KC Royals 2 biggest losers, 2 winners from May

The month was kind to Kansas City, but not to the whole roster.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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When asked about formative KC Royals memories, many younger fans do not remember the franchise's peak. Their introduction wasn't to the star-studded, perennial contenders of the 1970s and 1980s. Their first Royals taste was sour, a team mired in MLB's basement.

Winning's sweetness returned for a brief moment in 2013-2016 but disappeared as quickly as it came. This team hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy less than a decade ago, much more recent than many other franchises. But the years since 2015 washed that sweetness away, seeing bitter losing baseball return. 2023 was Kansas City's third 100-loss season since 2018, a new low even for the Royals.

The only way for this franchise to go was up, and the Royals have done exactly that.

As May comes to a close, Kansas City improbably stands as one of baseball's best teams. Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is not playing like a future superstar, but rather a present one. Catcher Salvador Perez, no longer burdened as the lineup's sole contributor, is having a renassiance at the plate and in the field. The Royals rotation is the envy of most teams, led by offseason acquisition Seth Lugo and young fireballer Cole Ragans.

The sweetness is back.

An eternity has passed since Royals fans last cared about standings or postseason chances this late in the season. Many predicted Kansas City would improve from their 56-106 2023 record, but not to this degree. The boys in blue have a 55% chance of making the playoffs and 18% of winning the AL Central outright, according to FanGraphs. Those are amongst the biggest improvements since Opening Day in MLB by a wide margin.

Such team success is rarely powered by a handful of players, like those already listed. The 26-man roster as a whole must lack severe pitfalls and feature role players doing their job exceptionally well. Unfortunately, Kansas City has players that fit both of those bills. Let's look through four players, two of which had strong May performances and helped this team win and two who did the opposite.