Projected to win only 66 games this season, it seems like everyone is (once again) down on the Royals. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, though. There are plenty of things to be optimistic about this year. Everyone’s list is different, but each and every one of you likely has something to look forward to in 2018.
We’ve already mentioned some storylines to watch for in 2018. Some were optimistic, some weren’t. This piece is all about you: the fans. Over the years, you’ve grown to love the Royals for one reason or another. If you’re a bit older, perhaps it was George Brett, Frank White or Willie Wilson. If you picked up baseball after them, you likely loved watching Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon. A little bit after that, you found greatness in Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria. If you started watching in the last 5-7 years, you know all about the core of the team (or what it used to be). It’s amazing how easy it is to recall such great players during their time in Kansas City.
Why else have you come to enjoy Royals baseball so thoroughly? Is it Kauffman Stadium? Is it the men announcing every game on television? Just because you live in Kansas City? Everyone has a reason. The purpose of this article is not to remind you how bad/different things will be this season. This article is intended to help you look for silver linings and other glimpses of hope throughout the year. There will be plenty of instances where you’re proud to be a Royals fan in 2018, you just have to find them.
Maybe you’re excited to see veteran Royals such as Salvador Pérez and Danny Duffy continue their tenures with the club. It’s possible the returns of middle infielders Whit Merrifield and Alcides Escobar make you happy. It’s up to the veterans on this team to perform well and usher in the next wave of youthful Royals talent. Despite many spots up for grabs and the immense turnover of the club heading into the season, there are still plenty of familiar faces to hold down the fort in the meantime. Look for continued growth and progression from the Royals’ core players and a potential step into leadership roles as the season unfolds.
Like many fans, perhaps the next wave of talent excites you. You’re ready for players such as Raúl Mondesí, Bubba Starling, and Hunter Dozier to finally make their impact in the MLB. With third base up for grabs, Cheslor Cuthbert is a player who may grab your attention. These are just a few players who should play a role in the Royals’ 2018 season. There is a multitude of other young bucks who could join the team in September. If the season doesn’t start off how Ned Yost and Dayton Moore expect it to, we could see a lot more young faces in the clubhouse before the final month of the season rolls around.
Per the PECOTA projection system, the Royals are expected to finish the season with a terrible 66-96 record. In each of the past five seasons, PECOTA has projected the Royals to win fewer than 80 games and in each season, guess what the team did? Win 80+ games. Keep that 66-win figure in the back of your mind as the season unfolds.
Players such as Alex Gordon and Jorge Soler are coming off horrible seasons. Steamer’s projection system isn’t high on either of them. Gordon is projected to hit .237 and Soler is projected to hit .242. Gordon is entering the twilight of his career and the odds are certainly stacked against him in 2018. Soler is still young enough to tap into his potential, but it remains to be seen if he can do so.
Some people wrote off Mondesí last season. Only 22 years old, there’s still plenty of time left for the kid to get his act together. Don’t be so dismissive so soon. Give him a chance to show what he can do again in 2018.
Maybe Pérez won’t slump in the second half of this season. Stranger things have happened. Another thing to look forward to, regardless of how unlikely it is.
This likely didn’t move you to hold a positive outlook on the Royals, but that’s okay. It’s not likely the club is a playoff contender in 2018. As fans, we have an obligation to support the team no matter what. For every few pessimistic outlooks on the Royals, hopefully there are one or two optimistic ones. There’ll be veterans. There’ll be new faces. Regardless, find what you want to work out this year and root for it.
Comment below and give us one, two or even three things you’re looking forward to this year! Let us know what you have to say!