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Kansas City Royals 2021 Outlook


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I've been following the AL Central pretty heavily the past couple seasons, investing in Indians, ChiSox, and the occasional Twinkie.  I want to lay out some reasons I think the Royals are going to compete this season.

On the hitting side, like author Michael Lewis explains in Moneyball, sabermetric analysis shows that a hitters on-base percentage is the key indicator of runs created.  The Royals went and got two low flying obp assets in the offseason in Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi.  Santanas batting average was an atrocious .199 last season, but he showed crazy patience at the plate accumulating a .349 obp.

Benintendi has been written off by a majority of people because his speed has decreased and he's been a bust since the 2018 cheating year, but I have always been a believer in his batting eye.  Dan Shaughnessy reported that people around Boston said he never liked the pressure and atmosphere there, and that it would not be surprising if going back to his Midwest roots makes a substantial difference.

Add them to a lineup with Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Salvador Perez and Alberto Mondesi, and there is the potential to be very much improved from last season.  Michael Taylor in center is going to improve the defense and add some speed. 

Another thing is, the signing yesterday to a one year deal of Jarrod Dyson , the heart and soul of the last good Royals teams, is Dayton Moore and Mike Matheny's message to the rest of the team that they feel they can get it done this year.

 

Secondly, with the announcement that MLB is going to a "less juiced" ball, most people are saying it's going to be a good season for pitchers.  The Royals don't have a Beiber or Giolito, but in Danny Duffy, Brad Keller, Mike Minor, Kris Bubic, Brady Singer, and Jake Junis, they have maybe the best 6 man rotation in their division.  When it comes to their bullpen, they aren't near the White Sox and will be relying on aging former studs Greg Holland and Wade Davis, along with some guys who performed well last season; Jesse Hahn, Scott Barlow, and Josh Staumont.

 

Now for a quick look at their competition: 

The heavily favored White Sox, who haven't won a division crown since 2008, skippered by drunken skeletor Tony Larusso.

The Minnesota Twins.  They've won the last two titles but are 0-5 in the postseason.  They're talented, but will old men Donaldson, Cruz, and Maeda maintain their dominance?  Will Pineda, Happ, and Shoemaker defy their histories and stay healthy?

The Cleveland Baseball Team.  I envision that losing Santana, Clevinger and their identity will make this season a difficult one, even for as good manager like Tito.

Detroit Tigers.

 

 In summation, after drinking some homespun kool-aid, I see a team that can compete in their division this year.  I don't think 15-1 odds are unreasonable.  That's why I'm putting some change on them to win the central at their current Vegas rate of 40-1.  Anyone with me?

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I love this kind of post.  Going out on a limb and really thinking outside the box.

KC definitely improved in the off-season and won’t throw out Alex gordon out there.

biggest problem for them is easily their rotation.  Brad Keller is their “ace” but has a terrible k/bb ratio.  Rest of the rotation is unreliable at best.  Tigers suck but do have some interesting young pitchers who could improve. The other teams in their division simply have better starting pitching.

Edited by KingJoffrey
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Kansas City has a really poor pitching staff.  Don't see them making  the playoffs.  Especially since the playoffs aren't "expanded" like they were last year.  Think it will come down to Minnesota vs Chicago vs Cleveland again.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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On 3/8/2021 at 1:04 AM, The Big Bat Theory said:

Kansas City has a really poor pitching staff.  Don't see them making  the playoffs.  Especially since the playoffs aren't "expanded" like they were last year.  Think it will come down to Minnesota vs Chicago vs Cleveland again.

I wouldnt go that far. Minor, Keller and Singer are all solid.  And among Carlos Hernandez, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, and Asa Lacy, at least one should pop this season.  

 

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8 minutes ago, Magoo said:

I wouldnt go that far. Minor, Keller and Singer are all solid.  And among Carlos Hernandez, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, and Asa Lacy, at least one should pop this season.  

 

The problem is those three and Duffy are KC's top four SPs, and none of them should be anything more than a 4th or 5th starter. 

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And Benintendi according to some people went HR happy at some point.  Not that he can't get his act together, but his environment has very little to do with his issues imo.  It is likely more about his skills and approach to hitting.

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24 minutes ago, secretagentman said:

And Benintendi according to some people went HR happy at some point.  Not that he can't get his act together, but his environment has very little to do with his issues imo.  It is likely more about his skills and approach to hitting.

I think there was pressure on him to become a HR hitter in Boston because that's what he was at Arkansas, so maybe he pressed more to become that. Just a guess. I agree with you in that his issues had more to do with his approach than his environment, but perhaps a change of venue can help. Fresh start, fresh eyes. One thing @turner46 mentioned in the Benintendi thread is that perhaps Cora's cheating messed with his approach to hitting. And if that's the case, then maybe getting out of Boston to a low-pressure situation is just what he needed. I think if he can hit .275+ this year and hit 10-12 HR and steal 10-12 bases with 30-35 DBs and a .350+ OBP, this season will be a win for Benintendi. 

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1 hour ago, Flyman75 said:

I think there was pressure on him to become a HR hitter in Boston because that's what he was at Arkansas, so maybe he pressed more to become that. Just a guess. I agree with you in that his issues had more to do with his approach than his environment, but perhaps a change of venue can help. Fresh start, fresh eyes. One thing @turner46 mentioned in the Benintendi thread is that perhaps Cora's cheating messed with his approach to hitting. And if that's the case, then maybe getting out of Boston to a low-pressure situation is just what he needed. I think if he can hit .275+ this year and hit 10-12 HR and steal 10-12 bases with 30-35 DBs and a .350+ OBP, this season will be a win for Benintendi. 

Maybe, but history says most players changing venues still end up being what they are unless the switch comes with a change in approach\thinking which has less to do with pressure venue and more to do with coaching and team management enforcing of some sort of philosophy\approach.  O'neill when he went from Cincy to the Yanks as an example of where it worked.  And Teixeria an opposite example of a hitter that regressed when he went HR happy in NY.  Maybe Benintendi goes to being more of a use all fields\contact hitter, but in this day and age, once they go HR happy, they usually do not get away from it.

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2 hours ago, Magoo said:

I wouldnt go that far. Minor, Keller and Singer are all solid.  And among Carlos Hernandez, Jackson Kowar, Daniel Lynch, and Asa Lacy, at least one should pop this season. 

Asa Lacy was only drafted last year and got little work because of covid shutting down the minors.  I seriously doubt he will be until 2022 at THE very earliest and only if KC rushes him.

Also "solid" pitchers can't compare to Cleveland's arsenal of arms or the ace a Chicago or Minnesota can trot out.  And Detroit has a trio of exciting young arms on the horizon to checkmate Lynch and Asa.  Nope.  KC's rotation may not be able to compete with Detroit's soon let alone the other three superior pitching staffs.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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14 minutes ago, secretagentman said:

Maybe, but history says most players changing venues still end up being what they are unless the switch comes with a change in approach\thinking which has less to do with pressure venue and more to do with coaching and team management enforcing of some sort of philosophy\approach.  O'neill when he went from Cincy to the Yanks as an example of where it worked.  And Teixeria an opposite example of a hitter that regressed when he went HR happy in NY.  Maybe Benintendi goes to being more of a use all fields\contact hitter, but in this day and age, once they go HR happy, they usually do not get away from it.

I can see either scenario playing out, which is why I'm fading him. But as a player and a feel-good story, I'm hoping the KC staff can bring him back to what he was doing prior to 2018 (if it's an approach issue) and correct whatever it is that's gone wrong since then. And maybe getting away from Boston and working with a new staff will do that...or maybe he's just too far gone now. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I as big a Royals homer as you can find. But even I think their pitching is the weakest in the division. Cant see them seriously competing this season. 

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  • 2 months later...

 

Kansas City has struggled to develop their young starting pitchers when called up to the big leagues.   Not uncommon for prospects to take time to develop but surprised at all of them being bad out of the gate.     Not sure what to make of their prospects going forward but I was high on some of them before the season.

Asa Lacy started in AA and has a rough start to his career.    Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar were pitching well in the minors and got bombed in their starts in the bigs.  Brady Singer, Brad Keller and Kris Bubic have not been good either.   I'm not sure who has the biggest upside at the moment but I'm beginning to sour on all of them.

 

 

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