by John Viril—
In this article I will look at Kansas City Royals players that I think are most likely to exceed prior levels of performance and provide more value than most fans and pundits expect.
In 2005, John Dewan published an interesting study that indicated that hitters who exceeded their career slugging percentage by more than .200 points during spring training showed a strong correlation with subsequent strong performance during the regular season. Applying this result as our first filter for finding breakout players among Royals hitters gives us four candidates:
1) 3B Mike Moustakas—Moustakas bashed 8 doubles and 5 home runs in 75 PA this spring. He slugged .718, which is well above his career mark of .395 compiled in 979 plate appearances during his first two seasons. Moustakas faced strong competition this spring. The pitches he faced rated a strong 9.2 in Baseball-reference.com’s new Opponent Quality metric (where 10 is considered Major League competition, 8 is AAA, and ...