Analyzing 5 Kansas City Royals due for progression or regression in 2018

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Whit Merrifield
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Whit Merrifield /
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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 23: Scott Alexander
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 23: Scott Alexander /

Scott Alexander

In 2017, Scott Alexander was arguably the Royals’ best reliever. Mike Minor makes a compelling case, but that’s not the point. Alexander was phenomenal for Kansas City this past season. His 2.48 ERA is his best ERA in any full season in his professional career, and it came in his first full big-league season. He produced a massive 73.8 percent ground ball rate and gave up merely three home runs in 69 innings pitched.

Alexander was phenomenal in his first full season with the Kansas City Royals. I have no doubt that he has the ability to be an effective big-league reliever. I’d even go as far to say I think he can achieve some longevity in KC’s bullpen as a high-leverage reliever who Ned Yost can bring in for any situation at any point during the game.

I also have my doubts about Alexander’s sheer dominance in 2017. Again, I believe Scott Alexander can be a good reliever in MLB. I don’t think he can be as consistently dominant going forward. He is already 28 years old, and his best years may very well be behind him.

This is not an indictment on Alexander. I expect him to be a key member of the Royals bullpen in 2018. And if the Kansas City Royals have any hope of competing, they are going to need him to be very good.

The best chance that Alexander has to duplicate his 2017 season is to work on his slider in order to become more effective against lefties. If he can do that, then he may actually have a chance to be better in 2018 than he was in 2017. But until he shows me he can do that, I will reserve my doubts about Alexander’s 2017 campaign.