2008 MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals

Explanation of ratings system and other team previews here

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Ranks

Overall – 64 points (28th MLB, 12th AL)
Starting Rotation – 26 points (24th MLB, 11th AL)
Line-Up – 25 points (30th MLB, 14th AL)
Bench/Bullpen/Defense – 13 points (T-23rd MLB, T-13th AL)

Offseason Additions – Jose Guillen, Ron Mahay, Yasuhiko Yabuta, Brett Tomko
Offseason Subtractions – Emil Brown, David Riske

Biggest Strength– GM, Dayton Moore

The Royals have no chance this year, and have been one of, if not the, worst franchises in the MLB for the past decade. In 2006, Moore left the Braves, where he was a very close confidant of John Schuerholz, to become the GM of the Royals. At the time, Moore was considered one of the best evaulators of talent in the league and was high on the Red Sox list of people of succeed Theo Epstein when he quit for a couple months. Everything I’ve read about Moore says that, while it may take a good while, he can return this club to where they were in the 80’s. It will take several solid drafts to do so, but the first steps are being taken.

Biggest Weakness– Starting Rotation

The Royals actually should have a decent bullpen this year, but it’s unlikely they will be taking the ball with the lead very often. Gil Meche had a surpringly good year last year, and some expect Zach Greinke to make a full comeback this year, but after that, it’s up in the air. In the 4-5 spots in their rotation, names are being thrown around like Kyle Davis, Brandon Duckworth, and even, I’m not even kidding, Hideo Nomo. Once you get past 1-2 in their rotation, they aren’t going to be winning a lot of games.

Key Player(s) in ’08– Alex Gordon and Billy Butler

They are not the keys to the success of the Royals this year, because “success” and “Royals” aren’t happening together this year. Rather, these two players are key to the mental well-being of the fan base. They are to the Royals what Utley and Howard were to the Phillies and Reyes and Wright were to the Mets. They are 2 extremely talented young players, who could either be the start of a core of a playoff-caliber team, or 2 hot prospects who fizzled in the majors. The 21-year old power hitting Butler (pictured above) tore his way through the minors leagues and made an impact on the club last year, with 52 RBI in just 329 ABs. Gordon, 24, was heralded as the next George Brett in spring training last year, but failed to impress under the pressure in the regular season hitting .247 with 15 HR and 60 RBI. Big years out of these two players will give Royals fans the only thing they can cling to right now, hope for the future.

Player to Keep an Eye On– Zach Greinke

Greinke is one of the most interesting stories in baseball. He came up from the minors as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in 2004 and put together a fantastic rookie year, posting a 3.97 ERA in 145 IP, at age 20. The next season, Greinke imploded both physically and mentally. He was one of the worst pitchers in baseball and had a 5.80 ERA. When Spring Training 2006 rolled around, he announced that he was not going to play baseball that year, due to emotional/depression issues that had hampered him the year prior. After seeking, and getting the help he needed, Greinke returned in 2007 to post a solid year (3.69 ERA in 122 IP). This season will be his first full season since his emotional issues began. The now 24 year old right-hander could be poised for a breakout season, and may give the Royals a true ace to go with their 2 young hitters.

Outlook/Prediction– 5th Place, AL Central. The Royals are a prime example of the argument that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees are bad for baseball. They have no way of keeping up with the payrolls that those other teams can muster and unless they draft perfectly, it is nearly impossible to keep pace. In the NFL, a fan of a team like the Royals could be optimistic because the salary cap, schedule adjustments and high-impact draftees give the fans reason for hope every year. With the Royals, this is a fan base that hasn’t had reason to hope for many years now, and its a downward spiral when the revenue stops coming in from ticket sales. Hopefully, Dayton Moore can draft some future stars and the Royals can undergo a turnaround similar to the Tigers of a couple years ago.

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11 Responses

  1. […] Nationals Inquisition wrote an interesting post today and shared it with the world.Here’s a quick excerpt […]

  2. Let’s not go all crazy on the Yankees and Red Sox. Football is certainly the best major league sport and the most successful, so let’s take a look at what their records look like in baseball terms.

    Patriots 16-0 = 162-0
    Dolphines 1-15 = 10-152

    In a really bad 2005 season the Royals won 56 games, that’s equal to a 6-10 season in football. That’s really not terrible. Heck the Eagles were 6-10 the year after their Superbowl run.

    As for not being competitive recently? Cry me a river. In a 2 sport town, KC has a World Series winner with the Royals in 1985. Philly’s been on a dry spell since 1980 and we’ve got twice the chances with 4 majors.

  3. Pete, no comment ?

  4. How the hell can you preview the Royals and berate thier pitiching staff and you didnt even mention Brian Bannister…..you know….the guy who was 3rd in ROY voting?

    Jeeze..you idiot….how can we take you serious?

  5. Randy-

    Bannister is a decent pitcher. But 26 year old rookies with a 3.87 ERA and low strikeout rate don’t really excite me. In my opinion, he benefitted from people seeing him for the first time and isn’t going to be nearly as good this year because too many hitters put the ball in play against him.

    You don’t have to take me seriously, you just read what I have to say and let me know if you disagree.

    also – since you called me an idiot, and also seem to think that finishing 3rd in rookie of the year voting is an AWESOME accomplishment…..here is a short list of other AWESOME players who finished 3rd in ROY voting –

    1. Johnny Gomes, Tampa Bay
    2. Daniel Cabrera, Orioles
    3. Jorge Julio, Orioles
    4. Jay Payton, Mets
    5. Mark Quinn, Royals
    6. Warren Morris, Pirates
    7. Jeff Zimmerman, Rangers
    8. Travis Lee, D-Backs
    9. Mark Caruso, White Sox
    10. Jason Dickson, Angels

  6. Pete, thats a nice fact you have up there, but lets get serious. Most of those guys aren’t pitchers & to pitch in the AL as a rookie and to be the top person on the teams for wins (esp on Royals) Should get recognition in your article. 12 wins is pretty good for any team. Plus Bannister is wrote in as the number 2 guy. Greinke is third, until he proves he’s not mentally unstable Also, do you think Dice-K is gonna have a horrible season this year? Just cause everyone has figured him out?

  7. Here’s my point: Pitchers with low strikeout rates have a much higher chance of getting “figured out” that pitchers with high strikeout rates because it infers that they don’t have great stuff.

    To use an example from my favorite team, so you don’t think I am just picking on the Royals – Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick was great for the Phillies last year as a rookie, with 10 wins and the EXACT same ERA as Banister (3.87). However, he had a VERY low strikeout rate, an indicator that he’s relying a lot on control, defense and luck. I was very worried about him this year, and in Spring Training he has gotten absolutely SHELLED, with an ERA around 11.00.

    Only 9 pitchers pitched 150 + innings last year with a K/9 rate under 4.5. Bannister had the best ERA of the 9 – like I said, probably because he was getting seen for the first time. Is he going to be BAD this year? I don’t think so at all. But I don’t think he will be BETTER than last year, and will probably have an ERA around 4.50.

  8. Wow! I suppose you think losing Emil Brown and Mike Sweeney are just going to be terrible for this team – I mean Brown actually lead the team in RBI – how can they survive. And the Bannister oversight is ridiculous. Fine you may not think he is going to great, but you just can’t ignore him in your supposed ‘evaluation.’ And the biggest weakness being the starting rotation? How about the offense – they draw practically no walks and hit for little to no power. If they had any offense Meche and Bannister would have won 15 games each.

  9. (To the above post)

    I’m confused why a Royals fan would want to split hairs about the team’s biggest weakness. That’s hilarious.

    Also, Pete is not alone on his evaluation (or lack thereof) of Bannister. Bannister is ranked as the #91 SP on Yahoo and #110 on ESPN. So for all you Royals fans, lighten up a little bit, draft him in all your fantasy leagues if he’s got so much potential, and if he does well come back and talk smack in the middle of the summer. However, my feeling is that you’ll never be heard from again.

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