3 reasons to be optimistic about the KC Royals this year
Last year's edition of the KC Royals did little well, and it showed dramatically. The Royals lost 97 games, a total better than the 104 defeats they suffered in 2018 and the 103 times they didn't win in 2019, but worse than their 88 losses in 2021.
Together with its so-far uninspiring free agent and trade efforts this winter, that this club hasn't posted a winning record since it won the 2015 World Series makes being encouraged about the upcoming season difficult.
There are, however, reasons to be at least somewhat optimistic about 2023. The Royals won't contend, but the pitching, long a Kansas City sore spot, can't get much worse than it was last year when the staff had the American League's highest ERA and four different starters lost at least 10 games. (In case you've forgotten, Brad Keller, Kris Bubic and Daniel Lynch lost 13 apiece as starters, and Jonathan Heasley was beaten 10 times). And the club's hitting should improve.
Let's look at three other reasons to feel better about 2023.
No matter what, the KC Royals will have a big role for Vinnie Pasquantino.
We recently discussed the merits of Vinnie Pasquantino, but what we said then in the broader context of Kansas City's first base situation bears repeating: regardless of what happens at first, new manager Matt Quatraro will, without fail, find an everyday spot for Pasquantino.
And with good reason. Pasquantino's performance as a rookie last year was excellent: he played roughly half the season but still hit .295 with a superb .383 OBP and 10 home runs. The Royals can't afford being without Pasquantino's bat, so if he doesn't play first, he'll DH; barring a case of the infamous sophomore jinx, he'll play, and that's a good thing.