2014 Opening Day: A Look At The Kansas City Royals Roster

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Kansas City Royals SP James Shields
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

This is “The Year”. This has always been “The Year”.

Dayton Moore said that it would take “eight to 10 years” to build this team into a contender. To turn the franchise with the longest playoff drought in all four major sports into a winner. To turn arguably one of the most depressing teams in Major League Baseball into champions. That time is now.

Last season brought results that many young fans have never seen before from the Royals: an above .500 record. While this was certainly reason for fans to celebrate, there is no way the players could be satisfied with this result.

Many starters were used to winning, whether in high school, in college, or in the minor leagues, where many of our squads are perennial power houses. Sure, they won more games than they lost, but they had failed once again to bring the one thing the fans need more than anything: a playoff berth.

Is this the season where they finally make that happen? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ll break down why we have a shot of having a chance at royalty this time around.

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Tags: 2014 MLB Opening Day Kansas City Royals

  • Tyler_KC_Fan

    I agree with a lot, but I thinkn the one spot I can argue about is the SP.

    When the Royals traded for Santana he was coming off one of his worst years pitching. He was very inconsistent and hard to figure out what kinda pitcher you were going to get. I think Vargas can more than make up for Santana. Vargas has been more consistent and I think with the bigger stadium and the top-3 defense behind him his numbers will be great. Going from Shields (94mhp), to Vargas (89mph), then Ventura (102mph) is going to be filthy. I have a lot of faith in Vargas and even towards the end when the big leaguers were spending more time playing then just 2-3 innings, Vargas did great. I think he gave up 1ER and that was the 3 game he pitches in this spring. I think the SP could easily be a B overall.

    Also, Texas and Detroit have been getting crippled by injuries. I think that will give the Royals a long enough window to take a lead and keep it. I think Detroit is finLly realizing they don’t have as much depth as they once thought with Inglasias going out till the ASB they are now struggling to find a replacement. Pitching wise, is be shocked if their #2 and #3 repeat last year. Max isn’t going to have another Cy Young year and Verlander is showing decline (May not be fast, but he isn’t as dominate anymore. Royals beat him every game last year). Miggy is the only offense Detroit has and he hasn’t been healthy in 3 years.

    I think it may be the Royals time. Based off of injuries of other teams and the youth and fire on the Royals we may win 89-90 games and that be enough to take the Division.

    • Chad Brewster

      You make some good points. I mentioned that the starting pitcher’s grade certainly has the opportunity to go up. But they haven’t proved it to me yet. We’ll see once April comes around.

      As far as depth goes, the Royals are one of the deepest and healthiest teams in the AL. Besides Hochever, they have almost no serious injuries. They have their best chance to grab a division lead in the early Spring, where the Royals have struggled for years, unfortunately.

      I hope as much as you do that this is the year. I’m tired of seeing them lose! Thanks for the comment.

  • flan50

    I hate to be the party pooper, but I think some of the high expectations for the Royals are a little unrealistic. Maybe age tempers my unbridled enthusiasm ;) . Anyway, I do think Hoss will have the breakout season we have been hoping/waiting for, I think Moose will show significant improvement but still struggle against elite pitchers and top lefties, Alex should again be stellar if just short of elite, I believe Aoki will be a good acquisition, I see no reason Salvy won’t continue to mature into MLB’s best catcher although I’m worried about injuries, Billy should be Billy – I’ll take any year of Billy but hope for the return of 50+ extra base hits, I foresee Holland again being one of the Top 10 closers in baseball but not as crazily dominant as last season, I’m guessing Vargas produces about what is expected, and I think Ventura will vie for league rookie honors but perhaps wear down in the second half. Now for the not-so-good :( . I fear KC will only get 100-120 games out of Infante and his production will slip from past two seasons, I expect Cain to again have some leg issues but otherwise play about as in the past, I fear Escobar is closer to last season than the one previous at the plate, I expect a solid year from Shields but the beginning of a decline from his past ace production, I expect reality and fate to catch up to Guthrie (let’s hope Zimmer is ready sooner rather than later), I also fear the bullpen is going to have some issues and show fairly significant decline from a year ago – Herrera struggling with the long ball, Collins struggling with control, Crow struggling with consistency, and I expect Yosty to potentially cost the Royals 2-4 games once again which could be costly if they are truly near contention. All that said, I’m expecting a record with anywhere from 80-86 wins – not enough, unfortunately. I’m also hoping and praying that I’m wrong and KC finally gives me something to truly believe in!

    • Chad Brewster

      I agree with several points you make. Infante may not make the whole season, but that’s where the Royals depth comes in. Johnny Giavotella will develop in Omaha this spring, and would be a decent Plan-B if anything were to happen to Infante.

      Unfortunately, I think it’s almost impossible for Guthrie to continue what he did last year. But I still think he will be an above-average 4th starter in our rotation.

      While I’m a little more optimistic than you are about our win totals, I think we can both agree that this is the best chance the Royals have at being successful. Thanks for the comment!

      • flan50

        I’m hoping I’m just overly pessimistic – it’s been a long time since Royal Blue has been relevant! I’m most worried about the middle infield (greatly due to health concerns) and pitching. I just don’t think the bullpen can be as lights-out as a year ago and the staff just seems underwhelming to me unless Shields is at his best and Ventura goes all Rookie-of-the-Year. Hopefully, Gio and/or Colon are ready to help, along with Zimmer and maybe even Mariot. Nothing I’d love to see more than KC in the playoffs and me eating my annual Dayton Moore/Ned Yost comments with a big helping of crow!

  • Stan Colbert

    Royals pitching the second half of season last year was amazing! The team defense was great! If the pitching continues to perform the wins will conntinue, if not…
    Shields, Vargas, Bueno and Ventura look great!