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The Majors' Hardest Team to Strikeout, and Some Other Thoughts

Yup, the Royals are currently flashing the second-best batting average in the majors at .280, just a single point behind the scorching hot Texas Rangers. I'm guessing that Dayton Moore considers his offense a relative success, but they're firmly middle-of-the-pack due to the fact that making contact seems to be their primary discernible skill. They've had some handy luck with BABIP, as they sit at .311 as a team, but really only a couple players have benefitted from this good luck.

DeJesus: +13.4 RAA, .357 BABIP

Butler: +12.3 RAA, .346 BABIP

Guillen: +7.8 RAA, .320 BABIP

Betemit: +5.0 RAA, .600 BABIP (that's not a typo, he actually has a .600 BABIP in his first 20 PA)

Every single other hitter they have has been below average, and only Mike Aviles and Scott Podsednik have similarly been aided by good luck on balls in play. As a team, the Royals have the second-lowest walk rate in baseball ahead of only the Astros, and they are in the bottom ten in the game in isolated power as well. They have the highest contact rate in the majors at 85.6%, as well as the lowest whiff rate in the game as well. Put it all together, and you have the most difficult team to strike out in the game. The Royals have built an offense that is quite adept at making contact and avoiding strikeouts. The problem is that it's not particularly good at scoring runs. Somebody should call Alex Gordon and Kila Ka'aihue.

- Something is nagging Matt Wieters

For all the talk about Baltimore's awful start, I'm surprised that we haven't heard more about Wieters' struggles. He started off okay, batting a hollow .280 in April, but his numbers took a big dip in May, and they've taken another sizable dip again in June.

His current line for the month? .169/.239/.308, good for a .241 wOBA. Yeah, we all know about the sample size issues with this kind of data, and his .188 BABIP on the month does somewhat explain the awfulness of his statistical line. But at the same time, his line drive rate for June is currently sitting at 10.2%, which isn't exactly going to lend to a high number of balls in play landing for hits. I don't know if Wieters is hurt, or if he's merely going through a tough stretch.

But this guy was heralded as the game's next great catcher coming into the season, but he's already played in exactly 162 games, and he's put up a .264/.324/.383 line and 2.2 WAR. Solid, but not what we expected from someone who became a walking hyperbole.

- With bad news, there often comes good news

Well, I didn't mean to make Orioles fans feel too bad, so I thought that I would bring up something positive, too: Adam Jones is heating up. The K/BB ratio is still ugly at 3/22 for the month, but he's currently sporting a .318/.348/.553 line in June, more than doubling his home run count from 5 at the start of the month to 11 as of this afternoon. He won't maintain BABIP or HR/FB marks like the ones he has in June, but hopefully he can build on this and re-establish himself as an elite young center fielder.

- Troy Glaus is tied for second in the NL in RBI's. Seriously.

At the end of April, Glaus looked totally done. He had a .283 wOBA and just 2 home runs in 23 games. The Braves' offense was being held up by Jason Heyward's miraculous efforts, while Glaus was dragging down the middle of the order with strikeouts and weak contact. But then something happened. I don't know what, exactly, but I suppose that Glaus remembered that he's been a pretty damn good power hitter in the past. 

Since May 1, a total of 51 games, Glaus has been scorching. He's put up a .299/.394/.549 line with 12 home runs and 46 RBI, vaulting himself to the top of the leaderboards. In April, he had trouble getting the ball into the air, but he's risen his fly ball rate from 33% in April to about 47% in May/June. When you're capable of hitting the ball as far as Glaus, hitting the ball into the air is generally a good thing. Glaus clearly made some impressive adjustments after the season's first month.