Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire

If you haven’t heard by now, the Royals are doing a lot of things well. They’re 39-27 entering their game with the Yankees tonight. And while you can certainly say that the stars like catcher Salvador Perez and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. have starred, there’s something to be said for group efforts.

I’m referring specifically to second base, which has been manned by four players this season – Michael Massey, Adam Frazier, Nick Loftin, and Garrett Hampson. None entered Monday having played more than 29 games at the position.

Combined, those four players rank 4th in Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Average, which (like WAR) measures player value in all areas but gauges it on the basis of an average player. Last season, Royals second basemen rank 26th in Wins Above Average.

The improvement is part offense, part defense.

Royals Second Basemen

  2023 2024
OPS .676 (21st) .740 (5th)
Defensive Runs Saved -9 (T-27th) 9 (2nd)

Offensively, all but Frazier have hit better than an MLB average second baseman. Defensively, none of them have more than 3 Runs Saved but all four of them have a positive Run Saved number.

For balls hit past the pitcher’s mound, but between first base and second base, the Royals have turned 77% of batted balls into outs. That ranks 5th in MLB. Last year, that percentage was 72% and the Royals ranked 25th. The five percentage-point differential is worth about an extra 15 outs so far this season.


Where this has come into play specifically has been on balls hit to the right of wherever any of these four happened to be playing. They’ve been best in MLB relative to the number of outs they were expected to get.

Royals 2B on Balls Hit To Their Right

Plays Made Attempts Plays Above Avg MLB Rank
61 112 +7 1st

 And what’s cool about that is that we can find an example for each player within the 10 most-valued plays made by the Royals second basemen this season.





To pardon the pun, the Royals have gotten it right with their second basemen this season. In more ways than one.