At this point, it should come as no surprise that the Kansas City Royals are the underdogs yet again. The Royals have made a habit of defying the odds over the past few years. It’s a position in which they’ve grown comfortable.
While many things have changed about this team for the 2017 season, one constant remains: The Kansas City Royals are yet again, being labeled pretenders instead of contenders (Shocker).
Our friends over at Call To The Pen have the Kansas City Royals as one of five ‘unexpected pretenders’ for the upcoming season. The only people that weren’t expecting that preseason designation aren’t among the Royals’ faithful following.
PECOTA projections have yet to be released for this upcoming season, but I have little doubt that the Royals will be shown little to no love in the forecast. Each of the last four seasons, the Kansas City Royals have earned a losing prediction from PECOTA and in each of those years, they’ve made a mockery of the numbers.
Here’s a rundown of PECOTA’s projected win totals for the Royals next to their actual win totals over the last four seasons.
In 2013, the Kansas City Royals were projected to win 76 games, according to MLB.com. They went on to win 86 games and for the first time in decades, Royals’ fans saw signs of promise.
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In 2014, PECOTA gave the Royals a shot at 79 games. The Royals would go on to win 89 regular season games and take the Giants all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
2015 saw PECOTA project the Royals with only 72 wins, according to EDGe Vegas. It goes without saying that the 95 wins on the year plus the World Series trophy all but nullify that prediction, but I’m saying it anyway.
Even last year, a ‘down year’ for the Royals saw them end with 81 wins compared to the 76 wins that PECOTA projected. In spite injuries to Wade Davis, Chris Young, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Jarrod Dyson, Salvador Perez (to name a ‘few’), the Royals still managed to outplay their projections.
So, are the Royals really pretenders? Of course they are. They’re a team that isn’t supposed to be able to go out and ‘win the whole, f*%&ing thing’ (thank you Jake Taylor). That’s part of what makes this team so fun to watch, and so easy to root for. Who doesn’t love an underdog? (Hands down, Yankees fans).
The Royals have a plethora of questions to answer as they head into the season. There is a substantial amount of change on this roster either by way of trade or tragedy.
They have a rotation to fill out, a bullpen to shuffle, and a lineup to create. They’ve got to figure out how to replace the imminent departure of some major contributors after 2017 (Hopefully not ALL the contributors).
While there is a lot of change heading into the 2017 season, the underdog status remains. With a fear of 2017 being the last of the window being open, their backs are against the wall but they’ve got a punchers chance. If their recent past performances are an indication of what we as fans can expect when no one’s giving them a chance, then buckle up. It’s going to be a wild ride.