Editor's Note: After this KC Royals story published, several sources, including FanSided's Robert Murray, reported that the Mets have agreed to trade starter Justin Verlander to Houston.
The KC Royals are coming off a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins, winning both three games in a row and getting their first series sweep of the year. Better late than never. Anyway, the next series for the Royals is a rare rematch of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets. The three-game Tuesday-through-Thursday set starts tonight at Kauffman Stadium.
The KC Royals and New York Mets look very different eight years later.
It has been a while since either team faced each other as the last matchup was in 2019 in Kauffman Stadium. The Royals lost that series and rolled out some Royals legends like Cheslor Cuthbert, Brett Phillips, Meibrys Viloria, and Nick Dini. The final game of that series was also started by Mike Montgomery, who got a quality start and a win.
The weird thing coming into this series is that both teams could look very different before first pitch as both teams are/have made trades to build their farm systems, some better than others. The Mets have traded Max Scherzer and Mark Canha, plus talk that Justin Verlander and Tommy Pham could be traded is permeating social media. Anyway, let's get into the four things to keep an eye on in this series.
The further breakout of Bobby Witt Jr. for the KC Royals could bring hope to the future.
If anyone thought Bobby Witt Jr. (BWJ) wouldn't be one of the focuses after the series he had against the Twins, then they might not know what he did to the Twins. He went 9 for 14 with 9 RBI's with 2 homeruns. Oh, and one of those bombs was a walk-off grand slam. It is safe to say that BWJ might be on a hot streak.
That series may have fully brought BWJ back into the national spotlight, even for a couple of days, but he has been the Royals' best player since the All-star break. His slash line during this period is .385/.400/.641 for an OPS of 1.041. Adding to this he isn't striking out a ton with a K% of 17.5 and has a wRC+ of 184 during this period of time. The biggest issue for him is still not walking enough, has only one walk since the break and overall a 4.8% walk rate.
Even with the paltry walk rate BWJ has eclipsed a 3 fWAR, 3.3 so far, with the bat being slightly better and his defense taking a huge leap. If Bobby can continue this for the rest of the year he could be the hope Royals fans have needed this season.
Speaking of breakouts the Royals have a surprising one who could usurp a longtime Royal.