MLB 2014 Predictions: AL Central – Who Can Catch The Detroit Tigers

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Kansas City Royals first baseman

Eric Hosmer

(35) Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Quick! Can you name which team has the second highest payroll in the AL Central? Yep, it is the Kansas City Royals. They are trying to bring post season back to the Fountain City.

This team has some players on the brink of stardom, and a few others who really underperformed in 2013. If things go right for this team, they could actually challenge the Tigers for the division.

HITTING: First baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez are budding stars that could finish the season as two of the best at their positions in the American League. Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Alex Gordon all suffered through varying degrees of an off season in 2013. If these guys can bounce back, then watch out! The Royals could turn things around in a hurry at the plate.

New additions Omar Infante and Norichika Aoki should help the team improve offensively, although Infante could start the season on the DL. There is a lot of upside here, and it will be very hard to be as bad at hitting as they were in 2013.

PITCHING: The Royals led the American League in ERA a year ago, thanks to some career years from several pitchers. One of those, Ervin Santana, has moved on to be replaced by Jason Vargas. It is doubtful Vargas can duplicate Sanatana’s numbers, but rookie Yordano Ventura should be much better than Wade Davis a year ago.

If the youngster’s arm holds out, he has the stuff to be a staff ace. That role belongs, undeniably, to James Shields, who is back for his second, and final season, as a Royal. If he has another good season, the Royals have a shot.

In the pen, it will be very near impossible for Greg Holland to repeat his near perfect 2013. Even if he regresses some, he will be darn good. He is surrounded by some of the best power relief arms in baseball. If this unit can repeat what it did last year, there will be few games the Royals won’t have a shot to win.

If things fall right for the Royals, they will be right in contention for not only a wild card spot, but maybe a even division championship. Of course, coming up short behind the Tigers and Indians is a distinct possibility as well.