Kansas City Royals Roster in 2013: State Of The Union
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Friday, January, 11/2013Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern): Follow @ryandana1
The Kansas City Royals have been notorious bottom dwellers of the American League Central for years now. Their last and only World Series title came in 1985, and since then they haven’t even made a playoff appearance. After the ’93 season – the Royals moved from the AL West to the AL Central, and have only finished with 80 or more wins once.
The 2013 Royals shouldn’t let this dismal past hold them back though. The 2013 Royals should be better than the 2012 team which finished a somewhat respectable 3rd in their division, and the team of 2013 has the potential to be the best team the Royals have had in the past 20 years. There are a lot of variables that could make or break this Royals season, so you might not want to mark them down for a World Series appearance just yet, but making the playoffs with a winnable Central Division, and two wild card spots up for grabs might be within Kansas City’s reach.
2012 Kansas City Royals Highlights and Pictures
Looking at the Royals, they have one major challenge in the Central – and that is the Detroit Tigers. The boys from Motown have have been perennial contenders in the division for the last several years because of a good pitching rotation with a true ace. The Royals may not have matched them for talent just – with the moves they made this offseason, but they’re a lot closer to that model now than they were this time last year. In December, the Royals went out and got a legitimate #1 starter in James Shields in a trade with the Rays that sent top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi amongst others to Tampa. The Royals also got Wade Davis in the deal. Shields has logged at least 200 IP each year since ’07, and in an incredible ’11 campaign he even had 11 Complete Games (4 Shutouts) and a 2.82 ERA – which was good enough for 3rd in the Cy Young race. After Shields in the rotation comes Jeremy Guthrie – who the Royals re-signed to a 3 YR/25 Million Dollar Deal this offseason, and Ervin Santana – whom the Royals snagged from the Angels on the cheap, when the Angels were trying to dump his $12 Million Contract for whatever they could get in return. Wade Davis, who had success as a reliever in 2012, will likely be converted back into a starter for the Royals in 2013.
This will be nothing new for Davis as he was a starter in Tampa the ’10 and ’11 seasons – experiencing a fair amount of success in the role. The last starter will likely be Bruce Chen, although Luke Hochevar is still in the mix for a spot as of now. Both Chen and Hochevar have been reportedly shopped by the Royals, so that is something to keep an eye on. Overall, The Royals will have a formidable rotation from top to bottom.
Continuing the pitching theme, the Royals don’t have the best bullpen, but it could be worse too. Greg Holland was their closer after they dealt Jonathan Broxton to the Reds at the trade deadline last year. Holland proved to be a serviceable closer, not too surprising as he has been a top reliever for the year and a half prior to getting a chance to close. To accompany Holland in the pen, Kelvin Herrera had a really good year in 2012. Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, and Louis Coleman all had solid years last year in relief as well. The Royals bullpen could use some reinforcements, but then again so could most bullpens. The Royals will probably try to make do with what they have, but depending on where they sit come Trade Deadline time, they too might be in line for some bullpen help like the rest of the contenders (if they too are still in contention).
While the rotation has been much improved through outside sources this offseason in Kansas City, and the bullpen has stayed put, the lineup is hoping to be improved by means within the organization. The Royals don’t really need to go out and add position players; they just need their current position players to develop into what they are capable of. Their lineup going into 2013 will be young, but could be formidable.
Luckily, the Royals should be able to count on their two best hitters, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, to turn in good performances once again. Gordon hit .294/.368/.455 with 14 HR and 72 RBI – while winning a Gold Glove in Left Field for the second straight year. Butler hit .313/.373/.510 with 29 HR and 107 RBI from the DH spot. One of the other veterans on the squad is Right Fielder Jeff Francoeur. Francoeur plays a solid Right Field, plus he adds some pop to the back-end of the lineup, although he won’t walk much, but does strikeout a bunch. The last real veteran in the lineup is Second Baseman Chris Getz who is a solid end of the lineup guy, but not a stud in any way. A young stud who may be ready by midseason to take over at Second is Christian Colon. The 2010 top draft pick of the Royals briefly reached AAA in 2012. With a little more seasoning, he could be ready for the show at some point in 2013. He is definitely the long-term plan at Second for the Royals.
The X-Factor for the Royals in 2013 will be the development of their young, but talented position players. This is a list that includes Center Fielder Lorenzo Cain, Shortstop Alcides Escobar, Third Baseman Mike Moustakas, Catcher Salvador Perez, and First Baseman Eric Hosmer. Lorenzo Cain’s 2012 was riddled with 3 leg injuries which allowed him to play in only 61 games for the Royals. In those 61 games – Cain did show the ability to be an everyday Center Fielder in the big leagues, and should only improve on the solid production he was able to put out in the relatively small sample size this past season. Shortstop Alcides Escobar has played the past 3 seasons in the Majors (the first with Milwaukee, the second two with Kansas City) and has increased his offensive production each year, especially this past year. Maybe this is due to increased familiarity of Major League Pitching, and being in a comfortable position as a starter for the same club for two straight years. Even if Escobar’s production plateaus, he would be a very solid regular, but there is still room for him to improve even more, which would be a big bonus for KC.
Mike Moustakas has what it takes to handle the hot corner, and has the potential to be an above average offensive player. He hasn’t put up the production you would expect from a former 2nd overall draft pick even in the Minors, but he does sort of resemble a former Royals Third Baseman that now plays Left Field for them in Alex Gordon. Gordon was a highly touted prospect as well and struggled to put all his potential together for his first four seasons, but then in 2011 seemed to finally “get it.” The Royals are hoping it doesn’t take Moustakas another two years, but they will live with the growing pains of being an everyday Major Leaguer that Moustakas is going through. If this is the year Moustakas breaks through, it will be an incredible lift to the Royals lineup.
It seems like Kansas City is just stacked with extremely talented young players, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re always drafting near the top. Eric Hosmer is one of those guys, and like Moustakas, if Hosmer could finally put it all together at the plate and produce the numbers he’s capable of, it would be the kind of lift the Royals need to make a postseason push. Hosmer played well in his rookie campaign in 2011, but regressed in 2012. Maybe it was just a sophomore slump for the Frist Baseman, but even still, Hosmer is capable of much more than his solid rookie campaign and his forgettable past season. The Royals are really counting on him to bounce back from a bad season, and I think you have to believe he will. The real question isn’t about whether he will be better than he was in 2012, but the question is, how much better will he be?
The last of the young players to talk about could potentially be the best. Salvador Perez is the type of Catcher that teams salivate over. He can certainly handle himself behind the plate, but up at the dish, he is a special. The young Venezuelan product had injury troubles of his own in 2012, but in the 76 games he did play for the Royals, he played well. He will need to learn to be more patient at the plate, but he can flat-out hit the ball, and with power.
The Royals have a young, well-rounded roster, and still have the pieces in their farm system to get reinforcements if needed. At the top of their farm system is some near MLB ready pitching that they could harvest if needed in 2013, although I don’t know how impactful they would be, but maybe better used in a trade. It will prove useful beyond 2013 for sure though. Young teams generally don’t have a lot of success, but I think this Royals team is different. Never have I seen a team that is still in the rebuilding phase, although the Royals are pretty far into this phase at this point, with so much talent. The Royals outlook on 2013 is probably in hopes of making a playoff spot, which is feasible. They finished 3rd in the AL Central last year, and I think they have a real shot at leapfrogging the White Sox and jumping into 2nd and a possible Wild Card spot. The Tigers will once again be a strong team, and should be able to take the division, but other than that, the Royals may finally get their chance to feast on some bottom dwellers rather than be the ones being feasted on for once.
Potential Royals Rotation: J. Shields, J. Guthrie, E. Santana, W. Davis, B. Chen
Potential Royals Lineup: (8) L. Cain, (6) A. Escobar, (7) A. Gordon, (DH) B. Butler, (5) M. Moustakas, (2) S. Perez, (3) E. Hosmer, (9) J. Francoeur, (4) C. Getz
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Welcome to our newest Baseball Intern: Ryan Dana:
Ryan Dana is junior studying physical education with a concentration in coaching at Bridgewater State University. He has been playing baseball since he was 7 and coaching since he was 14. Ryan wants to be a college baseball coach once he graduates. Ryan is, and always will be, a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. Secondary to baseball, he is a big health and fitness enthusiast. You can find Ryan on Twitter. Follow @ryandana1
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Posted on January 11, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1985 World Series, @ryandana1 on twitter, aaron crow, al central, alcides escobar, alex gordon, angels, billy butler, bruce chen, chris getz, christian colon, cy young, eric hosmer, ervin santana, greg holland, jake odirizzi, james shields, jeff francoeur, Jeremy guthrie, jonathan broxton, Kansas city, kansas city royals, kelvin herrera, lorenzo cain, louis coleman, luke hochevar, mike moustakas, ryan dana, salvador perez, tampa bay rays, tigers, tim collins, wade davis, wil myers. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.