Kansas City Royals
Key Additions— Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Sanchez
Key Losses——-Melky Cabrera
Lineup—This lineup is full of youngsters. Some have proven to be very good hitters, while others are still trying to prove they belong in the big leagues. Alex Gordon in LF is turning into one of the best young players into the game, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the All Star team this year. He is something special and I hope he will be a Royal for a long time. By dealing Cabrera they opened the door for Lorenzo Cain, who will be given the full time CF job. While he is great defensively, I am not sure if will produce much offense. Jeff Francoeur had a nice bounce back year last year, and is expected to man RF. The infield is young and inexperienced and could go either way. Mike Moustakas will play 3b, and although he got some time last year is expected to get his first full season under his belt. Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz are above average defensively, but lack much offense from the middle. When you factor in Cain in CF, these 2 guys up the middle and the injury to Salvador Perez, they are as light hitting up the middle as anyone. Eric Hosmer should be a good hitter at 1b, and they are really relying on Billy Butler to provide a middle of the order bat from their DH. This lineup is definitely capable of the numbers, and will be fun to see how these young guys develop.
Pitching—As many top prospects as they have in this lineup, you would think they would have at least 1 or 2 in this rotation, but that is not the case. They have really scrapped together this starting rotation. Luke Hochevar will be leading the rotation, although he finished last year with a 4.68 ERA. They re-signed Bruce Chen to be their #2, and considering he pitched in the last game at old Riverfront stadium, that should say a lot about this signing. The acquisition of Sanchez was a solid one. He isn’t as impressive as some of the other pitchers that were moved this year, but will provide stability in the rotation. Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy(great name) will fill the back 2 spots of the rotation. Obviously, the back end of this rotation is not as solid as you would like. The bullpen took a huge hit with the injury to Joakim Soria. Their ability to really shorten games would have been a big key, with set up men Aaron Crowe and Jonathan Broxton. Now they will move one to the closer role and have less depth. With a rotation as young as they have, this injury is a very important loss.
Outlook—Once again, the Royals are being seen in the media as sleeper picks. Last year they were viewed the same way, although I did not buy into it. They may improve this year, mainly because they are no longer the worst team in their division, but I don’t expect them to be too big of factors in the dog days of summer. Yes this team is still building, but until they can build on their pitching, they will struggle to be competitive.