Kansas City are coming off back-to-back winning seasons. They are trending in the right direction. They aren’t a prime free agent destination, but did manage to lure a few former All-Stars to the team in the offseason.
The Royals core group of players are still quite young. It seems they are older than what they are since we’ve been talking about them from the time Kansas City drafted them. They have relied heavily on their farm system.
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Kansas City Royals.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 89-73
Key Additions: OF Alex Rios, SP Kris Medlen, DH Kendrys Morales, SP Edinson Volquez, SP Yohan Pino, RP Brian Flynn, SP Joe Blanton, RP Ryan Madson, 1B Casey Kotchman, RP Franklin Morales & 3B Ryan Roberts
Key Losses: SP James Shields, DH Billy Butler, OF Norichika Aoki, RP Aaron Crow, OF Josh Willingham, RP Francisley Bueno, C Brett Hayes, OF Justin Maxwell, 2B Pedro Ciriaco & Raul Ibanez
Interleague Schedule: NL Central
Projected Starters: Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Omar Infante, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Rios & Kendrys Morales
Projected Starting Rotation: Yordano Ventura, Kris Medlen, Jason Vargas, Edinson Volquez & Danny Duffy
Closer: Greg Holland
Fantasy Sleeper: 3B Mike Moustakas – Moustakas had a weird season in 2014. He was a monster in Spring Training, but didn’t stay hot once the regular season started. He struggled so much the Royals demoted him to Triple-A. He was serviceable there and called him up again. He still wasn’t lighting the Majors on fire, but was a hero for the Royals in the postseason. Which Moustakas will show up this season? He’s worth a late-round pick just in case the postseason Moustakas shows up during the regular season.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Kyle Zimmer – Zimmer had issues with his latissmus dorsi in his back and then suffered a shoulder injury that needed offseason surgery to fix. He ended the 2013 season in Double-A and could need some innings at a lower level before Kansas City thinks about what to do with him this season. He was someone the Royals wanted to push through the system to the Majors, but they will probably take their time with him now. He’s someone to keep an eye on for 2016.
Team Analysis: The Royals shocked the world when they made it to the World Series last season. They ended a long postseason drought and made the most of their season.
The Royals couldn’t afford to re-sign ace James Shields. They knew that when they acquired him from Tampa Bay. They are hoping the additions of Kris Medlen and Edinson Volquez will help minimize the loss of Shields. They also added Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales in hopes of returning to the postseason.
Kansas City had a great season in spite of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Ned Yost. Hosmer and Moustakas are former top prospects, but haven’t lived up to the hype. Both have spent time in the minors after slow starts. If you mention Ned Yost’s name in front of a sabermetrician, you can physically see his hair turn grey. They can’t even explain why the things he did in the postseason worked so well.
The Royals need everything to fall into place again to repeat last year’s success. That kind of luck barely happens in back-to-back seasons. I’m not saying they were just lucky, but every team needs a little luck during a long baseball season. I predict a regression, but they will be fine long-term. It will just be a bump in the road.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 79.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 81-81 (3rd AL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.