3 reasons to be optimistic about the KC Royals this year

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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KC Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. now has a full MLB season under his belt.

Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City's can't-miss, five-tool future of the franchise, made his big league debut last year after playing only two professional seasons. He served notice of his arrival by driving in the winning run in the Royals' Opening Day victory over Cleveland.

Witt went on to have a good rookie campaign. It was so good, in fact, that he had more hits, RBIs, doubles, triples, and steals than any other Royal and won the club's Les Milgram Player of the Year Award.

But Witt, KC's presumptive shortstop entering the new season, still has work to do. He hit a passable, but improvable, .254 last year. His substandard .294 OBP proves he needs to find more ways to get on base so he can fully exploit the baserunning skills that allowed him to steal 30 bases last season. And his defense, while occasionally excellent, is a definite work in progress: he had a -18 DRS in 98 games at short and a -4 DRS in 55 appearances at third base.

The good news, of course, is that Witt now has a full season's big league experience. He knows the grind, the routine, and what aspects of his game require refinement. That collective knowledge should serve him well and make his and the Royals' 2023 better than their 2022.