Looking Forward: Kansas City Royals
September 2, 2005 1 Comment
Between now and the end of the season, I’ll be looking at each non-playoff team’s outlook for the off-season, starting with the last team in my power rankings, and going up the list. So today, let’s look at the Kansas City Royals.
What they have: Sadly, the Royals have very few bright spots on their team. The bullpen looks to have a solid young core, led by Andy Sisco, Abiorix Burgos, Mike MacDougal, and Mike Wood. As for starters, Denny Bautista probably has an okay future ahead of him, but he’s no more than a #3 starter on a solid team, or a back-of-the-rotation guy on a good team. The Royals are neither, and thus, Bautista has been their best starter this year. Bautista gets a lot of ground balls, which would be good if the Royals had any semblance of infield defense. The only other young starter the Royals have, that is, one who might have a future, is Zach Greinke, whose problems this year have been serious, and worrisome for Royals fans. After a promising start to his career last season, Greinke has regressed mightily, and has a 6.28 ERA this season. Is it just bad luck, or are the problems more serious than that? According to DIPS 3.0, Greinke’s expected RA this year is 5.77. FIP is kinder, but still says that Greinke has been no better than a league average pitcher. So where does that leave him? I think that Greinke will regress to the mean, but comparisons to Greg Maddux were obviously too early (though Maddux didn’t have a great start to his career either). On the hitting-side, the Royals are even worse off. There’s David DeJesus, and then…nothing. Mark Teahan and John Buck, acquired in the Carlos Beltran deal, need to start producing, or else the trade will have been a complete failure. But even if those two do end up league average batters or better, that’s it. The Royals roster is painfully bare, absent of even high-potential players. The Royals are going to need help from outside their 25-man roster if they want to be a major league ball club.
What they need: Well, everything would be one way to put it. The Royals’ AAA and AA teams are noticeably bare, each hovering around .500. Not one relatively decent pitching prospect can be found on either of the teams, not one. It’s pitiful. There are few hitters as well: Billy Butler and Thomas Duenas, and that’s it. Basically, the Royals will need to look to free agency to get better. And even the Yankees aren’t going to spend the amount of money the Royals need to field a competitive team.
The Royals, by virtue of being cheap and drafting poorly, have put themselves into a hole: poor team, crappy system, needs at literally almost every position. How they’re going to improve, I don’t know. And, unfortunately for Kansas City fans, I don’t think they will at all.