It's prediction time folks ! As a blogger about the Royals I am obliged to write my prediction of what I think will happen this season so readers can requote me later to tell me what I'm wrong about. So here you go I'm putting my pinky finger on the cutting board with a bucket of ice standing by.
2011 Record 75-87 4th Place
Hitting MVP: Billy Butler .320+ 25 HR 45 2b
Defensive MVP: Alcides Escober
Positional ROY: Mike Moustakas
DH/1b Billy Butler- I believe Butler is in line for his first .900+ OPS season. He's going to prove that the contract extension was a good decision despite splitting time at DH and 1b I think he'll put up a 3.5-4 WAR season. That's not a big improvement in WAR but I think he'll play quite a few games fewer at 1b this season.
1b/DH Kila Ka'aihue- I doubt Kila reaches BP's projections but I do think he'll be better than what KC has seen out of the DH position in the past. Somewhere in that .825-.840 OPS region with 20 HR and better defense than what Billy can provide at 1b. WAR Value 2-2.5
2b Chris Getz- I don't believe in Getz's ability to hit much. I think he'll hit his way out of Kansas City within a couple months posting a sub .600 OPS along the way and making room for Aviles to take over the spot when Moose is ready to come up.
SS Alcides Escobar- Spring training home runs are generally to be ignored but I saw one Escobar hit off the Reds while in Arizona and I came away pretty impressed. It wasn't a windy night or unusually warm but it was a high semi deep home run to left center that a light hitting SS in the TPJ mold wouldn't be able to hit. I'm not expecting Escobar to put up huge offensive numbers in KC but I think he'll put up better numbers than we expect. My guess OPS .750 range with plus plus defense 3-4 WAR.
3B Mike Aviles- Aviles will do what he does hit above .300 and mix in a little pop while moving to 2b when Moose is ready to go. OPS .800 range
Mike Moustakas- I think Mike will get off to a slow start but adjust and hit 10-15 HR's and get people excited for next season. Many in the prospect field are scared of Mike's patience which they should be but what most like is his strength combined with a flat plane swing that stays in the zone a long time that will allow him to hit for a decent average (.275-.300) and also allows him to hit any type of pitch once he's adjusted after seeing it. OPS .775 Range.
Wilson Betemit .750 OPS very limited playing time with Kila and Butler playing well.
Rookies to play this season: Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer(Sept.), Lance Zawadzki(Util when Getz goes down) and Johnny Giavotella(Sept.)
C Jason Kendall/Matt Treanor - More of the same out of the catching position for the Royals. Kendall and Treanor's performance will probably be interchangeable and will play too much and while putting up a sub .600 OPS.
C Brayan Pena - Pena would like the Royals to signa a longterm deal but that's not coming with Salvador on the way. Pena will struggle again at the plate and behind it as he gets sporadic playing time.
LF Alex Gordon- This is the tough one, I've watched Alex for a long time and he's got all the skill in his body to get it done but I don't think he has what it take confidencewise to as he put it "dominate". I think he'll put up numbers similar to what he did as a rookie .725 OPS range with average defense.
CF Melky Cabrerra- I think GMDM is hoping to have Melky get out of the gates fast start so they can flip him similarly to what they did with Scott Podsednik when Lorenzo Cain is ready to go. We'll see how it plays out but I think he'll play below average defense in CF while hitting in the .740 OPS range.
RF Jeff Franceour- Every Non-Royal fan rejoiced at the signing of Frenchy the day it happened and they will be treated to exactly what most expect of him a subpar performance. .700 OPS Range with 15 HRs and better defense than he has played the last couple years due to being leaner.
Lorenzo Cain- Cain will take over for Melky after the trading deadline and provide a similar OPS to Melky but with plus defense.
Mitch Maier .700 OPS Range
Jarrod Dyson .680 OPS range
Rookies to play: Lorenzo Cain, David Lough(Sept)
SP MVP: Luke Hochevar 4.00 ERA Range
BP MVP outside Joakim Soria:
Royals ROY: Mike Montgomery
I picked the record I did because I believe this season will go similarly to the 2008season with the Royals struggling at first but by midseason finding a good rythem with a dominant bullpen leading to a solid 2nd half of the season.
1. Luke Hochevar 4.00 ERA Range I think Luke will step up with improved defense behind him putting together is best season to date. Hoch will be the best starter over the course of the season. WAR 4 range in 185 innings
2. Jeff Francis - I think KC could get a nice stretch out of Francis to start the season while he puts up a similar season to Bruce Chen as last year earning him a ticket out of town at the trade deadline for a team looking for postseason experience. 4.50 ERA Range in about 100-125 innings 1 WAR
3. Kyle Davies - More of the same from Davies, no reason to expect anything different than what he's done over the last couple of seasons. 5.25 ERA around 2 WAR in 180 innings
4. Bruce Chen - Back to life back to reality for Bruce 5.50 ERA Range demoted prior to the All Star Break
5. Vin Mazzaro - 4.75 ERA Range for Vin not what we wanted in return for DDJ. 150-175 innings and
Mike Montgomery- A lefty that hits 97 with a good curve and change up will get into the rotation by the All Star break taking over for Chen. He'll struggle at first as most rookies do but by the end of the season will look like a figurehead at the top of the rotation for a long time. 4.25 ERA Range approx.
Aaron Crow - Struggles at first but settles into the 3rd or 4th best BP guy. By midseason he takes over as the long man and swingman and start to compete for a rotation spot in '12
Nate Adcock - I don't like his chances once the lights kick on. He hasn't missed many bats and reminds me of O'Sullivan.
Sean O'Sullivan - More of the same out of O'Sullivan
Jeremy Jeffress - Fb just a bit too straight to succeed for me.
Tim Collins- the funky lefty will workout just fine for the Royals quickly becoming the regular vs lefties and working into a 7th inning role while taking over as the 8th inning guy for Tejeda when he is traded.
Robinson Tejeda - Hard to see Tejeda not matching what he has done each of his last two seasons. McClure has been able to right the ship everytime he has any falters. I do think this is the season the Royals trade him at the deadline though perhaps a Tejeda and one of the OF in a package.
Joakim Soria - He'll keep doing what he does 35+ saves in too few of innings.
Look it's easy to look at this roster and say the Royals will hover around 65 wins or so and I could just as easily make that case as what I predicted. The Royals are an organization currently that has a positive outlook on themselves and they've eliminated the players who have a negative picture of the past organization which to me is huge. Can I quantify that it a number of wins? No I can't but I do think it matters, I've seen too many people in my life with talent in a number of fields that just didn't reach their potential because of their attitude.