No one could have asked for a better start to the spring than the way the Royals have been playing. As a team they are absolutely crushing the ball, being led by Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon. On the pitching side of things, they have been getting solid performances from their projected starters as they have been leading MLB in ERA. The bullpen should be extremely dominant, and I’m very confident when I say that. I know I was cautiously optimistic last year but I knew we still lacked starting pitching. This year, I believe that issue has been taken care of, or at least more answers have arrived in terms of James Shields, Wade Davis, and Ervin Santana.
It’s important to take spring stats with a grain of salt, but it is hard to deny how well this team is hitting. Alex Gordon is leading the way with a .536 batting average to go along with three long balls. Mike Moustakas is also getting in on the action with a .452 average and 5 extra base hits. One guy the season will be riding on is Eric Hosmer and how well he can produce. It’s great to see he’s off to a good start this spring but it’s whether he can ride it into the season that will truly matter. I do think he’s way too good of a hitter to not have made the proper adjustments that he needed to from last season. The greatest adjustment I noticed for him to make is to let the ball get deeper in the zone and not be so pull-happy. He had a bad tendency of flying open way too early last year.
If the starting pitching can be above average, which it should be, that will be the main factor for this team competing. The hitting will come around and to go along with the bullpen, this team just needs to be in the game heading into the 6th inning. James Shields has me all kinds of excited! If Wade Davis can stay healthy I’m excited to see what he can bring to the table. A number four starter, such as himself, that has had above average success in the AL East certainly would bolster the rotation and improve it a great deal over what this team has trotted out over the past several seasons.
Las Vegas has their over/under on wins at 79.5. Even though it has been ten seasons since KC has seen an 80+ win season, I strongly believe that streak will be broken and the over seems like a favorite to me. Obviously injuries can and will play some sort of role in how the season plays out, but this team is too good not to compete. After adding in all the variables, I can confidently say 85-90 wins is very realistic and contending deep into September should be a thought in most peoples’ minds who are familiar with this team.
I know, like most Royals fans, I’m anxiously awaiting the regular season opener. It cannot come soon enough. This season could and should be one of the best seasons we have seen in a very long time. Besides watching James Shields, the other thing I can’t wait to see is Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera, and Greg Holland shutting the door at the end of games. But I’ll get more into that with a post at a later date.