Category Archives: Kansas City Royals

3 Teams that will be worse in 2018

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays looked like they wanted to be a competitive team in the AL, but then they traded franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria and everything changed. However, the Rays weren’t done there as they also let go of Corey Dickerson, Jake Odorizzi, Logan Morrison, Steve Cishek, Steven Souza Jr., and Alex Cobb. That is a long list of quality veteran players that they will be missing in 2018. That leaves Chris Archer, Kevin Kiermaier, and Alex Colome as the only really reliable veteran players on their roster. The Tampa Bay Rays team will look a lot different in 2018 especially with the inexperienced players that they will rely upon to be starters like Mallex Smith, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Duffy. Tampa Bay should still have a good starting rotation, although they will struggle mightily to score runs after all of the key players that they decided to get rid of.

2. Miami Marlins

Miami had an elite outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna, but that was before they traded them all this offseason. However, the Marlins now have a very crappy outfield at least for the 2018 season as they will be relying upon Derek Dietrich, Lewis Brinson, and Braxton Lee as their starters. Brinson is a good prospect, but who knows what he will provide as a starter for the Marlins in 2018. Miami still has J.T. Realmuto, Starlin Castro, and Justin Bour to lead their lineup so all isn’t lost. However, Miami has a bad bullpen and a bad starting rotation, so they no longer have the dynamic lineup to make up for their pitching flaws. Miami has some reasons for optimism with the young prospects that they now have, although 2018 likely isn’t going to be a very fun season for Marlins fans.

1. Kansas City Royals

Kansas City had a very rough offseason with losing Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas among other key players. The Royals are basically now only left with Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Whit Merrifield to anchor their lineup in 2018. Kansas City already kind of struggled to score runs, but now it could be a really big struggle. Also, Kansas City lost many key members of their bullpen including Joakim Soria, Scott Alexander, and Ryan Buchter. The bullpen was a strength for the Royals not too long ago, but now it appears that it will be a major issue. Kansas City also doesn’t have a reliable starting rotation except for Danny Duffy who is the clear ace for the Royals. The Royals don’t have much hope in any aspect of their roster and it could be a tough rebuilding year for Kansas City.


2018 AL East Predictions

  1. Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians are one of the best teams in the MLB and they are the clear favorites to once again win the AL Central in 2018. Cleveland has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB as they are led by star pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. However, the Indians have a very deep starting rotation with pitchers like Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar also being decent starting pitchers. Cleveland possibly has an even better bullpen with elite closer Cody Allen to go along with elite setup man Andrew Miller and quality late-inning option Dan Otero. Cleveland’s pitching staff is the strength of the team, but they also have a very good offense. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Edwin Encarnacion are all all-star caliber hitters. However, the Indians also have some quality depth in their lineup from top to bottom. Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Bradley Zimmer have all proven that they can be quality hitters. However, they will need to improve if the Indians lineup reaches its full potential in 2018. If those 4 guys can improve this season then Cleveland could make the case that they are the best team in the MLB.

2. Minnesota Twins

Minnesota surprisingly sneaked its way into the playoffs last season, but now they have made some improvements this offseason to possibly make their team even better. The Twins already had a very good lineup as they had breakout seasons from players like Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, and Miguel Sano. Minnesota also has proven veterans Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer that can still produce at a high level on offense. The main concern for the Twins is their pitching. The Twins did acquire Jake Odorizzi via trade recently and that will provide some much needed depth for their rotation. Minnesota also has emerging star pitcher Jose Berrios who should continue to get better in 2018. However, the back end of the Twins rotation is a complete mess right now as they need more production from pitchers like Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia. Minnesota will be without ace Ervin Santana due to injury until May, so the rest of the rotation will need to step up. The Twins starting rotation has the potential to be good, but they will need Santana to come back healthy and be the player that he was last season and they will need Berrios and Odorizzi to continue to improve. Minnesota’s bullpen wasn’t very good last season, but they made a few moves to improve in that area for 2018. Fernando Rodney is the team’s new closer, although he has been inconsistent in recent years. Addison Reed was a terrific addition for Minnesota as he will be a very reliable 8th inning option for Minnesota. Also, the addition of Zach Duke should provide some depth to Minnesota’s bullpen in the middle innings. Minnesota’s bullpen is a complete unknown heading into 2018, but it should be better than it was last season. Either way, Minnesota should be a playoff contender in 2018, although they likely don’t have the pitching to be able to compete with the Indians in the AL central.

3. Chicago White Sox

Chicago is a team on the rise despite starting the rebuilding process not too long ago as they have many elite prospects that could make an impact at the MLB level in 2018. Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson, and Tim Anderson are the players that should carry the White Sox offense in 2018. However, they also added catcher Welington Castillo this offseason and that should make the White Sox lineup even better in 2018. However, the White Sox could be have really good lineup if elite 2nd base prospect Yoan Moncada improves in 2018. Chicago has major weaknesses in left field and center field heading into the 2018 season, but the rest of the lineup should be good enough to be an above average offense. The White Sox starting pitching rotation is unproven for the most part, but it does have the potential to be a very good rotation in 2018. The keys will be talented young pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez who will need to prove why they were such highly touted prospects. If those guys can pitch like we know they can then it will automatically make the White Sox rotation good. Carson Fulmer is another young pitcher with tremendous potential and he pitched well in 7 starts for the White Sox last season. James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez are the veteran pitchers of the group and Chicago is hoping that they can return to the players that they were several years ago. We’ll see if the White Sox rotation is good in 2018, but Fulmer, Lopez, and Giolito will need to be good if this rotation reaches its outstanding potential. The White Sox bullpen also could be decent as they have veterans Joakim Soria and Nate Jones at the back end of their bullpen. Soria is a proven closer and he should help to solidify that role and Nate Jones is an outstanding setup man as he proved once again last season. However, the rest of the White Sox bullpen is inexperienced and not very good. They will need somebody to step up in the 7th inning and middle relief roles if the White Sox want to have a good bullpen. Overall, Chicago should be an improved team in 2018 and they do have tremendous potential because of the great prospects that they will have on their team in 2018. However, this team is still rebuilding and they are likely a year or two away from playoff contention unless their pitching can make great improvements in 2018.

4. Kansas City Royals

It was a very rough offseason for the Kansas City Royals as they basically lost their 3 best position players Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Mike Moustakas. However, that wasn’t the only players that they lost as they also didn’t retain Melky Cabrera, Jason Vargas, and Joakim Soria. The team still has Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, and Alex Gordon to carry the offense in 2018. However, the rest of the lineup is basically filled with unproven or unproductive players. Cheslor Cuthbert, Jorge Soler, and Jorge Bonifacio all need to make improvments if the Royals want to have a good lineup in 2018. Also, young players like Hunter Dozier and Paulo Orlando will need to make contributions in 2018. Perez, Gordon, and Merrifield are enough to make the Royals offense decent, but for their offense to be successful then they will need other position players to step up. The Kansas City Royals starting pitching rotation appears to have major issues as well. Danny Duffy is the clear ace of the Royals pitching staff, but the problem is he is the only reliable starter that they have. Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel are both proven veteran pitchers in the MLB, but they both were absolutely terrible last season. The Royals need Kennedy and Hammel to improve quite a bit if they even want a decent starting rotation. It is unclear who the 4th or 5th starters will be in the Royals rotation, but Kansas City needs at least somebody else besides Duffy to step up and have a good 2018 season or else the Royals will have a very poor rotation. The Royals bullpen also could be a weakness in 2018 especially after they lost Joakim Soria this offseason. Kelvin Herrera is the team’s closer and he is a decent option in that role, although he struggled for the team last season. Brandon Maurer is the new 8th-inning guy for Kansas City after being acquired this offseason, but he was absolutely terrible last season. The Royals absolutely need Herrera and Maurer to be much better in 2018 or else the Royals bullpen could be very bad. Either way, the Royals need some more depth in their bullpen even if those two guys return to form in 2018. Kansas City is clearly rebuilding their roster once again and they don’t appear to even have a shot at making the playoffs this season.

5. Detroit Tigers

Detroit still has some big bats in the middle of their lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Alex Castellanos. However, the problem is that the rest of the lineup isn’t very good and they probably won’t help the other 3 guys out very much. Cabrera and Martinez also are getting older and they didn’t have very good seasons in 2017 especially by their standards. If the Tigers have any hope of scoring runs in 2018 then they will need Cabrera and Martinez to step up and return to the all-star caliber players that they once were. The bullpen also appears to be a weakness as they don’t have much depth besides Shane Greene and Alex Wilson. Greene was a very good late-inning option for the Tigers last season and he figures to provide the team with a good closer. Alex Wilson had a down 2017 season, but he is likely to bounce back in 2018 and he is still a quality setup man. However, Detroit needs another relief pitcher to step up if they even want to have a decent bullpen. The strength of Detroit’s team is clearly their pitching staff. Michael Fulmer is the new ace of their rotation and he should continue to get even better in 2018 as he gains more experience at the MLB level. Jordan Zimmermann once was a terrific pitcher, but since he signed with Detroit he has been absolutely terrible. However, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris are the keys to the success of the Tigers starting rotation. Both Boyd and Norris are talented starting pitchers, although they both had a very disappointing 2017. If they bounce back and at least become decent pitchers then the Tigers could have a good starting rotation. Detroit still has some good players, but they are in a clea rebuilding mode and it doesn’t appear that they have much hope at all for the 2018 season.

White Sox trade Cabrera to the Royals

The Chicago White Sox traded yet another key veteran player as they sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor league pitchers A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis.


White Sox analysis/grade:

Melky Cabrera was one of the most productive players in the White Sox lineup this season, but Chicago made the right decision to trade him since he is about to turn 33 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season. The White Sox added a couple of good young pitching prospects in this deal. The most notable prospect that the White Sox received in this deal is right-handed pitcher A.J. Puckett who was a 2nd round pick in 2016 by the Royals. Puckett hasn’t been very dominant in the minor leagues as he only has a 3.83 career ERA in 33 starts. He has struggled with his consistency at times and he walks a lot of batters. However, he he has a good fastball and a good change-up which should make him a successful starting pitcher. The White Sox will need to develop Puckett some more, but in a few years he should be ready to make an impact at the MLB level. The other prospect that the White Sox received in this trade is left-handed starting pitcher Andre Davis who was an 8th round pick by the Royals in 2015. Davis is a hard-thrower as he can throw mid-90’s consistently and that is likely why the White Sox are taking a chance on him. However, Davis is still a very raw pitcher as he struggles with his command at times and his 5.06 career ERA in the minor leagues isn’t very appealing. Davis is a starting pitcher right now, but ultimately the White Sox will probably have him to the bullpen because of his ability to throw hard. Chicago is getting two pitchers with very big potential and it is a good return for a player that they weren’t going to re-sign this offseason anyway.

Grade: B+


Royals analysis/grade:

The Royals are officially all in to try and make the playoffs this season before they have many key players that could leave in free agency. Cabrera is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, so he is basically a rental player for the Royals. However, Cabrera fills a big need for Kansas City in right field as they haven’t gotten much production out of that position this season. Cabrera doesn’t hit too many home runs, but he is a very underrated consistent hitter. He always seems to hit for a high average including this season when he hit .295 for the White Sox to go with 13 home runs and 56 RBI’s. Cabrera makes the Royals lineup pretty much complete as he adds just another dangerous hitter in the middle of their lineup. We’ll see how much of an impact Cabrera makes for the Royals as they chase a postseason spot this season, but he is probably an upgrade over Jorge Bonifacio in right field. My only concern with this trade is that the Royals gave up 2 pitching prospects with a high upside for a player who will likely only be with the team for a few months. This trade benefits the Royals immediately, but they might regret giving up Puckett and Davis in the future.

Grade: C+

melky cabrera


Kansas City has tough decisions ahead

Only a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were probably the best team in baseball, but a lot has changed since then and now the team has many tough decisions to make very soon. The Royals have basically the same core of players that it had in 2015, but those players just haven’t stepped up this year as they find themselves now as one of the worst teams in all of baseball with a 11-20 record so far this year. What’s most concerning for the Royals is the key players that are all set to leave after this season. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas are all free agents after the season. However, there is virtually no way that they will be able to keep all of those players around next season. That means they will either keep a few of those guys and be stuck in mediocrity for many years to come or they can trade most of those players before the trade deadline and start a lengthy rebuild. Neither of those options is good for Kansas City, but it is time for this team to start building their future. The Royals best option right now is probably to just start the lengthy rebuild and trade away many veteran players before they are lost in free agency for nothing. Kansas City has Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, and Danny Duffy under contract for several years. However, those players are more of complementary players and none can carry the team by themselves. Meanwhile, the Royals need to at least get something by trading away players that are set to hit free agency like Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jason Vargas. The only player that the Royals should try hard to retain is 1st baseman Eric Hosmer who is set to hit free agency as well this offseason. Hosmer is pretty much the only power threat in the Royals lineup and he is still young enough that he could be a big part of their future when the team is ready to contend again. The only issue is that he will probably want to join a contender this offseason rather than staying in Kansas City for a lengthy rebuild. Either way, the Royals need to sell off any veterans that they can this season in order to try and rebuild their farm system with young prospects. However, this team is several years from being relevant again even if they begin the rebuilding process soon.

eric hosmer

3 Takeways from opening day

3. The San Diego Padres are a worse team than we expected

There aren’t very high expectations heading into the season as they are terrible in every aspect of their roster. However, opening day just proved how terrible this team will likely be this season and they could even be worse than I expected. San Diego lost 14-3 to the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day. Sure, the Dodgers could compete for a world series this year, but there is never an excuse for a team to allow 14 runs on opening day. Jhoulys Chacin is supposedly the team’s best starting pitcher and if he is the best that they have then I don’t really want to see their worst pitcher because he allowed 9 runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The bullpen for the Padres wasn’t much better, so there doesn’t look to be much hope for the Padres pitching staff. San Diego didn’t do well offensively either, but I expected that considering that they were facing Clayton Kershaw. However, the Padres are basically a minor league team playing at the major league level and they had many players playing today with very little MLB experience. San Diego should be a better team as the season goes on, but right now I’m not sure they even deserve to compete at the MLB level because they looked awful on opening today.

2. Blake Treinen surprisingly could be a good closer for the Nationals

The Nationals had a major question mark as to who their closer would be heading into this season after elite closer Mark Melancon left in free agency. Blake Treinen was just recently named the team’s closer and he certainly didn’t disappoint on opening day. Treinen was faced with a save situation and he made it look easy as he had 2 strikeouts to close out the Marlins in a 4-2 victory on Monday. Treinen faced three really tough hitters and he made them look foolish. It is only opening day, so Treinen could still get worse, but at least he eased some of the concern in the closer role for now.

1. Kansas City might be rebuilding soon once again

Just a couple of years ago, the Kansas City Royals were the best team in the MLB and yet they now are showing signs that they aren’t even contenders anymore. Kansas City suffered an embarrassing loss on opening day as the lowly Minnesota Twins demolished the Royals 7-1. Danny Duffy was outstanding for the Royals, but after he left the game the Royals just completely fell apart. Kansas City’s bullpen was terrible as they allowed 6 runs in only 2 innings of work combined and that is a concern as that has been the strength of their team in recent years. Also, the offense only managed 1 run on 3 hits against a Twins pitching staff that isn’t very overpowering. Kansas City has a lot of key players hitting free agency after the season, so they might have to start trading away players and start rebuilding once again this year. The Royals have many areas to improve in order to contend and they can’t lose to teams like Minnesota if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs in 2017.


Season Outlook: Kansas City Royals

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Alcides Escobar – Shortstop
  2. Mike Moustakas – 3rd baseman
  3. Lorenzo Cain – Center Fielder
  4. Eric Hosmer – 1st baseman
  5. Salvador Perez – Catcher
  6. Alex Gordon – Left Fielder
  7. Jorge Soler – Right Fielder
  8. Brandon Moss – Designated Hitter
  9. Raul Mondesi – 2nd baseman

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Danny Duffy
  2. Ian Kennedy
  3. Jason Vargas
  4. Jason Hammel
  5. Travis Wood

Season Outlook:

The Royals have basically the same lineup that they had when they won the world series in 2015. Kansas City has all of the talent offensively especially with Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. The Royals also have very good offensive players like Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar. Really there isn’t much of a weakness offensively for the Royals except for at 2nd base with the unproven Raul Mondesi. The question for the Royals will be whether they can score runs consistently.  The Royals have a very talented lineup, but we’ll see how consistent they can be. Meanwhile, the starting rotation is what is holding the Royals back and it could be even worse after the tragic death of young pitcher Yordano Ventura this offseason. Danny Duffy is clearly the best pitcher for Kansas City as he went 12-3 with a 3.51 ERA last season. However, the rest of the rotation is certainly experienced, yet they don’t provide the consistency that the Royals need. Vargas, Kennedy, Hammel, and Wood all have to be more consistent if the Royals want to be a playoff team. The Royals bullpen isn’t as strong  as it was the past few seasons after they traded star closer Wade Davis this offseason. However, new closer Kelvin Herrera and 8th inning guy Joakim Soria both provide a lot of stability to the bullpen still. Kansas City could contend for a playoff spot in 2017, but they will need more from their pitching in order to do so.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL Central


Diamondbacks trade O’Brien to the Royals

The Kansas City Royals made a relatively minor trade on Tuesday as they acquired outfielder Peter O’Brien from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sam Lewis.

Royals evaluation:

The Royals have been looking for younger talent at the major league level and this trade accomplishes that goal as Peter O’Brien is only 26 years old. O’Brien is well known for his power as he has hit 84 home runs the past 3 seasons in the minor leagues. He has shown that type of power ability at the MLB level as well, but he has struggled to hit consistently in the MLB as he only has a .176 average. O’Brien gives the Royals an option at designated hitter for next season and he gives the team just some outfield depth overall. He might start next season in Triple-A, but ultimately he will be with the Royals at some point. O’Brien has great potential and if he can find a way to hit more consistently then this could be a great trade for Kansas City especially since they gave up a low-level pitching prospect to get him. It is a low risk trade for Kansas City that could turn into a high reward very soon.

Grade: B

Diamondbacks evaluation:

The Diamondbacks had already designated Peter O’Brien for assignment, so it was clear that he was not going to be part of their future. O’Brien had already proven himself in the minor leagues, but he didn’t do much for the Diamondbacks when he was called up. Arizona isn’t getting much in return for O’Brien, but it was good that they could get something in return for O’Brien. Sam Lewis is a right-handed pitcher that has been in the Royals minor league system since 2012 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent. However, Lewis hasn’t made it very far in the minor leagues as he only was in Class A last season, although he did put up a respectable 2.17 ERA in 2016. We’ll see if he moves up to the Double-A level in 2017, but either way he still several years away from reaching the MLB. The Diamondbacks need to develop Lewis quite a bit, but it is worth getting him since the team was likely going to release Peter O’Brien anyway. This is just an average trade for Arizona as it doesn’t help them any, but I give them credit for at least acquiring something for a player that they were releasing anyway.

Grade: C+