It’s been a historically miserable first half of the season for the Royals as the club sits at 26-65, on pace for the worst record in franchise history. While we’re already looking to next year, there are still ways the second half of this season can be fruitful.
With Royals fans desperate for any semblance of optimism, here are three things Kansas City needs to accomplish to call the next three months a success:
3 Things the Royals Need For Second-Half Success
After spending 12 of the club’s last 15 first-round picks on pitchers, the Royals have little to show for their commitment. Asa Lacy hasn’t pitched since August, Ashe Russell is out of baseball entirely, while Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Nolan Watson, and Kris Bubic have all either regressed or shown limited promise.
Add in questionable signings and a patchwork bullpen and you’ve got a club that ranks 28th in ERA (5.27). Singer, in particular, was expected to take a step forward this year, and Kansas City needs to see growth from the pitching staff over these next few months.
Daniel Lynch is enjoying a nice season with a 4.18 ERA, though the Royals want to see improvements from the rest of the arms they’ve invested in as well. We can pencil Lynch in for the rotation next season, but it’s unclear who else will be joining him.
If some of these young arms can take a step forward from now until September, the club’s outlook will be a lot rosier than it is today.
A Bobby Witt Jr. Breakout
Witt Jr. has been Kansas City’s best player and looks like he can be the foundation of a contender. He’s one of only three players with at least 25 extra-base hits AND stolen bases (Ronald Acuña Jr., Wander Franco) and his defensive versatility means he can fit with a variety of players.
With 14 home runs and 47 RBI, he’s shown strong pop. His infectious enthusiasm makes him a logical franchise cornerstone and another stellar half of the season will have Royals fans thinking All-Star as soon as next season.
Evaluate Position Players
It’s unclear what position players will be part of the next competitive Royals team other than Bobby. MJ Melendez is hitting only .206, Nick Pratto has struggled with plate discipline, Vinnie Pasquantino is out for the season with an injury, and players like Michael Massey haven’t found much success offensively.
These next few months will be a critical evaluation period for the Royals organization, as it needs to determine which players can be slotted alongside Witt Jr. to build a winning team.
I’m high on Maikel Garcia and believe Pratto can turn things around. Drew Waters is showing promise as well. If they can take steps forward, Kansas City’s outlook will be far rosier than it is today.
If not, we may be in for another long few years of depressing, non-competitive baseball.