Looking back at 2014 prognostications of Royals’ season


Sep 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher

Greg Holland

(56) celebrates with fans after defeating the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 American League Wild Card playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Six months ago, the writers of this web site, kingsofkauffman.com, accepted the task of pontificating and prognosticating on a handful of questions regarding the Kansas City Royals and the then-upcoming 2014 season.
You may not want to take any of us to Las Vegas, but for the fun of it – or for the fun of making fun of us – here are the questions, the correct answers and the “expert” guesses.

We’ll let the readers judge who is the true Nostradamus of the group.

Q:  What are your expectations for Yordano Ventura this season? What will be his ERA?
A:  Ventura started 30 games, finished with a 14-10 record with a 2.53 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 149.1 innings while issuing 69 walks.

(Editor’s note: Ed hit the win total right on the nose, but Tom gets extra credit for the “Kate” factor, whether or not she actually had an effect on Verlander down the stretch.)

BRIAN HENRY: Yordano will throw 175 innings of 3.70 ERA ball. He sets himself up to start the first game of 2015.

TOM BARKWELL: Yordano Ventura will dominate. He’ll not only win Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young, and AL MVP, but he’ll arrange for Kate Upton to fully and publicly reconcile with Justin Verlander just so he can steal her away in August, so humiliating the Tigers Ace that he’ll stumble badly down the stretch, thus opening the way for the Royals to storm their way to the Central Division crown.
In his spare time (he only works, like, five or six days a month), he’ll write the finishing chapters to Charles Dickens’ great unfinished final novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which will become an international best-seller, and he’ll solve the mystery of D.B. Cooper, once and for all. His ERA will be 1.13 (narrowly missing Bob Gibson‘s 1967 mark of 1.12).

ALAN TODD: Yordano Ventura will win 12 games. He will be at least a .500 pitcher, and the team will have a better-than-.500 record in his non-decision starts. His ERA will be 3.90.

MIKE VAMOSI: #LetsThrowFire will be the 2014 version of Greinke Day how that translates into wins and losses might be the same also ha. I think his ERA will be in the 3.35 range honestly.

ED CONNEALY: Ventura will go 14-8, with a 3.60 ERA.  He will also contribute over 200 innings and 200 strike-outs. Yordando will be the number two starter before the All Star break, and run away with the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

ETHAN EVANS: My expectations for Yordano Ventura are to have an E.R.A. of 3.40 and to pitch at least 180 innings. I know better than to try and predict wins and losses. Hopefully the offense will provide more of the former than the latter.
Now that I’ve typed that, I’m scared. I just want one of our starting pitching prospects to pan out.

JEN NEVIUS: This is a tough one for me. Ventura looked dominant the one time this spring I had a chance to see him, but he has been so inconsistent over his minor league career, it is hard for me to tell which Ventura will show up. I think he will have a solid rookie campaign, but won’t live up to the extreme hype that is surrounding him this spring. His ERA will be around 4.00, he’ll walk 50-60 batters, and strike out around 150.

DAVID HILL: Ventura has looked quite good in Spring Training, so expectations are high. Once the regular season starts however, I expect that he will go through a few rough patches. Overall, I expect Ventura to perform well, and to tantalize with his talent, but there will be times that he does look like the rookie that he is. A 3.70 ERA and a 12-9 record over 180 innings seem about right to me.

Q:  What will be Ervin Santana‘s ERA in 2014 with the Atlanta Braves?
A:  Santana had a 3.95 ERA. In 31 starts, he finished with a 14-10 record. (His ERA with KC in 2013 was 3.24.)

(Editor’s note: Ed and Ethan were pretty close with their ERA guesses, but Ed added in a guess on number of wins and missed by one.)

BRIAN HENRY:  Ervin Santana in a pitchers park and moving to the NL posts another solid season with a 3.50 ERA.  There is still no one willing to give him a $100 million contract.

TOM BARKWELL:  Erv will struggle mightily without the awesome Royals defense, and the unparalleled magic atmosphere of the K, as support. He will rue the day that he spurned DM’s generous offers and abandoned our fair city for the likes of Atlanta, as his ERA balloons to a Kyle Davies-like 5.59.

ALAN TODD:  Santana’s overall ERA will be 4.10. After a slow start for the first half in which his ERA pushes 5.00, he will rebound in the second half for a playoff push and lower his ERA nearly 1 point. His lack of time in Spring Training will adversely affect his first half. The fact he is in, yet another, contract year fuels his motivation for the second half.

MIKE VAMOSI:  For some reason I think that it’ll be 3.80 range and really not sure why I feel this way, given how my feeling towards the National League being a league where ERA should drop.

ED CONNEALY:  Erv’s going to have a great year for Atlanta.  He’ll almost match his 2013 ERA and post a 3.40.  He will up his win total to 15.  Erv’s going to get paid big, just not as quickly as he wanted.

ETHAN EVANS:  3.41. I don’t wish ill will to the man, although I unfollowed him on Twitter simply because all of his tweets about the Braves make me sad now.

JEN NEVIUS:  I think Santana’s overall numbers will be better this season with the Braves than they were in 2013 with the Royals, though his ERA will be about the same. The NL East offenses aren’t as strong as the AL Central’s and I think he will be an All-Star. With all the injuries to the Braves rotation, he could help carry them to the postseason.

DAVID HILL:  Santana’s ERA since 2007: 5.76, 3.49, 5.03, 3.92, 3.38, 5.16, 3.24. With the late start to his Spring Training and how he has only produced back to back seasons with an ERA below 4.00 once in his career, I’m expecting him to be back over 5.00 this season.

Q:  What is your bold prospect prediction for 2014?

(Editor’s note: Readers…you be the judge! Jen was spot on with her Dozier foresight. Questions of Alcides Escobar‘s lack of durability were greatly exaggerated.)

BRIAN HENRY:  Bubba Starling for the whole season slashes .255/.345/.470, moves up to double A at the All-Star break, and ends with 25 home runs combining levels.

TOM BARKWELL:  John Lamb will finally fully recover from Tommy John sugery, rediscover his mid-90’s fastball, and join the big league staff in time for the pennant race.

ALAN TODD:  Christian Colon knocks the cover off the ball in Omaha to begin the year, then is brought up to replace Escobar or Infante, either of whom goes on extended DL for his shoulder. Colon hits .320 in KC and ignites the bottom third of the order. Talk of why Moore signed Infante to a 4-year deal surfaces en masse.

MIKE VAMOSI:  Kyle Zimmer is used during the stretch playoff run by the team.

ED CONNEALY:  Raul Mondesi will play over a month in the bigs this season. He’ll be having a great year, and an injured Escobar will be doing a 2013 encore.

ETHAN EVANS:  Kyle Zimmer gets a September call-up. I don’t know if that’s bold, but I would be very happy to see it.

JEN NEVIUS:  As excited as I am to see Hunter Dozier play in Wilmington this season, I think he will be headed to Double-A by the All-Star break. I thought it was interesting that Mike Moustakas stuck around to watch the minor leaguers during last week’s spring training game after he was taken out (instead of leaving). So he knows that he should be looking over his shoulder because Dozier will be moving quickly.

DAVID HILL:  With the Royals hanging around the playoff hunt at the All-Star Break, they remove a subpar Jeremy Guthrie from the rotation for Kyle Zimmer, in the hopes that Zimmer can do for the Royals what Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha did for the A’s and Cardinals respectively last year.

Q:  What is your bold Big League prediction for 2014?

(Editor’s note: Lot’s of bombing on the long ball guesses, but you have to give Jen credit for singling out Lorenzo Cain and foreseeing his excellent season.)

BRIAN HENRY:  After a pathetic 112 HRs last year, the team bounces back in a big way going over 150 as a team led by 30 from Eric Hosmer.

TOM BARKWELL:  Steve Balboni‘s team record of 36 home runs will be broken by three different Royals: Mike Moustakas (37), Eric Hosmer (39), and Billy Butler (40).

ALAN TODD:  The Royals will have a winning record in every month. If that occurs, their playoff fate is sealed.

MIKE VAMOSI:  Mike Moustakas hits 20 home runs and drives in 80 runs with a better than expected on-base percentage.

ED CONNEALY:  Butler, Perez and Hosmer will combine for over 75 bombs in 2014.

ETHAN EVANS:  Hosmer cracks 30 home runs and does lots of weird finger waggles throughout the year as he’ll be on base a lot.

JEN NEVIUS:  Lorenzo Cain will stay healthy the entire season and play around 150 games. He has been hitting the ball hard this spring and once the season starts, those balls will find holes. Cain will be an All-Star and earn a Gold Glove.

DAVID HILL:  With the Royals built around speed and putting pressure on the opposition, Norichika Aoki will be given an automatic green light when he’s on base. Taking advantage, Aoki will steal approximately 45 bases as the Royals have their first true leadoff hitter in years.

Q: Who will be the team MVP in 2014?

(Editor’s note: Two guesses for James Shields, but it’s hard not to argue the case for Alex Gordon.)

BRIAN HENRY:  Eric Hosmer

TOM BARKWELL:  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 TODD:  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 VAMOSI:  Alex Gordon

ED CONNEALY:  Salvador Perez

ETHAN EVANS:  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 NEVIUS:  Salvador Perez

DAVID HILL:  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.

Q:  What record will the Royals finish with, and will they make the playoffs?
A:  89-73. The Royals took the top Wild Card spot.

(Editor’s note: Jen was correct. The 90-win plateau was the key. Oh, our Royal Kingdom for two more wins!)

BRIAN HENRY:  They finish at 88-74 and sneak into the second wild card spot.

TOM BARKWELL:  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 TODD:  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 VAMOSI:  What record will the Royals finish with, and will they make the playoffs? 86-76 and will be a wildcard team

ED CONNEALY:  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 EVANS:  87-75. They make the playoffs as a wild card and I weep tears out of my face.

JEN NEVIUS:  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.

DAVID HILL:  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.

After the game against the Oakland A’s for the Wild Card, I don’t think anyone is willing to make any more guesses!