The 2018 season was a year of “Change” for our Kansas City Royals, and change it did!
The Kansas City Royals started the year with a collection of players to be traded, bad contracts to be completed, and a handful of homegrown and acquired prospects who needed to prove their status with the team. It ended with a group of young players who began to show some of the progress fans had hoped for.
So, where does that leave us today? To me, I believe this year will be about building the foundation for winning years to come. It could come faster than we think. Every year a team comes out of nowhere and wins more games then they should. We all know how little was thought of our club in 2014 and 15. We could be that club in 2019, and there are many reasons why I think so.
The Number 229 is a good place to start. That’s the number of runs given up by five pitchers no longer with the Royals. Jason Hammel, Burch Smith, Brandon Maurer, Blaine Boyer and Justin Grimm accounted for “270” or 18.8 percent of all innings pitched and gave up 27.4 percent of runs scored against us. Add to that 49 home runs at 24.9 percent or walks, 131 at 23.8 percent.
If we get anything close to major league average production from this years players, we could shave 100 or more runs off our total for the year. Lets face it, almost anything will be an improvement over this group.
I’m excited we have young starting pitchers showing at least some success at the big league level. Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Jorge Lopez, and Heath Fillmyer did reasonably well. Add Trevor Oaks, Scott Blewett, Arnaldo Hernandez and others to the list who could be factors on this staff if needed. If they do well, not only could we win more games this year, they could become part of a big trade to bring us a top prospect or player.
I am also looking forward to seeing the progress of Adalberto Mondesi, Ryan O’Hearn, Jorge Soler, and Hunter Dozier. All of them have a lot to prove. The battle for right field, or center, if Billy Hamilton is traded during the season, should be interesting.
Brett Phillips hit well in the minor leagues, but he needs to prove he can get hits in the majors. Brian Goodwin and Jorge Bonifacio are in the battle as well. Bonifacio and Phillips have options, so Goodwin has a leg up for a roster spot. Though, anything could happen.
The team we start the season with will look different to the one we end with. If this is a typical year, the roster will filled with those who we have to carry because of their contract. Then, as players in the minors start to show success, they are added throughout the year.
My biggest hope, is by the years end, the Kansas City Royals have a reliable core of starting pitchers and bullpen in place. That would be an exciting place to be!