“The Royals aren’t even close to competing again”
To start this one, we have to be on the same page of what we mean by “close.” In personal, real-life terms close refers to you being within reaching distance of something. According to Dictionary.com, one meaning they give is “very near to”. But how do we measure that in baseball terms?
In the framework of which we are working within when it comes to a team’s future success, I’m rolling with “close” referring to two years. While two years can feel like a lifetime or seem like it’s no “very near to”, in baseball terms, it really doesn’t seem to be unrealistic.
Did he just say the Royals will be competing again in two years?!
Yes, I believe the Royals will be competing again in two years. Before you click away or start throwing things, let me explain.
The KC Royals built a championship team by doing something that was considered “non-traditional”. They build a team that was elite at base running, defense, and relief pitching. The joke was to just get to the seventh inning with the lead. If they had the lead, the game was over because the bullpen and defense shut everything down.
Look at what they are currently doing. Again.
They have a core of pitchers who are excelling at each level they’ve been in and have taken full advantage of Spring Training so far, position players who cause havoc on the basepaths and are above average defensively, and they have the Number 4 pick in this year’s draft where they can get another top-end pitcher or a position player that has the makings of rising through the system quickly.
The biggest difference between this wave and the last is this one seems to have both bullpen and starting rotation arms rolling with it. When you look at the current make-up of the team and the direction they are going, it is hard to believe they will continue to struggling and losing 90-100 games a year much longer.