30/30 BRKDWN – Kansas City Royals

Drake Mann
MLB Analyst

“Adapt or die”-Moneyball

The 2021 MLB season will be here before we know it. Pitchers and catchers reported on time, Spring Training is underway and we might have a full 162 game season with fans — hopefully. Between now and the start of Opening Day, we plan to BRKDWN each team’s offseason reviews and what to look forward to this upcoming season. Next, the Kansas City Royals.


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Key Additions:

Andrew Benintendi (Trade with Red Sox)

Ervin Santana (Free Agent)

Greg Holland (Resign)

Mike Minor (Free Agent)

Michael A. Taylor (Free Agent)

Wade Davis (Free Agent)

Key Subtractions:

Franchy Cordero (Trade with Red Sox)

Khalil Lee (Trade with Mets)

2020 Look Back

26-34 .433 W% 10 Games back in the AL Central and 10 Games back of a Wildcard spot

Runs: Whit Merrifield (38)

Home Runs: Salvador Perez (11)

Avg.: Salvador Perez (.333)

Slg.: Salvador Perez (.633)

ERA: Kyle Zimmer (1.57)

K’s: Brady Singer (61)

WHIP: Greg Holland (0.95)

Opp. Avg.: Kyle Zimmer (.175)*

*Min 20 IP

Projected 2021 Season

The Royals turned a productive offseason into one of the more improved teams in baseball. Adding Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi were great acquisitions and their pitching has the potential to be solid going into 2021. However, they are in a tough division filled with three potential playoff teams. Look for the Royals to win 70-75 games. They are +10,000 to win the World Series, +5,000 to win the AL Pennant, and +4,000 to win the AL Central.

Projected Lineup

2B – Whit Merrifield

LF – Andrew Benintendi

RF – Jorge Soler

C – Salvador Perez

1B – Carlos Santana

3B – Hunter Dozier

DH – Hanser Alberto

SS – Adalberto Mondesi

CF – Michael A. Taylor

Projected Rotation

RHP Brad Keller

LHP Mike Minor

RHP Brady Singer

LHP Danny Duffy

RHP Jakob Junis

Offense:

Offense: 248 Runs (24th), 68 Home Runs (20th), .244 Team AVG. (16th), .402 SLG (19th)

This lineup has plenty of power potential with the involvement of Jorge Soler and Carlos Santana. The inclusion of Andrew Benintendi pairs a good top of the order hitter with Whit Merrifield. That duo pairs well hitting ahead of recently extended Salvador Perez. You might be a little confused with Adalberto Mondesi that far down in the lineup. He has a career .284 on-base percentage and his speed will pair well with Michael A. Taylor, who’s having a fantastic spring to date. The wildcard here is Hanser Alberto. He burst onto the scene with Baltimore in 2019 and has hit for some power. If he makes the roster, he’ll be another run producer in this Royals lineup.

Pitching:

Pitching: Team ERA: 4.30 (12th), 517K’s (18th), 1.38 Team WHIP (20th), .254 Opp. Avg (22nd)

The Royals brought back a couple of right-handers that spent their best years for the Royals in Wade Davis and Greg Holland. The big surprise so far in camp was young left-hander Kris Bubic being optioned, after being considered for a rotation job. However, adding Mike Minor, who will help eat innings in 2021 was smart. Young starter, Brady Singer showed his potential in 2020 and looks to take a step forward in 2021. The wildcard here is bullpen arm Josh Staumont. He’ll be a heavily relied on arm for Mike Matheny in 2021 and has the potential to thrive in key situations.

Top 10 Prospects (Via MLB.com)

  1. Bobby Witt Jr. SS ETA: 2022 (7th Overall)
  2. Daniel Lynch LHP ETA: 2021 (29th Overall)
  3. Asa Lacy LHP ETA: 2022 (30th Overall)
  4. Jackson Kowar RHP ETA: 2021
  5. Kyle Isbel OF ETA: 2021
  6. Erick Pena OF ETA: 2024
  7. Nick Loftin SS ETA: 2023
  8. Jonathan Bowlan RHP ETA: 2021
  9. Nick Pratto 1B ETA: 2022
  10. Austin Cox LHP ETA: 2021

My player to watch on this list is Kyle Isbel. I’ve seen him in person, and he hit a ringing double off the right field wall. Isbel has some power potential while getting on-base at high clips and shows a good ability of hitting to his pull side. It’ll be hard for him to carve out a role with the amount of outfielders the Royals have on their roster but his tools are legit and Royals fans should be excited to have Isbel in their system. Expect him to debut at some point in 2021.

Moves that need to happen

1. More Prospects!

We already know how good the Royals farm system is and they do have a few promising trade pieces. They might as well add to that already impressive farm system. Maybe they turn guys like Wade Davis or Michael Taylor into top prospects at the trade deadline when their stock is at its highest point. This in turn, helps the team rebuild quicker and brings a more competitive atmosphere and presence to Kansas City.

2. Add more bullpen arms

As noted previously, the Royals have a few legit arms in Josh Staumont and Kyle Zimmer. Greg Holland could build off his strong 2020 campaign but other than that they are a little thin in the bullpen. Adding a veteran bullpen arm will protect some of the younger arms and provide a reliable pitcher in the bullpen.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the Royals aren’t going to make the playoffs but they do have the talent to be major spoilers come October. They’re starting to fizzle out of the rebuilding phase with the showing of Bobby Witt Jr. this spring and other top quality prospects. The Royals are looking to show something in 2021 as they start ending the rebuilding era of Royals baseball.