With time running out for the KC Royals and their main body from the World Series, the team hoped for one more year of contention with the future unknown.
Welcome back to the KC Royals top players and pitchers of the decade. As a quick reminder, we are traveling our way through the past decade of Royals teams, and attempting to pick out the top position player and pitcher from each year.
2017 brought another year of Royals baseball that saw the team slowly regress from the championship team they were in 2015. While they were still not in rebuild mode, their record had dropped to that of a losing team, 80-82. They still sat at third in the American League Central but were too far out to reach the postseason.
The main body of that once great World Series team was still intact, and many of them were seeing good production, but pitching woes beginning and a lack of production from some other players the team was unable to make one last push before breaking up the champs.
2017 brought some interesting dynamics into play, especially with position players. Jorge Bonifacio got a good deal of playing time and looked to almost find his footing in major league ball, giving hope for his future.
Whit Merrifield also saw much more playing time than the previous year. Merrifield slashed a nice .288/.324/.460 over 145 games and managed to swipe 34 bases while he was at it, leading the American League in stolen bases.
Salvador Perez is another Royal who brought in a decent year, slashing .268/.297/.495 adding 27 home runs and 80 RBIs to the stat sheet. Lorenzo Cain followed as well, slashing .300/.363/.440 with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Stepping towards the front of the line is Mike Moustakas. Moustakas had a good 2017, slashing .272/.314/.521 adding 75 runs, 85 RBIs, and setting the teams single-season home run record with 38 dingers.
While Moustakas looked to be a good fit for the top spot, another player reached a bit higher, Eric Hosmer. Hosmer had a great season, slashing .318/.385/.498 over 162 games with 98 runs, 192 hits, 25 home runs, and 94 RBIs. Hosmer also saw some recognition for his great season with a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and by finishing 14th in MVP voting for the season.
Honorable Mentions: Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez
2017 brought an issue that is familiar to current Royals fans, consistency among pitchers. While there were multiple starters with decent records, there were two with ERAs above 5.00, two with ERAs above 4.00 and only one, Danny Duffy, who was able to pull an ERA lower at 3.81.
The starters seem to struggle with striking anyone out. Walks were not as much of an issue as in recent years, but the inability to keep teams from hitting does just as much to hurt the team and record.
The relievers saw a little more promise, at least compared to the starters. The once dominate Kelvin Herrera saw his ERA spike to 4.25 but he was able to record 26 saves for the team and pull 59.1 innings of relief.
Peter Moylan and Joakim Soria also found some decent innings, keeping their ERAs under 4.00 and pulling just about 60 innings each along with Scott Alexander who found 69 innings with an ERA of 2.48. All three, though, seemed to be a little more subject to walks than some others.
In a similar fashion as the relievers mentioned above, but a little better off with walks is the top pitcher for 2017, Mike Minor. Minor pulled 77.2 innings of relief for the team to the tune of a 2.55 ERA with a walks per 9 rate of 2.5, and a strikeouts per 9 of 10.2. Minor provided the needed consistency for a team that struggled at times and took on the largest workload of the relievers in 2017.
Honorable Mentions: Danny Duffy, Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, Peter Moylan
Continue with us as we move into the rebuilding years of Royals baseball and begin to close out the decade of top players.