KC Royals: Power ranking AL Central teams ahead of spring training

The AL Central remains the weakest division in baseball. After a massive offseason from the Royals, can they enter the division crown race? Let's look at the power rankings.
Jamie Squire/GettyImages
4 of 6

3. Kansas City Royals

The Royals have been as active as anybody in the sluggish free-agent market, adding slugger Hunter Renfroe to the middle of the lineup and Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, Will Smith, and Chris Stratton to the pitching staff. They have Bobby Witt Jr., a rising star, as the face of the team, and two potential breakout players in 2024 are left-hander Cole Ragans and hitter Nelson Velázquez.

The Royals have made some impactful moves this offseason to strengthen their bullpen by adding experienced players. They signed two World Series champion relievers, Chris Stratton and Will Smith. Additionally, they acquired Kyle Wright, a starting pitcher, and Nick Anderson, a reliever, from the Atlanta Braves. Out of all the AL Central teams, Kansas City's words and actions both signal immediate change for the better.

“We are not going to settle,” general manager J.J. Picollo said this offseason. “We don’t like talking about this in these terms, but when guys have options, we have opportunities to find players who can beat them out for positions.”

The Royals will need to improve their record by almost 30 wins to be a contender in their division. While this kind of improvement is not impossible, it is a difficult feat to achieve, and it would be unfair to expect it from the Royals. Only five teams have managed to gain 31 or more wins in a single season since 1969, so it's not something that happens often. It's worth noting, however, that the Baltimore Orioles improved their record by 31 wins between 2021 and 2022, so it is possible.

Kansas City needs to back up their offseason promises with actual results if they wants to earn the respect of skeptics. Additionally, there are two other teams in the division with a proven track record of success and strong rosters that will make it difficult for the Royals to come out on top. Nevertheless, the Royals should not be underestimated in the divisional race.