Revisiting Our Royals Predictions

Sep 14, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) and left fielder Alex Gordon (4) and center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) celebrate after the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Kansas City won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Royals season is over, we can reflect on how things went, and how they unfolded relative to expectations.

Before the season started, the whole staff here at Kings of Kauffman made predictions about how 2013 would work out. We were pretty close on some, way off on others.

Here’s how we did:

Team MVP

Votes for: Alex Gordon – 7, Salvador Perez -2, Billy Butler – 1, Mike Moustakas – 1

Verdict: Split decision. Going strictly by WAR, Gordon led the team with 4.3 bWAR over Perez’s 4.1 WAR, but Sal led by fWAR 3.7 to 3.4. I suppose we could give Sal the edge by 0.1 WAR if we were to add those up, but then do you give Gordon an edge for winning the vote?

Yeah, let’s just split it between the two (though I would say Perez myself).

Bold Predictions (Big League Edition)

Votes for: Alex Gordon being in the MVP race; Wade Davis leading the team in ERA and wins; Royals send three or four to the All-Star game; Butler breaks Steve Balboni‘s franchise record for homers in a season; Lorenzo Cain is healthy and pushes Gordon for team MVP; Jeff Francoeur gets replaced; Moustakas hits 30 homers; Francoeur takes 50 walks; Gordon is voted as an ASG starter; Ervin Santana will be more like 2011 Santana than 2012.

Verdict: A couple hits. Some big misses.

  • Gordon wasn’t in the MVP race much past the first two months. Two wicked months of a slump really hurt his numbers. He wasn’t voted into the All-Star Game as a starter, but he did get selected and played in the game.
  • Wade Davis, of course, didn’t lead the team in wins or ERA. He wasn’t close.
  • Gordon, Greg Holland, and Perez made the All-Star Game – the first time three Royals went since 1988.
  • Butler hit just 14 homers, well short of Balboni’s 36.
  • Cain was at the top in WAR for much of the year, then a strained oblique cost him a month. He’s arguably the best center fielder in the American League and, if he’d stayed healthy, could have challenged for a Gold Glove. He still might have a shot.
  • Francoeur was replaced by David Lough in July. He had eight walks with the Royals, 42 short of 50.
  • Santana was very good and, in fact, better than he was in 2011.

Bold Predictions – Prospects

Kyle Zimmer warms up before his Double A debut. (Photo: Michelle Meade)

Kyle Zimmer warms up before his Double A debut. (Photo: Michelle Meade)

Votes for: Kyle Zimmer reaches the majors; Cheslor Cuthbert returns to the top prospect discussion; Kyle Smith moves up to Double A after dominating in High A; Yordano Ventura will reach the majors and be in the rotation by year’s end; Sam Selman has a strong year; Bubba Starling will reach Double A and silence doubters; Miguel Almonte dominates and establishes himself as a top pitching prospect; Christian Colon takes over Kansas City’s second base job; Alexis Rivera crushes the Rookie League and becomes a top 15 prospect in the Royals system.

Verdict: We were closer on a lot of these.

  • Zimmer didn’t reach the majors, but he went on an impressive run over his last four High A starts and did well in Double A.
  • Cuthbert hit well in High A but his overall numbers took a hit when he was promoted to Double A. He finished with an overall OPS of .703, nearly 100 points higher than last year’s .618. He’ll turn 21 in November and is back in the discussion among the Royals top prospects.
  • Smith did indeed dominate High A, striking out 96 for Wilmington in 104.1 innings before the Royals traded him to Houston for Justin Maxwell. Houston kept him in High A.
  • Ventura made three starts in the big leagues and was impressive in two of them. He’ll get an opportunity to make the team next spring.
  • Selman had a 3.38 ERA in 125.1 innings for Wilmington and struck out 128 batters, but he also walked 85. Pretty good, but the walks have to come down.
  • Bubba didn’t have as encouraging of a season as he did last year in the Rookie Leagues, but he did have a .322/.398/.575 line in August. He had LASIK surgery this year and many reports suggested that it helped him as the year went on.
  • Almonte struck out 132 in 130 innings in the South Atlantic League and is near Ventura and Zimmer in Royals pitching prospect ranks.
  • Christian Colon didn’t make the majors this year, but had a slight opening it seemed in July. His bat heated up later in the year but when the Royals acquired Emilio Bonifacio, Colon was left in Omaha.
  • Rivera didn’t quite light the Pioneer League on fire, but he didn’t collapse either. He won’t hit top 15 prospect status, but he should make the top 30.

Win Total

Prediction: Answers ranged from 78 wins to 90 wins, but as a group, we averaged 84.8 wins for the Royals.

Verdict: Not bad – just one win off of predicting the Royals at 86 wins.

Wil Myers Homers

Sep 22, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Wil Myers (9) doubles during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

He was a big name this offseason, so we felt like torturing ourselves.

Prediction: Everyone figured Myers would open the year in Triple A, which he did, so the range of homer predictions went from six homers to fifteen. As a group, we averaged 11.25 homers.

Verdict: Myers made his major league debut on June 18 and finished with 13 homers.

I think we did pretty well in most cases. Some of the bold predictions were way off, but they’re bold predictions – they aren’t meant to hit every time. Even while our numeric predictions had a wide range, they evened out to be pretty close to the actual result. The wisdom of crowds can yield pretty good results sometimes.

What predictions did you have before the year and how close were you in the end?

Topics: Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez

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  • jimfetterolf

    85 wins. Doctor Chicago predicted 86, so won that one. I had Ventura as a September call-up. Missed badly on Billy, had him duplicating ’12. Santana was what was expected as he was healthy in a big park with a good defense.

  • jimfetterolf

    If you can find it, link the original piece. I think a lot of us chimed in on it.

    • Michael Engel

      It’s linked at the top of the page.

      • jimfetterolf

        “Could have a three or four team race down toward the last week or two
        with the eventual winner earning it head to head with the competitors.”

        Kinda came close on that one.