Kansas City Royals 2015 Season Preview
Odds To Win Division: +450
Odds To Win AL Pennant: 14/1
Odds To Win World Series: 28/1
Regular Season Win Total: 79.5
Most Significant Offseason Changes
Alex Rios, RF
Kendrys Morales, 1B
Kris Medlen, SP
Chris Young, SP
Edinson Volquez, SP
James Shield, SP
Billy Bulter, 1B/DH
Scott Downs, RP
Nori Aoki, LF
They’ll Be Successful If…
The Royals have one of the fastest lineups in the league, and make great contact with pitches. The manager of the Royals will need to continue to find ways to win. The Royals lineup is one of fastest and trickiest in the league. In 2015 the Royals ranked 4th in battling average, and lead the MLB in steals. With a great combination of contact hitting and base-running, the Royals keep pitchers on their heels with the threat of a steal. With their superb speed, they can manufacture runs in important situations. Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson combined for 95 steals in 2014, while 14 organizations failed to record that many as a team. Left Fielder Alex Gordon will need to have another balanced batting season (lead team with 19 home runs, 65 walks and 74 RBIs) and continue his excellent defensive play for the team to succeed. Ned Yost deserves much of the credit for the team’s success in 2014. Yost implemented a tactful and unique plan to highlight the Royals strengths and cover up their weaknesses. He will need a sharp mind and a watchful eye this season for the team to come close to replicating their 2014 season.
They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…
With James Shields signing with the San Diego Padres, the Royals no longer have a proven number one pitcher. The lineup for the Royals lacks any discernible home run power. After taking the Royals to the World Series, James Shield moved from the heartland of American, to the Gold Coast of California. With his departure, the Royals are left without a true and experienced number one pitcher. Yordano Ventura is a very talented young pitcher (23 years old, 14 wins and an ERA of 3.20 in 2014), it will be difficult for him to fill Shields’ spot at the top. The offseason additions, though quality, are either recovering from surgery (Kris Medlen is not expected to pitched until, at earliest, July) or were signed as a number 3 spot pitcher (Edinson Volquez). The lack of a proven, innings-eating ace will cause the Royals to take a step back in 2015. The Royals ranked dead last in the home runs last season, and were the only team in the Majors that failed to reach the 100 team homers. Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales both have some power, but are passed their primes. It would be surprising if either hits over 20 home runs in 2015. Without a power bat in their lineup, the Royals will continue to be reliant on a strategy that has failed more times than succeeded.
Fantasy Bargain: Alcides Escobar, SS
Escobar is an undervalued Shortstop entering the 2015 fantasy season. Coming off his second 30+ double, 30+ steal season in three years, Escobar should duplicate those numbers in 2015. Though he may not have the upside of a Troy Tulowitzki or a Jose Reyes, he has a much lower risk of injury and rarely has an off-day (he played in all 162 game last season).
After snapping a 28-year playoff drought and making the World Series in 2014, the Royals will return to watching baseball at home in October, not playing it. Even though they were successful in 2014 without relying on the long ball, the trend will catch up on the Royals and they will stumble through 2015.
Prediction: 4th In AL Central
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