This year's World Series matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers may not mean much to Royals fans, but this unlikely pairing should thrill our passionate fanbase desperate for meaningful baseball.
The Diamondbacks lost 110 games two seasons ago, four more than the Royals did this year. The Rangers lost 102 that year themselves, yet both franchises are competing for a championship.
While their respective paths to the World Series are different, the Royals can still learn from each approach to get back to the playoffs, potentially as soon as next season.
What the Royals Can Learn From Rangers vs. Diamondbacks
It's no secret the Royals fell well short of expectations this season. That being said, Bobby Witt Jr.'s transformation into a legitimate MVP-level player alongside the emergence of guys like Cole Ragans, Maikel Garcia, Vinnie Pasquantino, and others gives Kansas City a young foundation to replicate the sudden success of these two pennant winners.
There are two schools of thought here. The Rangers basically went out and spent a metric TON of money to compete for a title. Their payroll is just under $200 million, a figure John Sherman almost certainly won't reach. He should spend this offseason, but there's less to be learned from Texas' approach.
Arizona, on the other hand, is 21st in MLB Payroll spending this season compared to 23rd for the Royals. The Diamondbacks have a young, home-grown core that caught fire at the right time, largely due to an excellent clubhouse culture.
Can't you picture Witt Jr. serving as Kansas City's Corbin Carroll, the superstar high draft pick who leads the charge?
Guys like Carroll, Alek Thomas, Brandon Pffadt, Merrill Kelly and Kevin Ginkel were all drafted and developed by the Diamondbacks then buoyed by veterans such as Christian Walker, Zac Gallen, Ketel Marte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Doesn't that sound like the strategy the Royals are going for now? We've got offensive cornerstones in place with high-end talent in the minors, while a player like Ragans gives the team a legitimate ace to build the pitching staff around.
If the front office can make a few splashy transactions in the offseason, whether via trade or free agency, this team can absolutely compete for an AL Central crown in 2024.
The Royals are lucky to play in perhaps MLB's worst division, with around 85 wins typically enough to be competitive. Well, the Diamondbacks won just 84 games this year before rattling off one of the more incredible postseasons we've seen since...the Royals' amazing runs.
Competitive baseball isn't as far away as it sounds. We've got our Corbin Carroll in Witt Jr. and enough talented young players to fit the same mold Arizona used to propel itself to glory.
I hope J.J. Picollo and John Sherman are taking notes, because this Royals team is closer than we think.
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