Sunday 12 February 2012

2012 Previews: Kansas City Royals

The Royals and the Jays are kind of interchangeable in this lineup, since both aren't good enough to win their division, both are real young, both have excellent farm systems (though the Royals have graduated a lot of talent in the last two years), and both are going to get good soon, and for a while.

The Majors
This club is kind of tough to project, mostly because they're so young.  Even if the young talent produces, the pitching staff is a giant question mark.  Basically, they aren't going to be good enough to beat the Tigers this year, but they have enough prospect depth that once they are ready, the pitchers should be developed.  There is a ton of talent in this system, and they should be good soon.

Hosmer, Giavotella, Moustakas and Escobar join guys like Billy Butler and Frenchy in what should be a pretty exciting team to watch.  Everything depends on the pitching.  Danny Duffy should be a stud by the time he matures, and Dayton Moore has enough prospect depth and salary flexibility that he should be able to go find some useful pitchers by that time.

The Minors
Bubba Starling is probably going to be a beast whenever he makes it to the show, as will Mike Montgomery, and Wil Myers and Salvador Perez are sure to provide plenty of value as well.  Again, I worry about their pitching going forward, but there is so much talent in this minor league system that there ought to be enough surplus to go find something moving forward if they can't develop it on their own.

This was considered to be one of the best farm systems in the history of baseball at the beginning of last year, before the promotions, so there's obviously still a crap-ton of depth there, which is why I compared them to the Jays.  The easier division puts them in a better spot to win sooner than the Jays, but I don't see a wide gap, since the Jays are so much better in terms of MLB talent.

The Verdict

Again, I find it tough to project this team.  They're so young, and they're going to give all their kids playing time over established replacement-level-ish guys, so they could be as good as they were last year, they could be better, or they could be way worse if nobody adjusts properly to the majors.  I don't think they're going to surprise anybody with a playoff run or anything, but I doubt that's really the goal this year.

I really think that they're going to call this more of a transitional year, with plan of ensuring that everybody transitions well to the majors, and anyone who doesn't can be sent back to the minors, allowing Yuniesky Betancourt or Chris Getz or Mitch Maier to hold their places.  2013 should be the start of the real process, much like the Bluejays, though that really hinges on acquiring or developing starting pitching.

Ultimately, I think this is the team that has the most volatility; all of these young guys could rake, or they could all stink.  Alex Gordon is due to regress, as is Bruce Chen.  We don't really know how much time Yuniesky Betancourt is going to play, and thus, cost the team.  I don't think it really matters a whole lot, as long as they get their guys some reps and let them develop.

Projection: 75-87, 3rd in the AL Central

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