Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #5: Kansas City Royals

Greetings everyone... back to the bottom of the barrel a bit...


C - Salvador Perez
1B - Eric Hosmer
2B - Johnny Giovatella/Chris Getz
SS - Alcides Escobar
3B - Mike Moustakas
LF - Alex Gordon
CF - Lorenzo Cain
RF - Jeff Francoeur
DH - Billy Butler

This lineup has all the makings of a good unit... it just may not be in 2012. Sal Perez absolutely mashed after coming up last year at age 21 (.834 OPS), and he's a big-time prospect, but only has approx. 150 ABs in the Majors so that's a relative unknown. Hosmer and Moustakas are both all-world prospects, and while Hosmer hit immediately to the tune of .799 OPS and 18 homers a rookie, Moustakas has taken a bit longer to come around. Alex Gordon finally broke out (FINALLY!) in 2011 and hit 23 homers, over .300 BA, and a near .900 OPS to quantify the hype he's been receiving since birth. Lorenzo Cain was the centerpiece of the Greinke trade and is a pure speed guy, who, at 25 years old, has never really hit Major league pitching. Francoeur had a break-out of sorts in 2011 (20 homers, 22 steals, .800+ OPS) but he's still not taking walks and that's an issue. I'm an unabashed Francoeur homer and that's not changing, so get used to that. Finally, Billy Butler is what he is at this point. .300 average, .800 OPS, 20-ish homers, and never reaching the 30-35 homer power that so many expected. Still a very, very nice option. This is a lineup that could be electric if Hosmer and Moustakas progress, Francoeur matches production, and they get anything out of Escobar, OR a pretty bad if the young guys stall, Francoeur returns to his previous baseline, and the Cain/Escobar duo runs and nothing else.

Starting Rotation

1 - Luke Hochevar
2 - Bruce Chen
3 - Jonathan Sanchez
4 - Felipe Paulino
5 - Danny Duffy

Here's where this team flies off the rails. Hochevar and Chen are what they are at this point. Hochevar is a former uber-prospect, but at 27, he had his "best" year ever last year and still posted a 4.68 ERA. Chen got wildly lucky (look at the splits lol) and posted a sub-4.00 ERA, but that will even out, and he's still a subpar guy at best. Sanchez and Paulino are both guys with big-time strikeout stuff, but have never really put it together, and Sanchez doesn't have the benefit of the NL West anymore. Duffy was really bad as a rookie (5.64 ERA), but has high-end prospect ability, and between him and Montgomery, they have some upside if they can get it going. Still a pretty bad ensemble for the short-term.


Joakim Soria! The Mexicutioner returns and while he had his worst year in a while in 2011 (4.07 ERA), he got it going late in the year, and that's not a worry spot for the Royals. He's joined by Jonathan Broxton (formerly dominant) and Aaron Crow (currently dominant) to form a pretty darn good back-end for a small market club. Also, the diminutive Tim Collins and Jose Mijares are pretty nice options to join them. Far from a weakness here.


74-88, 5th in AL Central

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