Five Reasons Why the Royals Will Win the Central

3 of 7

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4. Veteran leadership

It is easy to mock the Royals for making moves such as picking up Raul Ibanez when his career appears to be on it’s last legs, or signing Scott Downs when no one else wanted them. Yet, despite Ibanez’s lack of production, he has been able to provide the Royals with something that they have truly needed – a veteran presence who knows what it takes to go on a deep run into the postseason.

That veteran leadership is a part of the reason why the Royals made their controversial trade for James Shields. Shields had been through the battles before with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was able to be a mentor for the young rotation, showing them the ropes of how to not only be major league players, but how to win. That intangible effect may be another reason why the Royals brought in Omar Infante, as he has also gone through those battles.

Detroit certainly has veteran leadership as well, and they have been through the wars of the postseason. However, they already knew what it takes to win down the stretch. The Royals, being a young team, have never been in this situation. In fact, aside from Ibanez, no one on the Royals can truly say what it is like to be in a pennant race in Kansas City late in the year. These veterans, who have been through pennant races before, can help to keep the Royals from getting ahead of themselves, and let them take each game as it comes.

With sabermetrics and statistical analysis, such concepts as ‘veteran leadership’ tend to get laughed at. However, for the Royals, that leadership seems to have made a major difference.