Why it’s been an odd 12-season run for the KC Royals

(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/TUSP/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/TUSP/Getty Images) /

As hard as it is to believe, 2010 was 12 years ago. The KC Royals were celebrating their 42nd season and the 25th anniversary of the club’s (then) only World Series win, and the team gained a new manager in May when Ned Yost took over from Trey Hillman.

Four years later, the Royals made it to their first World Series since 1985. One year after that, Kansas City became World Champion for the second time.

Flash forward another almost seven years to the present day and the Royals have since fallen off from that Fall Classic win, and stagnated in fourth place in the American League Central Division for the past three seasons.

However, take a look at how Talkin’ Baseball recently showed us on Twitter how each major league team stacks up since 2010. KC falls into fifth place in the AL Central:

The KC Royals are the only AL Central team to win a World Series since 2010.

Despite having the worst overall record in the AL Central the past 12 years, the Royals actually come out on top in a couple of important ways, but more on that in a moment.

Cleveland has the best Central record since 2010 at 970-870 and is the last of the Division’s team to appear in a World Series, which they ended up losing to the Cubs in 2016. That allows Cleveland to still have the longest active championship drought since 1948.

Second place Detroit at 882-955 made it to the Series in 2012, but ultimately fell short to St. Louis. And while the Twins and the White Sox have both improved the past few years, it’s the Royals who managed to peak at the right time.

Kansas City is the only AL Central team to win two American League pennants and a World Series title since the 2010 season, and did so while winning the division just once—the club started their 2014 postseason as a Wild Card team before winning the Central in 2015.

Think about that for a moment: since the 1994 division realignment, Cleveland has 10 AL Central titles, the Twins have eight, and the White Sox and Tigers each have four. But none have the World Series championship the Royals do.

The record shows that the KC Royals have been a bottom five team since 2010.

Now, let’s expand the discussion to the American League as a whole.

Since 2010, only the Orioles at 832-1,010 have a worse record than Kansas City. Although the Yankees have the best record at 1,046-796, they haven’t made a World Series since 2009. The only other two American League teams other than Kansas City to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy during the 2010s are the Astros (2017) and Red Sox (2013 and 2018).

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Now, let’s consider the two leagues together.

The Royals have the fifth worst record out of all 30 teams. Only the Orioles, Padres, Rockies, and Marlins have fared worse than Kansas City during this 12-year span.

On the flipside, the Dodgers, who have far and away the best overall record at 1,068-774, have the same number of World Series titles as the Royals since 2010.

So, to answer the specific question Talkin Baseball’s tweet poses—“What stands out most to you?”—it definitely has to be the Royals managing to win two American League pennants and a World Series despite having the second worst overall record in the AL and the fifth worst record in the majors over the past 12 years.

(And here’s something else related to those dozen years—among managers who’ve managed at least 20 postseason games, Yost, who was at the helm during KC’s 2014 and 2015 World Series runs, leads with a .710 winning percentage in the postseason).

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The Royals are a bit of an oddity having won two American League pennants and a World Series despite having one of the worst overall records in the majors over the past 12 years.