Saturday, March 24, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Days: Kansas City Royals

2011 Record: 71-91

Key Additions: Yuniesky Betancourt, Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Sanchez

Subtractions: Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francis, Aaron Laffey

2012 Outlook: After finishing under .500 every year since 2003, the Royals have a great chance this season to break that streak. With a young nucleus of key players all stating to come up to teh Royals, they will be an exciting team to watch. 2012 may not be the year to make the playoffs, but in 2013 or 2014, the Royals might bring joy back to Kansas City.

The offence has been led by Billy Butler over the past few years, but with the emergence of Eric Hosmer as one of the games best young hitters, that seems to be changing. Hosmer, who finished 3rd in AL ROY voting in 2011, hit 19 homers and drove in 78 runs, and also had a OPS+ of 118, putting him well above the average MLB Player. Remember, he did this in just 123 games,, so average that out in a 162 game season, and you have a 22 year old making $503,000,hitting 25 HRs, and driving in 103 runs. If Hosmer wants to be a premier player in the MLB, he needs to improve his eye, and take more walks. I believe he will be able to do that for two reasons. First, he knows Butler will drive him in if he gets on, and two, he has always had a high OBP in the minors, so that should translate into success int he Majors as well. Alex Gordon will lead off for the Royals, and if he continues to improve, then he should score plenty of runs because of his high OBP, that will likely be near the .400 this season. Jeff Francoeur finally played well again last year, and will need to continue to hit well along with Lorenzo Cain, so they can compliment the top of the lineup with some secondary scoring. When Salvador Perez comes back from surgery in May-June, he will give the Royals some stability behind the plate,and be able to produce offensives and defensively.

To go along with Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar at the top of the rotation, the Royals acquired Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants. Their rotation is lacking a true number one, or even a number two for that matter, but if/when Mike Montgomery makes it to the majors this season, he will provide them with a potential top starting pitcher. He got roughed up last year in AAA, but it was int he PCL, so who doesn't get roughed up. He still struck out almost 8 batters per nine innings, and should be a force in the Royals rotation for years to come. Chen will have to continue his magical season that he had last season, and Sanchez is going to have to return to 2010 form if the Royals want to have a chance of not getting ripped apart in their games this season. They will have to play the Tigers 18 times in 2012, so pitching will be the key to a good finish for KC.

Joakim Soria will miss the entire season because of surgery, so Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland will lead a mediocre bullpen for the Royals.

The Final Count: 81-81, 4th place AL Central

That record could be very generous if the Royals youngsters don't play like they are expected to. The Royals record this season will be based on how the White Sox and Twins perform, as they meet them 18 times each, and if they both have bounce back years, then this could be another long season in Kansas City. We here at Blue Jays Plus have the Twins and White Sox both finishing ahead of the Royals, but it is just by a couple of games, so positions 2-5 in this divison are basically up for grabs.

You can follow me on twitter here, follow Blue Jays Plus here, and Like us on Facebook here.

How do you think the Royals will do this season? Leave your well appreciated comments below!

Note: There was an error when calculating how many wins the staff thought the Twins, Royals, White Sox, and Indians would have. Turns out, the entire AL Central's wins total except for the Tigers was messed up. Full corrections will be posted on March 31st in our full MLB Standings preview.

No comments:

Post a Comment