KC Royals: The most disappointing Royals of 2019

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images /
1 of 4
KC Royals,
KC Royals, /

The KC Royals suffered through another discouraging season in 2019, losing over 100 games for the second consecutive year. Three players had especially disappointing campaigns.

No postmortem of the disastrous 2019 KC Royals’ season is complete without determining why the club lost over 100 games, a sad record that fell short of the American League Central’s worst mark only because the Detroit Tigers played in the same division. The question of causation has many answers.

First and foremost, the club was destined for failure, doomed from the start by the shortcomings of its own roster. The 2018 team, stripped by free agency of many of its remaining championship core players, lost 104 games; then, club management didn’t take significant steps to improve the club, opting instead to reunite with Lucas Duda and add fringe players like Chris Owings and Brad Boxberger.

Predictably, Owings, Duda and Boxberger didn’t last the season and the 2019 Royals were just as bad as they’d been the year before–although they lost one less game, the differences were almost imperceptible.

The club failed, but a baseball team’s failure is only the sum of its parts, and too many of KC’s parts broke down. Many believed Jakob Junis would rebound from a 9-12 season and recapture his standout 2017 form (9-3); he led the ’19 Royals in wins with 9, but tied Brad Keller for most losses with 14 and posted an unsightly 5.24 ERA. Keller, KC’s 2018 Pitcher of the Year, lost twice as many games as he won and sat out September to rest a tired arm. Glenn Sparkman went 4-11. Jorge Lopez provided glimpses of his dazzling stuff but was maddeningly inconsistent.

Preseason hype heralded Billy Hamilton‘s arrival as a temporary center field solution, sure to be trade-chipped in July, but he didn’t hit and was DFA’d in August when no suitable trade partners could be found. Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips were miserable at the plate; neither proved worthy as Hamilton’s replacement. Ryan O’Hearn simply flopped.

Who among the disappointing Royals were the most disappointing?