Kansas City Royals (72-90) - Third Place American League Central
For the past two years the baseball world has been high on the Kansas City Royals. It never pans out. The offense for the Royals is young and good, but the pitching staff is brutal. It is hard to win without pitching and the Royals seem to be the epitome of how pitching can break your season.
Pitchers- The Kansas City Royals used 13 different starting pitching in the 2012 season. It is hard to be successful without a solid starting rotation. The Royals big off-season acquisition, Jonathan Sanchez turned out to be absolutely dreadful as he posted a 1-6 record with a 7.76 ERA in his 12 starts before being shipped out of town to Colorado for starter Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was by far the best starter for the Royals with a 3.16 ERA in his 14 starts. Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar each started over 30 games for the Royals, but their numbers were very poor. The Royals lost All-Star closer Joakim Soria before the season and his replacements, Jonathan Broxton and Greg Holland, converted 39 saves in 47 opportunities. Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds mid-season. The Royals will need to sure up their starting rotation going forward to be competitive in the American League.
Infielders- The Royals actually have a pretty good infield, and they put up pretty good numbers. DH Billy Butler led the team in batting average at .313, home runs with 29 and runs batted in 107. He was also very dependable playing in 161 games. First baseman Eric Hosmer had a sophomore slump, and that is being nice. His numbers were atrocious, but I suspect he will rebound next season. Third baseman Mike Moustakas started off hot for the Royals but cooled off late and ended the season with 20 home runs and 73 RBIs. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is a talented young guy. He is one of the most sure handed fielders in the business. He also is great with the bat ending the year with a .293 average and 35 stolen bases. Catcher Salvador Perez is a stud, no doubt about it. Not only may he be one of the best defensive catchers in the game, but he can stick too. In limited time due to injury, Perez hit .301 with 11 home runs.
Outfielders- Alex Gordon put up great numbers for the Royals. Gordon had 51 doubles, 93 runs and batted .294. He also played great defense for the Royals as he took home a gold glove for left field in the American League. In center field, the Royals lacked consistency with Jason Dyson, Lorenzo Cain and Jason Bourgeois all playing some games in center. Dyson played 102 games and had 30 stolen bases. In right field, Jeff Francoeur did not follow up on his 2011 campaign. He batted only .235 compared to his .285 average in 2011. For the Royals to compete in 2013 Francoeur is going to have to rebound and live up to his contract.
Twitter Account of the Day- He's technically a free agent, but since his account is just so entertaining, follow Jeremy Guthrie @TheRealJGuts