2013 Will Be the Royals Year (Well It COULD Be) Reviewed by Momizat on . As the calendar changed from 2012 to 2013 and with spring training on the horizon, I decided to take a break from looking at the team through a critical eye and As the calendar changed from 2012 to 2013 and with spring training on the horizon, I decided to take a break from looking at the team through a critical eye and Rating: 0
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2013 Will Be the Royals Year (Well It COULD Be)

2013 Will Be the Royals Year (Well It COULD Be)

As the calendar changed from 2012 to 2013 and with spring training on the horizon, I decided to take a break from looking at the team through a critical eye and look at what the next calendar year could possibly bring. Yes, this Royals team has a lot of questions, but it does have a chance to be one of the best teams the Royals have fielded in the last two decades. Save for 1994, that is damning with faint praise, but the fact remains that it is a distinct possibility. I’ve criticized Dayton Moore quite a bit over the years (and rightfully so), but if he’s able to send the Royals to the playoffs in either of the next two years, it will be easy to forget a lot considering how long its been since we’ve experienced playoff baseball in Kansas City through anything else than watching on television.

2013 brings optimism to the Kansas City Royals, and I think it’s better founded optimism than what we found in 2012. I think last season, the team was simply too young to find their way to success. I know that sounds like a copout answer, but expectations were inordinately high considering the track record of the vast majority of the roster. Beyond youth, the pitching simply wasn’t good enough and got worse with injuries to Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino as well as further regression from Mike Montgomery, who was expected to make an impact last season at some point. Add that in with the youth and the season very quickly turned into a disaster.

I don’t see that happening in 2013. Gun to my head I wouldn’t predict a playoff berth in 2013 for any number of reasons, but I also don’t see a 12 game losing streak plaguing the team or a 7-19 month of July. James Shields may or may not be an ace. I’m not going to debate that in this spot, but I could really be persuaded either way on that. And Jeremy Guthrie may be no more than a fringe three and a good four, but he’s typically been pretty consistent throughout his career and was excellent for the Royals after coming over from Colorado. I think Ervin Santana and Wade Davis are wild cards in this scenario, but both have the ability to be legitimately good number three starters. I’m not sure if either will get there, but I’m not sure anybody the Royals ran out there after the injuries even had that kind of upside.

I feel like with all the attention that has been paid to the starting rotation that the offense has been somewhat put on the back burner. The 2012 Royals featured an offense that finished 12th in the American League in runs scored, so there’s a very good chance that even if the pitching staff would have been much better, maybe even to the level of what we hope to see in the 2013 rotation, that they still wouldn’t have done much better than they finished in reality. I’ve mentioned a few times that there were spots the Royals could conceivably look to the free agent market to make some upgrades on offense without disrupting the young core of the team. For now, it looks as if the Royals have decided to basically stand pat on the offensive side of the ball.

For my money, I’d have explored upgrades in the outfield and at second base. And maybe the Royals did their due diligence and found that there simply weren’t many options available. I find that somewhat hard to believe, but as of January 2, 2013, the biggest additions have been of the minor league variety in wild cards like Endy Chavez and yes, Miguel Tejeda (which I’m not going to let myself get worked up about until he actually makes the team and is terrible). This is something I’ve talked about before, but as improved as the rotation has a chance to be, the offense could make massive strides between what they showed last season and what they could do in 2013.

I’ve personally been a little hung up on thinking that Salvador Perez simply can’t be as good over the course of a full season as he has been in his half season (or less) big league appearances. Even if he can’t, though, he’s almost guaranteed to be an improvement over the combination of Brayan Pena and Humberto Quintero that we were forced to watch in the first part of the 2012 season. Other than Perez, I think one of the only other players we can really expect a regression from is Alcides Escobar, who hit over his head for much of the season before coming back to earth in the last month of the year. Still, he could end up at about the same offensive levels he finished at in 2013 as they’re pretty similar to his minor league numbers. Other than him, it’s hard to imagine Moustakas and Hosmer being worse and even Jeff Francoeur being even worse than he was last season.

This is something else I’ve said before and something I’ll probably say again. I’m still not especially enamored with the way this team is constructed and I’m still not convinced this team can convince, but I think the “ifs” that need to happen for the Royals to take a huge step forward are much more likely than the “ifs” the organization has been faced with in years past. Could it all blow up? Absolutely. James Shields could blow out his arm while Guthrie pitches like he did in Colorado, Santana has a repeat of 2012 and Davis regresses from when he started before. And sure, Hosmer could really be the next Casey Kotchman and Gordon could tear a hamstring. Maybe you do have to squint still to see the reason for hope, but it’s at least there, more prevalent than it has been in years past. And as we see people all over with great hope for 2013, let’s at least take a day or two and see the hope in next year’s Royals squad. It could be worse. They could be the Chiefs.

Follow me on Twitter @DBLesky


About The Author

I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

Number of Entries : 830

Comments (2)

  • DownUnderFan

    My prediction for top 25 (barring further trade or signing):

    Starting Pitchers = Shields, Guthrie, Davis, Santana, Hochevar (only because of what DM and NY have made clear).
    Relief Pitchers = Mendoza, Chen, Crow, Collins, Herrara, Gutierrez (based on winter league and again DM/NY statements).
    Closer = Holland
    Catchers = Perez, Hayes (for about 2 months, then Pina or trade)
    Infield = Hosmer, Getz, Escobar, Moustakas, Tejada (I think NY assumes he can back up all 3 spots).
    Outfield = Gordon, Cain, Francoeur, Dyson, Nady.

    Waivers and then Omaha (hopefully) = Moscoso and Abreu
    Assigned to Omaha = Smith, Adcock, Teaford, Coleman, Bueno, Falu, Giavotella, Lough.

    Moscoso will be a risk and would rather see Bueno than Gutierrez to put 3 lefties in pen but think NY will want Gutierrez. Giavotella’s only hope is a trade. He has no chance as long as NY is around. Lough must hit his way ahead of Nady. Will be a good battle. I agree with you that Falu could play SS in a pinch but for some reason NY does not favor Irving and will take Tejada. But I only expect Tejada to last until Colon comes up in late June as soon as the Super 2 date passes.

    The 5th starting spot is Hochevar’s to lose but if he does falter, Mendoza, Moscoso, Smith or Chen will be there to immediately step in so no loss.

    The big problem will come with the bench. Tejada, Hayes, Nady and Dyson will not scare anyone late in games and it will cost KC some late inning runs and wins. Hopefully they will correct. Still think DM could package a deal of 3 pitchers (plenty to choose from) for Colvin, Fowler, Eaton or Pollack and get a solid platoon outfielder for Frenchy and backup for Cain. Guess we will see if DM is willing. Also, hopefully NY sticks with 12 pitchers now that he has innings eaters or Nady will also miss out and that will further decimate the already limited bench. That will be an interesting battle to watch as well.

    All in all, this team is solid in pitching and starting 9. Their weakness will show if injuries hit critical spots or late in games with tie scores. Still this squad should get to 500 at the break and then see what they find at trade deadline for some bench help.

  • Number5

    Just for fun, Salvador Perez’s OPS in winter league is currently 1.041, he may not continue his spectacular hitting numbers, but I definitely now give him the benefit of the doubt that he will be a significantly above average hitter, which given his defensive abilities makes him pretty much the best bet to see some all star games among the royals young players. He is probably the player I’m most excited to see in 2013.

    Tejeda is depressing if he opens the season in KC mostly as a waste of money. I had been starting to think they were leaving second base kind of open for Colon to claim in spring training. He is also doing very well in winter league.

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