KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Owner: John Sherman, worth $1.2 billion
World Series Titles: 1985, 2015
Greatest Player: 3B George Brett
Division: AL Central
Payroll: 25th, $90,000,000
2022 Result: 65-97, 5th place in AL Central
General Manager: J.J. Picollo
Manager: Matt Quatraro, 49; Record: 0-0, 0 World Series Titles
Home Field: Kauffman Stadium, Capacity: 37,903
Key Addition: SP Jordan Lyles. Look, Lyles isn’t going to top many free agent rankings. He’s got a career ERA north of 5.00. He’s never struck out more than 10 per nine innings. Yet, few on this roster can have as significant of an impact on the Kansas City Royals’ win total. Lyles is a true innings eater, throwing 359 innings in the last two seasons. Averaging approximately 5.6 innings per start since the start of 2019, Lyles is going to save a faulty bullpen from being completely overworked.
Key Loss: SS Adalberto Mondesi. Mondesi missed much of last season, and he wasn’t particularly good. Still, his loss will be felt. Throughout the duration of his Royals tenure, Mondesi provided versatility, defense and base running, regardless of how his bat performed (which was, at times, admirably). Kansas City’s lineup is already a point of conflict, and an extra hole in the middle infield doesn’t help.
Key Injury: OF Drew Waters. Traded for the 35th pick in the 2022 draft, the Royals faithful were right to be excited about Waters. A switch hitter with speed and the power to match? It’s hard not to be. Waters actually exceeded offensive expectations in the 32 games he played in. Unfortunately, a strained oblique has hindered his hopes of gearing up during spring training. He’ll walk into his starting spot when healthy, but a slow start could be in store as his ramp-up process gets delayed.
Prospect Alert: SS Maikel Garcia. Kansas City got their first taste of Garcia last season, but it certainly wasn’t their last. It seems he won’t make the Major League roster out of camp, though he will still provide value before the season’s end. He provides a good hit tool, and both his speed and defense provide optimism. Think of him as a Ke’Bryan Hayes-type player, with lesser upside.
Scouting Report: It doesn’t take some baseball mastermind to figure out that the Royals probably aren’t going to be any good this year. More competitive than some of the less-friendly projections suggest? Sure. But there is a serious lack of high-level talent throughout this roster.
MJ Melendez and Salvador Perez give them one of the better catching duos in the sport, and they’ll both find themselves in the lineup nearly every day. The student and the professor, if you will, are both fun to watch. Elsewhere in the infield, Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino are the two best hitters in their lineup. Witt is a star in the making at short, and a legitimate power threat that doesn’t strike out will always be a prized possession at first base. Most other spots in this lineup, though, aren’t particularly threatening. None of Kyle Isbel, Hunter Dozier, Michael Massey, or Nate Eaton are scaring professional pitchers.
On the flip side, I actually like the Royals rotation, perhaps more than I should. Like their divisional counterparts in Minnesota, they lack true star talent. Yet, they seem destined for quality innings. Zack Greinke is one of my favorites to watch, and he’s retained the ability to be an adequate arm despite waning physical talent. Brady Singer is a legitimate dude, and Ryan Yarbrough, Brad Keller, and the aforementioned Lyles will eat up innings.
As for the bullpen…you may find yourself browsing the channel guide once a Royals starter gets pulled. There’s a handful of fun repertoires, and a whole lot of bad.
Over/Under Wins: 70-92, 4th place in AL Central
BetBasics Best Bet: You won’t have to worry about betting on the playoffs with this Royals team (-2000 to make them). However, a few opportunities to profit off of their 2023 season.
One futures selection I’m leaning towards is the under on their 69.5 projected win total. FanGraphs has them at 73 wins. Baseball Prospectus has them at 62.4. Of course, these aren’t meant to simply split the difference of, but this roster isn’t built to exceed the expectations FanGraphs has set for them. It very much feels that this team’s floor is significantly lower than DraftKings’ line. For that reason, I like the -115 odds on the under.
Elsewhere, one other selection stands out. That is Witt’s total hits line. Set at 152.5, DraftKings is looking favorably upon Witt’s hit tool and the amount of plate appearances he’ll generate. I don’t consider myself as high on his contact ability thanks to his more loose (less consistent) launch angles. That, combined with any close to significant loss of plate appearances, would allow this under to hit.