Know Your Enemy – 2019 Kansas City Royals
58 – 104, 5th in Central
72 – 90, 3rd in Central
Billy Hamilton Alcides Escobar (Free Agency)
Chris Owings Jason Hammel (Free Agency)
Terrance Gore Nate Karns (Free Agency)
Martin Maldonado Brandon Mauer (Free Agency)
The 2019 Kansas City Royals are what happens when a rebuild takes too long to come to fruition but after too many of the key players are due big contracts too soon after a World Series run. The back to back runs to the World series in 2014 and 2015 are not that far away but looking at this team last season, and where they are at this year it may as well be light years. Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon are the only holdovers from the glory days, Alex Gordon is 35 and will be paid 20 million dollars this year. Salvador has held his own since then, being one of the best catchers in that time, but will miss the season after having Tommy John Surgery. These are the new Royals but seem to be being built in a similar way, speed and defense, much like the Twins teams that Ozzie Guillen referred to as the piranas.
Whit Merrifield had a 5.2 WAR last season and signed a four-year extension in the offseason. Whit was a late bloomer breaking through at the age of 28 in 2017 and is a stolen base machine. Whit has above average speed coming in at 49 in the sprint speed leaderboards from last season and had 45 stolen bases on the year, leading the league. Speaking of speed lets move to the fifth-fastest player in the league, Billy Hamilton, who was signed as a free agent. Hamilton had a down stealing year last season with only 34 bases down from 54 in 2017. Hamilton’s biggest problem is his ability to get himself on first so he can steal bases, the last two seasons Billy only has a .299 OBP, and has only been over .300 once in his career, if he can get on first this season he will take advantage of every opportunity to steal some bases. Then there’s Terrence Gore, Terrance Gore got a major league contract. Terrance freaking Gore, he has been in the bigs since 2014, with the Royals, and has 63 at-bats, yeah 63 total career at-bats. Terrence Gore has one hit in his career, off Max Scherzer, that’s it one single hit and the Royals look to give him an everyday starter. In his 63 games, he has 27 stolen bases, he is there for one reason and it is to run. The all-time single-season team stolen base record is the 1976 Oakland Athletics with 341. These Royals may not win many games but they will be gunning for that record come September.
Stealing bases aren’t the only reason to watch these Royals as the young talent is already starting to come to the big league team. Hunter Dozier should be the everyday starter at third base, Hunter was the teams first round pick in 2013. Adalberto Mondesi will be taking the reigns of everyday shortstop from the former starter lost in free agency, Alcides Escobar. Last year was the most playing time he received accruing 2.8 WAR in 75 games. He’ll be jumping on that stolen base bandwagon also, he had 32 last season and has the 11th fastest sprint speed last season.
PECOTA has the Royals winning 72 games, I don’t think that will be close to their win total. This screams under to me, I just don’t think their pitching and their hitting will be enough. That said this team is going to be an absolute blast to watch, especially for fans of “small ball”. Watching this Royals teams could be like watching some of those late 70’s early 80’s Athletic’s teams, without the winning.
There’s a quick look at the Kansas City Royals, please let us know what you think on Twitter @SidedSox. If you liked what you saw feel free to retweet us and tell some friends. We are going to do some really fun stuff with this site as the season goes on and want you to come along for the ride. Email us SoxSided@Gmail.com to ask us a question, tell us what you like or don’t, or what you would like to see our opinions on. Thanks again for reading.