Competitive balance in all sports is always a good thing. Fans of virtually every team can realistically hope that this will be the year that their team makes the playoffs and has a chance to win a championship. While teams with larger payrolls such as the Red Sox and Yankees have made the postseason virtually every year, 28 of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball have made the playoffs since 2001. That quest for parity has proven to have worked for baseball.
The two teams that have yet to reach the postseason? The Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals have that ignoble distinction of being the last two teams to fail to reach the postseason this century. Of course, when a franchise has only two winning seasons in the past twenty years, it can be difficult to reach the playoffs.
That painful factoid may be a thing of the past, and soon. A year after tantalizing the fanbase with their best record since 1989, the Royals once again appear to be on the cusp of a postseason berth. The lineup has improved, and should be able to score at a more prolific rate than last season. Having on base machines in Norichika Aoki and Omar Infante atop the lineup should generate plenty of opportunities for the middle of the lineup. Although the starting rotation may take a step back, those improvements on offense may be more than enough to mitigate any regression from the pitching staff.
The Royals crop of top prospects could also help lead Kansas City to the Promised Land. Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer are projected to be top of the rotation arms, and both may be in the rotation to stay by 2015. Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier may end up making their debuts shortly thereafter. If the Royals can get their prospects to pan out, then the playoffs may come to Kansas City soon.
Major League Baseball has enjoyed excellent parity since the turn of the century. It may turn out that the Royals can be a part of that soon, if not this season.