Why Is 2022 So Important for the Kansas City Royals?

The Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr displays a sign to the fans Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr displays a sign to the fans Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The baseball season feels like it ended forever ago as fans chug along through winter in hopes the season starts soon. What makes this even worse is Major League Baseball is currently in a lockout as they negotiate with the Major League Baseball Players Association. This lockout is looking like it will bleed into spring training pushing the season back. Even though all this sounds doom and gloom assuming we get baseball is an important year for the Kansas City Royals.

In 2021 the Royals finished in 4th place in the AL Central with a 74-88 record. Even though this is not the finish fans hoped for, they did get an incredible season from catcher Salvador Perez, and they witnessed their farm system mature with a few players rising through the ranks. Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez captured the eyes of fans as they posted incredible stat lines in the minor leagues. KC fans also had the privilege of seeing young talent make their way to the big league ball club. Starting pitchers Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, and Jon Heasley made their major league debuts. There is so much more that occurred, but the big question is why, is 2022 an important season for the Kansas City Royals?

Kansas City Royals Promoted Key Prospects in 2011

2011 was an important year for the Kansas City Royals as they would begin promoting their top prospects to the major leagues. First basemen Eric Hosmer made his debut on May 6th, 2011. Hosmer was drafted by the Royals in 2008 with the 3rd overall pick and was a highly regarded prospect. On May 18th, 2011, a pitcher named Danny Duffy would make his debut, and KC fans know how important he is to the city. On June 10th, 2011 the highly anticipated young third basemen named Mike Moustakas would make his debut. Fans were excited to see the young talent make its way to the show. On August 10th, 2011, a young catcher named Salvador Perez would make his major league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays. Fast forward to today, and Salvador Perez is etched into the history books for the Kansas City Royals like many of the players listed above.

What Does 2011 Have to Do With the 2022 Kansas City Royals?

You are reading this article and might be thinking, what does 2011 have to do with 2022? The Royals are in a very similar situation with prospects in their farm system, and those prospects are ready for the big leagues. According to MLB.com, the Royals are anticipated to have nine players make their major league debuts. Bobby Witt Jr. is currently ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the MLB. He finished the season at Omaha (AAA), playing in 62 total games and getting 253 at-bats. His batting average was .285, he posted 72 hits, 24 doubles, 17 home runs, and 46 RBIs. Witt’s numbers were even more impressive at Northwest Arkansas (AA). Some of the others expected to make their debuts are first basemen Nick Pratto, catcher MJ Melendez, starting pitcher Asa Lacy, and many more.

The Next Wave of Kansas City Royals Players?

This season could represent the next wave of future Royals stars similar to how 2011 was. The 2022 Royals will have some very important veterans in place. Players such as Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, Carlos Santana, and Andrew Benintendi have had their success but have experienced team success. One thing to remember is this youth movement has had success at numerous levels. In 2021, Northwest Arkansas (AA) and Quad Cities River Bandits (High-A) won championships. This pedigree will pour over once they reach the highest level of baseball. I anticipate 2022 being a fun year for Royals fans, and it will be a memorable one.

The Major League Baseball Lockout Ends?

The final reason why 2022 is an important year for the Kansas City Royals is the result of the MLB lockout. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are working on a new collective bargaining agreement. According to Tom Verducci, the MLBPA is going to bat for younger players.

"“Players want to see younger players gain greater earning power, which is why they have sought to reduce arbitration service time eligibility. In response, owners on Thursday proposed a formula to drive more money to all two-plus service time players, not just those who qualify as Super Two arbitration-eligible.”"

Verducci continues talking about the response from MLB,

"“In response to players’ concern about service time manipulation, owners proposed a system to incentivize clubs to promote their best players. The owners’ NBA-style draft lottery proposal was made to address the union’s concern that teams have been fielding non-competitive teams in part to gain higher draft picks. The latest proposal responded to the players’ feedback to their initial proposal. The owners previously made proposals to eliminate draft pick compensation associated with free agency qualifying offers, to add the designated hitter to the National League, to raise the minimum salary 23% to $700,000, and to increase the Competitive Balance Tax threshold by $4 million to $214 million. The players first proposed the threshold be set at $248 million and then countered at $245 million.”"

As Royals fans, we have a lot to look forward to, from new players to a youth movement to a new CBA. Even though this season could be pushed back and delayed, I am excited to see the Kansas City Royals take the field.

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