it's hard to keep pace consistently when your answer is trying to string together three or four doubles in a row.
Ivie: Not sure it's
Moneyball, but it's time to use some of the prospect talent to bring in proven MLB winners. I'll take all the heat here and say I would be 100 percent behind trading Wil Myers for a Matt Garza-type pitcher.
Stalder: Stop bunting in the first seven innings in any game. Giving up outs early in a contest is no way to play the game.
Zimmerman: Get rid of Francoeur and Betancourt. Their OBP is killing the team.
Jazayerli: You have a crazy-good bullpen and a terrible rotation. Be creative: Go to a four-man rotation but pull your starters after five innings no matter what (they're barely averaging five innings a start anyway). That allows you to carry nine relievers, and you can overwhelm opponents from the sixth inning on with a crazy assortment of power pitchers.
Passan: To be where they are, to be within shouting distance of .500 after all of the injuries, I'd say a B minus is fair.
Keeler: B minus. Get swept at Pittsburgh, then come home and sweep Milwaukee. Struggle mightily against St. Louis, then come out and smoke Tampa Bay. One minute they're up, the next they're down — which is what young, building teams do. We know the Royals aren't bad. We just don't know yet how good they can be.
Engel: C minus. It's close to incomplete. The Royals lost their star closer, their franchise catcher, the player they thought would be their everyday center fielder, each of the players they thought would be playing at second base, and their best young starter within the first month of the season. That they aren't buried is encouraging. That they're playing better now with players returning from injury is very encouraging.