1.) Not Enough Talent
Sometimes it really is just that simple. The Kansas City Royals had several key players underachieve in 2017, and the remaining guys could not pick up the slack enough to make up the difference. It clearly wasn’t the only reason they missed the playoffs, but it’s the biggest one.
If you looked around the diamond and compared the Kansas City Royals players at each position to the league average, it would go something like this:
- Catcher: Above-average
- First baseman: Above-average
- Second baseman: Above-average
- Third baseman: Above-average
- Shortstop: Below-average
- Left fielder: Below-average
- Center fielder: Above-average
- Right fielder: Below-average
- Designated hitter: Below-average
That’s a fairly even split, which is not what you should have in your everyday lineup. No major league team can survive with below-average production out of 44 percent of its lineup. If even one or two of those positions had produced league-average latent, the Kansas City Royals might be in the ALDS right now.
That’s just the hitters. The pitchers—in a lot of ways—were even worse. At least with the lineup, you generally knew what you would get. With the pitchers, especially the bullpen, the volatility was ridiculous.
The starters seemed to either turn in one solid start after the other, or they each struggled just getting through the lineup twice in consecutive games. There was no in between. That, in turn, put a strain on a bullpen that already was a significant downgrade.
Combine that with the offense, and it was a recipe for disaster.