For roughly the past year, much has been made of walking (or a complete lack thereof) in the Royal Kingdom. In case you just crawled out from under a rock, the Royals were a bit deficient in the On-Base Percentage Department. They had the fourth-worst OBP in baseball last year--better than only Oakland, Seattle, and San Diego. All the talk coming from Moore's office was that Kansas City needed to commit itself to working counts, drawing walks, getting on base. Moore went so far as to nab Kevin Seitzer to be their hitting coach.
Then, they went off and acquired Mike Jacobs (he of the .299 OBP in 2008) and Coco Crisp--a career .331 OBP man--who was then expected to bat leadoff.
Now, I generally like to be largely dismissive of Spring Training numbers, but as I peruse the league leaders in bases on balls, I see one Covelli Crisp with exactly three names sitting above his on the Spring leaders in walks. In 82 plate appearances, Crisp has worked his way on base 14 times via the walk.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Mike Jacobs (who to be fair was very unlucky in 2008 in terms of BABIP when comparing it to both the Hardball Times' revised xBABIP figures release a few months back or simply in comparison to his career figures in that area) has drawn nine walks, which ties him for 29th in baseball this spring. This is the same Mike Jacobs who put up a shocking 36 walks in 513 PAs last season.
To be sure, both Crisp and Jacobs have faced their share of non-ML-ready pitchers, but the increased shows of patience have to be encouraging, especially after Jacobs assertion that as a power-hitter, his job was to put the ball in play, hard. Maybe this trend does not continue, but one can hope this signals a sea change in K.C.