Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals

The Royals have been touted as having one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball. Last year, we caught a glimpse of what that system has to offer, with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. I think the Royals are going to be the surprise of the American League, although their starting pitching is not good enough.

The Royals, however, should have no issues scoring runs. Alex Gordon finally became the player many expected him to be in 2011, and should continue his success in 2012. The name to watch for the Royals is Eric Hosmer. Hosmer hit .293 with 19 bombs as a rookie, and 25-30 HR's is not out of the question. Billy Butler is one of the most consistent hitters in the game, usually hitting around .290 with 90 RBI's. The Royals will turn over CF to Lorenzo Cain, who was acquired in the Zack Grienke deal. He showed some pop in AAA last year, but is more known for his speed. The Royals are also going with a Chris Getz, Yunikesky Betancourt platoon at second. Yikes! The Royals will be without young catcher Salvador Perez early on, and Brayan Pena should get most of the starts behind the plate. Here is the Royals projected lineup:

LF: Alex Gordon
CF: Lorenzo Cain
1B: Eric Hosmer
DH: Billy Butler
RF: Jeff Francoeur
3B: Mike Moustakas
 C:  Brayan Pena
2B: Chris Getz/Yuni Betancourt
SS: Alcides Escobar

The Royals are going to go with journeyman Bruce Chen to lead their rotation. Chen is nothing special, but he has been decent for Kansas City the last 2 seasons. Former #1 overall pick Luke Hochevar is next in line, and the Royals will need him to step up his game. Jonathan Sanchez could be a difference maker in the rotation, but he will need to stay healthy.

The bullpen was dealt a devastating blow, with Joakim Soria needing Tommy John surgery. He will miss all of 2012. In his place, the Royals do have Jonathan Broxton, as well as Greg Holland to step in to the closers role. Here is how I project the Royals rotation.

SP: Bruce Chen
SP: Luke Hochevar
SP: Jonathan Sanchez
SP: Luis Mendoza
SP: Danny Duffy

The Royals are probably another year away from being a serious contender. That being said, I do expect big things from some of their young players. The Royals will not make the playoffs in 2012, but they will be a fun team to watch.

My prediction: 83-79, 2nd in AL Central.

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