With opening day looming, I wanted to give a few of my predictions for this season. This spring has been a roller coaster ride of injuries, disappointment, and excitement and I‘m trying to make some sense on how this season might fare. There couldn’t have been too many folks predicting that Lorenzo Cain would be one of the best hitters in all of spring training, so that‘s what makes it confusing. I believe this squad is certainly capable of building off of last year’s second half momentum but a few key injuries could hamper any further progression. That’s why I think they will contend for a few months but the lack of experience and missing some key players, through injuries, will keep this team at 80 wins for the year, but I think most Royals fans will gladly take an 80 win season. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 predictions for the season.
My first prediction comes out of the bullpen. With Joakim Soria out for the year, the Royals will look somewhere else to fill the void of the former All-Star. I believe Greg Holland will be the guy Ned Yost names as his closer. While Aaron Crow and Jonathan Broxton snatch a few saves throughout the season, I predict Greg Holland as the full-time closer as he notches 30 saves.
I’ll stick with pitching for my next prediction. The rotation won’t be the brightest spot for the team this year, but Luke Hochevar certainly will do his fair share. Hochevar will continue his spring dominance and carry that into the regular season where he will win 15 games and finish with an ERA under 4.00 for the first time in the majors as a regular starter.
One of the more interesting things to watch will be how last September carries over into this year for Mike Moustakas. I think we will see more power from Mous, but he still will show some struggles at times at the dish. I look to see him hit 25 homeruns, which might seem like a lot, but it certainly is attainable for someone who has as much power as he does. His average, however, will hover around the .260 mark throughout the season.
One thing is certain, I cannot wait to watch Lorenzo Cain roam centerfield at “The K”. He has hit the cover off the ball this spring and has shown some good pop on top of that. It is not out of the question that he hits 20 homeruns and finishes one stolen base shy of 20 steals, which is what I have him doing this year. Just how Melky Cabrera had a very nice spring last year and relayed it into a great year, I think Cain will do the same thing this year for the Royals.
My final prediction is for a guy who has been a steady performer in his first few seasons in the big leagues. He is always hitting for a good average but has been looked down upon, in the past, for his lack of elite power. I had always thought it will take him some time to grow into his power, which I think in the second half of last season we saw a glimpse of what he is capable of doing. I am, of course, talking about “Country Breakfast”, or Billy Butler. A few more doubles in the past, will now turn into some homers for Butler, this season. I believe he will hit .331 and finish 3rd in the American League behind Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano in the batting title race. Butler will continue to impress people with his consistency and he might even make a case for one of the top right-handed hitters in the game.
These are some of my thoughts and predictions for this season. I hope everyone enjoyed reading what I think are realistic outcomes for the year and I’d love to hear some of your opinions regarding my predictions or if you have some you’d like to add. It’s always fun to toss around some ideas on who we think will do what this year. Oh and by the way, we are only two days away!!
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