The 2018 season kicks off for the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, March 29. The staff here at Kings of Kauffman has put together a list of predictions for the year. Enjoy!
Baseball is almost back! Opening Day is tomorrow – can you believe it? Although the season outlook isn’t the brightest, there are still plenty of things to watch for in 2018. Will Mike Moustakas continue his power surge? Can Salvador Perez stay healthy? Was Whit Merrifield a flash in the pan? Is Jakob Junis ready to make the leap and become a full-time starter? Our panel of eight writers answers some of those questions below.
Batting Average Leader
Tyler: Perez (anticipating Moustakas being traded)
Over/Under 25 Bubba Starling GP
Over/Under 30 Mike Moustakas HR
Tyler: Under if traded, over if he stays all year
Over/Under 160 GP Alcides Escobar GP
Over/Under .240 Alex Gordon Batting Average
Over/Under 30 Whit Merrifield SB
One Bold Prediction for the Season
Eric: Lovelady is CP by season’s end.
Cowboy: The team will be in the wild card race most of the season.
Tyler: Schwindel will be the everyday 1B by the end of the year #Dizziness
Jordan: Adalberto Mondesi will be the starting SS by the end of the season.
Cody: Cheslor Cuthbert ends the year top 3 in WAR for position players.
Blake: Gordon does not survive the season. He’ll be DFA’d in the summer.
Stuart: Jorge Soler is not only healthy but finally meets expectations. He’ll be in the top three in the triple crown categories.
Justin: Alex Gordon will be back.
Record Prediction (with explanation)
Eric: 81-81. Feels like a .500 team so that is where I am going to put them. I could see anywhere from 75 to 85 wins.
Cowboy: 82-80. This isn’t a team that wows you with talent, but it’s also not a bunch of also-rans. You know what you’re getting from almost all of them, and I think Gordon rebounds just enough to be a decent player again. If they stay healthy and play to their talent level, it will be a flawed team, but a team that is worth watching.
Tyler: 78 wins. I think the team is in a better spot then we think. The starting rotation will keep the team in games and the bullpen additions should be able to hold the games close. They are going to go back to manufacturing runs so expect a bunch of close game. With Whit, Soler, Perez, and Moustakas in the lineup potentially every day, the power is there. It won’t be enough to reach .500 but the power and pitching could keep them close to .500 all year.
Jordan: 74-88. This team could blow my prediction out of the water and finish above .500. I hope that’s the case. With that said, relying on unproven arms in the bullpen, health in the rotation and bouncebacks in the lineup is risky business. Too many things have to go right in order for this team to win 81+ games. I’ll play it conservative and give the team just 74 wins, but don’t be surprised to see a few more than that in the W column at the end of September.
Cody: 78-84. The team is not nearly as bad compared to last year as people think. Provided Gordon and Soler play to their abilities, the starting rotation stays healthy, and the bullpen doesn’t stink they should be in the wild card hunt through August. That’s a lot of ifs, but they won’t be much worse than they have been.
Blake: 76 wins. I think the offense will help them get close to .500, especially considering the relative weakness of the pitching staffs of the other (non-Indian) AL central clubs. The rotation should give them innings, if not terribly dominant ones. More quantity than quality. The pen will be below average but not horrible. But they’ll still sell at the deadline unless multiple expected wildcard contenders fall on hard times and thus fade in August.
Stuart: 78-84. Our inability to drive in runs will make offense an uphill battle and our starting pitching is unspectacular. However, there’s still a few key guys from the ’15 champs that are still around to make this watchable baseball.
Justin: 75-87. The Royals will regress from last year but they’ll be better than we thought they would. They could make a push if everything goes right. Gordon has to hit better, Soler needs to find his bat in the majors, Karns needs to build from last year, esky needs to be patient at the plate, Herrera needs to be the CL Herrera we saw in August of 2016. The Royals could do better than 75 wins but everything would need to be perfect.
What are your predictions for this season, Royals fans? Let us know in the comments?