Continuing our plan of adding to the number of predictions being made for the upcoming season, we come to the third and final part of our bold predictions. Today, we attempt to predict the Royals MVP and determine their final record on the season. If you missed the previous predictions, you can read Part One, pertaining to Yordano Ventura and Ervin Santana here. Part Two, which has our prospect predictions and big league predictions, can be accessed by clicking here.
Feb 25, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) throws during a workout at Surprise Stadium practice area Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Who will be the team MVP in 2014?
Brian: Eric Hosmer
Tom: Ventura. They’ll have to give it to the league MVP, although Greg Holland will get some consideration as he breaks his own season record for saves by a mile with 57
Alan: James Shields. Hands down. Pitching in a free agent year, his motivation for his last, lifetime contract will turn him into an animal on the mound. The Royals will not trade him at mid-season, a la 2013 Ervin Santana, even though his value will be sky-high.
Mike: Alex Gordon
Ed: Salvador Perez
Ethan: Eric Hosmer. He started off slowly last season but really got things going during the summer months. I believe he will put an entire all-star caliber season together this year.
Jen: Salvador Perez
Dave: James Shields. A true staff ace and mentor to the younger pitchers, he will help guide the Royals to their first playoff berth in 29 years with a strong season that will get him Cy Young consideration.
Hunter: Salvador Perez will once again provide excellent defense and above average offense, although a bump in his power numbers will propel him to a nearly 5 WAR season.
Mar 6, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) throws down to first base for the out against the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
What record will the Royals finish with, and will they make the playoffs?
Brian: They finish at 88-74 and sneak into the second wild card spot.
Tom: 100 is a nice round number for wins, although it’s liable to be higher, given all the individual records they’ll be breaking this year. We’ve paid our 30-year penance to the baseball gods for the tainted ’85 championship (Yay Denkinger!). It’s our time to be Royal, dammit! And, aside from incestuous bloodlines and beheading of subjects for minor offenses, what could be more Royal than a championship crown?
Alan: The Royals will win 93 games and finish 5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, who steal twice as many bases under new manager Brad Ausmus, but have a bullpen that is average at best.
Mike: 86-76 and will be a wildcard team.
Ed: The Royals will finish 82-80 and easily miss the playoffs. The performance of the left side of the infield, coupled with an ineffective Guthrie and Chen will be too much for a much improved offense to overcome.
Ethan: 87-75. They make the playoffs as a wild card and I weep tears out of my face.
Jen: I don’t think the Royals record will be much different than last season’s (maybe 2-3 more wins), but I think they squeak into the playoffs because the AL Central is up for grabs. I honestly don’t see an AL Central team winning more than 90 games.
Dave: Right now, given that the Royals seem to be slightly better than last season, I expect them to go 88-74. With the injuries that the Tigers have had, and how I feel they have taken a step back, that should be enough to win the Central and put the Royals in the playoffs.
Hunter: Despite significant gains on offense, the pitching doesn’t appear to be quite strong enough to contend with the Tigers or the other Wild Card contenders. I think the Royals will finish 87-75, which will be good enough for second in the division, but ultimately, 3 games out of the playoffs.