Friday, October 30, 2015

Alcides Escobar Flips Switch

Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals appears to be taking the next step in his career by elevating his play during the 2015 Playoffs. He is following the path blazed by Lorenzo Cain in 2014 when he emerged as a budding super star. Escobar has found his comfort zone in the lead off spot and his aggressive approach helped propel the team into the World Series. 

The talented shortstop spent the majority of 2014 batting ninth but after initial success started to struggle as he went 56 for 203, .243/.272/.335 with 1 HR, 20 RBI, 23 R, 7 SB. Moving to the eighth spot produced much better results as he hit 59 for 179, .330/.366/.425 with 1 HR, 23 RBI, 30 R, 15 SB. Although it was a much smaller sample size his greatest success was in the lead off spot hitting 25 for 69, .362/.397/.478 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 9 R, 1 SB. That success prompted a more permanent move up top in 2015.

The production in the top spot slipped for Escobar slipped during the 2015 regular season as he went 142 for 549, .259/.296/.322 with 3 HR, 42 RBI, 74 R, 16 SB. Yet when the Royals reached the playoffs he took it up a notch in the Division Series against the Houston Astros hitting 6 for 21, .286/.318/.429 with 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 R, 0 SB. The flip switched in the Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays as he hit 11 for 23, .478/.481/.652 with 0 HR, 5 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB to earn the ALCS MVP. Now the Royals are in the World Series with a 2-0 lead over the New York Mets and Escobar has gone 3 for 11 or .273 with an inside the park home run to his credit. The team heads east to New York as he will set the table for a line up that has wholly bought into the teachings of hitting coach Dale Sveum. 

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