Home runs make the difference for Royals

Home runs make the difference for Royals

Published Aug. 14, 2012 8:32 p.m. ET

The Royals' recent power surge – eight homers over four games in Baltimore – probably has fans wondering what it would be like to root for a team that actually hit homers all the time.

The Royals have never really been that kind of team. For most of their existence, the Royals have been at or near the bottom of the league in home runs each season.

And this season is no different. No team has hit fewer home runs than the Royals, who have 99.

But it doesn't have to be that way, according to manager Ned Yost, even though the Royals play in spacious Kauffman Stadium.

"I'm not blaming the ballpark (anymore)," Yost said. "Look, other teams come in here and hit home runs.

"Our guys are more than capable. They have the skill set. They have the talent. They are capable."

Obviously, it would be a huge plus for the Royals' spotty attack if they could, on occasion, provide more instant offense.

And that, historically, has translated into wins for the Royals.

Consider this:

• The last time the Royals finished in the top 10 in the league in homers was in 2003 when the Royals were seventh with 162. That was also the last time the Royals had a winning record (83-79).

• The Royals' prior top-10 finish in homers to that was in 1985 when the Royals finished eighth with 154 homers. We all know what 1985 represents: The one and only Royals' World Series title.

• And the Royals' best finish ever in league home-run rankings came in 1977 when the Royals were sixth with 146 homers. That 1977 team was considered by many Royals observers to be perhaps the best in franchise history. The '77 team went 102-60 before losing to the Yankees in the league championship series.

More homers apparently means great things for the Royals, which shouldn't come as a huge surprise. And Yost said he certainly isn't surprised by the 2012 team's recent surge.

"Not at all," he said. "There are plenty of guys on this team who can do that.

"Billy (Butler) is a guy who can hit 25-30. Eric Hosmer is a guy who can 25-30. Moose (Mike Moustakas can hit 25. Sal Perez can hit 25. (Lorenzo) Cain can hit 20-25.

"The ability is there."

Yost, though, cautioned that he would prefer his players not try to launch the ball.

"You have to be a special type of home-run hitter to do that," Yost said. "I remember a great story from Frank Howard about that. He asked me one time if I thought I could hit 30 homers a year without trying. Well, I looked at him and said, 'No, I don't think I could.'

"Then he said 'Well, stop trying, then! You're not a home-run hitter.' In other words, the real home-run hitters can do it without trying. I always tried to hit home runs. That's why I hit .250 or .240 or whatever I hit."

Yost, though, reiterated the power potential of this nucleus of Royals players.

"Some guys have to grow into it," Yost said. "And it can be just a matter of players getting more comfortable with the league. These are all young guys who can definitely grow into that."

And that could make a huge difference for a Royals' team trying to be a contender again.