As the sun is setting in Arizona for the Kansas City Royals 2018 Spring Training, a new glorious day is dawning …Opening Day 2018! Let the cheers and jeers, hopes and dreams, metrics and whatever else you choose to evaluate commence.
Two of Kings of Kauffman’s very own decided to have an email discussion about what they expect from the Kansas City Royals during the first month of the 2018 season.
Boston: Well good morning there Cowboy! Let’s talk some Royals baseball, shall we?
How do you see the final roster playing out heading into the final stretch of the Spring?
Cowboy: I think the outfield will be Alex Gordon and Jon Jay with Paulo Orlando getting the bulk of the playing time in Right Field. Jorge Soler should play the corners some with Gordon sliding over to Center Field on those days. The Kansas City Royals won’t be as good defensively as they were with Lorenzo Cain, obviously, but Gordo is still great in LF and even good in CF.
The infield is set as far as starters go. Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Whit Merrifield and Lucas Duda are set around the horn.
Cheslor Cuthbert will get a spot as a backup (even though he shouldn’t)
One big thing is that there are replacements for all the infield starters within the system (in the case of injury or trades).
Ryan O’Hearn had a really good Spring and I think he has a shot to be up with the big league team pretty quickly.
Esky being Esky should play every day (unless he gets hurt or Aldaberto Mondesi murders Triple-A again).
Salvador Perez and Drew Butera will be the duo behind the plate. Salvy will once again catch too much, we’ve seen the pattern. He has a great first half, Ned Yost rides him into the ground, and he fades in the second half. Butera is a good backup. He handles the staff well and can hit a couple home runs. He should play more to give Salvy a break.
The Designated Hitter spot appears to be full, but maybe this is the year that the Kansas City Royals finally rotate at DH. I doubt it though. Soler will get most of the at-bats there, especially if he hits well.
Boston: I agree with your outlook on the roster. Shocking, I know!
Right Field appears to be the real wild card. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Soler in the mix there, especially if the fabled rotating DH is indeed in play. For now, we will assume Orlando gets the bulk of the RF reps though.
With that being said, what do we expect from that lineup during the first month of the season?
Here is a rundown of the series matchups:
"March 29 – April 1 at home against ChicagoApril 2 – 4 on the road in DetroitApril 6 – 8 on the road in ClevelandApril 10 – 11 at home against SeattleApril 12 – 15 at home against Los AngelesApril 16 – 18 on the road in TorontoApril 20 – 22 on the road in DetroitApril 24 – 25 at home against MilwaukeeApril 27 – 29 at home against ChicagoApril 30 at home against Boston"
The Kansas City Royals get the customary off day following the Opening Day game on March 30. Off days also on April 5, 9, 19, 23, and 26. So for the first month of the season that gives the team a total of 27 games with 15 at The K and 12 road games.
What are your predictions for the first month?
Cowboy: I’m going to give them a 16-11 record for the first month, I’m fairly optimistic about the team – despite being a pessimist by nature.
It is a veteran team and they play some bad/young teams. I think the rotation is going to be better than people are predicting and that is why I think they will outperform expectations. Danny Duffy is not a true number one starter, but neither was James Shields. Duffy doesn’t need to dominate, he only needs to be good.
I’m really excited about Jakob Junis. He pitched well last year and he has been good this Spring. He could end up being a solid number three guy.
The guy I am most interested in watching is Nate Karns. It pleasantly surprised me when they acquired him and he pitched well before the injury. If he is healthy and pitching to his talent level, he could be really good. He won’t be an ace, but the Kansas City Royals have proven that a dominant starting pitcher isn’t required to play meaningful games.
Boston: With more games at The K, you hope to come out of April with a winning record. I am going to give the Boys in Blue a winning first month – by the slightest of margins though.
My prediction is a 14-13 record.
I want to see an opening series sweep against the White Sox and a sweep the second visit to Motown. I think the Royals get swept in Cleveland and the Angels to take 3 out of 4 here.
So what are your thoughts #RoyalsNation? What outcome for the first month of the season do you predict? What about afterward? Do you agree with Cowboy? Do you agree with Boston? Or do you see it completely differently? Sound off in the comments below!