KC Royals: 2 biggest surprises, 2 biggest busts of 2021

(Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Jorge Soler
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

The KC Royals, a club searching for relevance ever since their ill-fated 2017 attempt to squeeze one more season of good out of a disintegrating championship team fizzled and failed, retooled themselves over the winter. They brought in Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi, Michal A. Taylor, and Mike Minor to plug holes in a shaky lineup and rotation.

Although they’ve made their marks, these additions haven’t, of course, transformed the Royals into something they haven’t been since 2015. Familiar inconsistencies in the rotation and at the plate, flaws that must be fixed before the club can seriously contend, continue to plague the Royals.

Simply put, this is a club firing well on some cylinders, but not at all on others. And although some players have pleasantly surprised, others have been utter disappointments.

A veteran designated hitter-outfielder is the KC Royals’ biggest bust.

The biggest bust of the season is clear—look no further than Jorge Soler, the (sometimes) power hitting designated hitter-outfielder whose 48-homer 2019 campaign is a fading memory rapidly being swallowed up by a miserable season-long battle with his own bat.

The Royals pay Soler to hit home runs. He’s hit five through the club’s 59 games, and that’s not enough for what KC pays him to do, especially when he’s on pace to homer about 14 times this year.

But that power failure is merely one symptom of the offensive liability Soler is. Entering tonight’s game with the Angels, he’s slashing .174/.265/.315. It’s an awful line produced by a long, long slump that shows no signs of ending.

Who is the club’s second biggest bust, and its two biggest surprises? Let’s find out.