Thus far during the preseason, there have not been many projections that have been kind to the Kansas City Royals. For the most past, the Royals have been expected to hover around the .500 mark, falling within a couple of games on either side of that mark. At times, it seems as though only us Royals fans expect the team to be at least as good as last year.
However, there is at least one person that thinks that the Royals could be a sleeper pick for the World Series. David Schoenfield of ESPN.com selected the Royals as a sleeper pick to win the World Series, noting that the last five teams that won it all had missed the playoffs the previous year. Of course, the Royals could have been picked to win the World Series in any of the past 27 years based on that logic, but the Royals are a team that is seemingly on the upswing right now.
Schoenfield compares the Royals to the 2010 and 2012 Giants. He noted that Dayton Moore may not have signed the biggest names, but that he may have gotten the right veteran players to augment a young team. Omar Infante and Norichika Aoki have filled the holes that the Royals had at the top of their lineup. Gone are the days of seeing Alcides Escobar get almost 70 plate appearances in the second spot of the lineup. Jason Vargas may not be the stud second starter that we would like the Royals to have, but he may end up pitching like one by coming to Kauffman Stadium.
Like the Giants, the Royals have one of the deepest bullpens in the majors. In fact, the Royals bullpen may well be the best in baseball, and is much better than what the Giants had. As good as Brian Wilson may have been, the Giants bullpen was not nearly as stacked from top to bottom.
The only missing ingredient would be to have the younger players step up, or have one of the veterans put together a career year. Perhaps Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez take a major step forward in 2014, becoming the offensive weapons they appear to be on the verge of becoming. Perhaps Mike Moustakas figures everything out, and turns into the hitter that the Royals envisioned. Or maybe Aoki turns into a stolen base machine, and the Royals run their way back into the postseason.
Even though the Royals are one of two teams to have not made the postseason this century, at least one person thinks that they could be a sleeper to win the World Series. Talk about a perfect way to welcome postseason baseball back to Kansas City.