The Kansas City Royals are closing in on Spring Training and it appears that they now have all the pieces in place. Where they’ll bat remains a big question.
One key to the Kansas City Royals‘ success during the 2014 and 2015 seasons was the consistency of the lineup both in terms of production and player placement.
Ned Yost had the ability to run the same team out there day after day without tweaking the lineup too often. In fact, Grantland put together some data on how much meddling managers did and Ned Yost was one of the least meddling managers in baseball during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Yes, the formula became clear early and was used often. Alcides Escobar would swing at the first pitch, the Royals would lead by the end of the sixth and the H-D-H trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland would mop things up. While at times watching Ned Yost manage the team like it’s on autopilot was maddening for the fans, it earned him the respect of his players.
"And while Williams’s lack of action fuels his players’ perception that he’s out of his depth, Yost’s is welcomed as a sign of confidence and faith."
The Kansas City Royals headed into the 2016 season in good shape to do something similar. The lineup looked very similar to the 2015 lineup in the early going but slow starts by Kendrys Morales, Lorenzo Cain, and others showed that autopilot wasn’t an option. Injuries to many key players forced Ned Yost to tweak his lineup and perhaps that’s a good thing for 2017.
While it’s still early, and much will be decided during Spring Training, it’s always fun to speculate on how the lineup will shape up on opening day.