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Royals in 2013

As the 2012 season winds down, the Royals will end with yet another disappointing season. Going into this year, tons of optimism surrounded this team. With the likes of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas entering their full first year in the bigs, Danny Duffy, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen in the rotation after finishing off the 2011 season on a strong note. Expectations then dropped off during the first home stand of the year; with the Royals losing their first 10 games. Trying to dig out of a big hole, the Royals got as close as 4 games under .500. After an abysmal July, the Royals are poised for another losing season. To transition a negative into a positive lets look at the upside for 2013, by position.

Catcher:
After signing Salvador Perez to an extension, he is the future. The question was, after knee surgery, how was he going to come back. His numbers do not lie, .313 8HR and 17 RBI’s in 37 games. Let me enlighten you with this, in 76 career games in the major leagues, Salvador is hitting .323/.350/.507. Healthy I think is an understatement.

First Base:
After a very successful first season in the majors, the highest of expectations were carried by Eric Hosmer coming into this season. After his rookie year his number read .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers and 78 RBI’s in 128 games. Hosmer has disappointed this season so far going .228/.299/.353 with 10 homers and 49 RBI’s. There’s no question that Hosmer is the first baseman of the future, with a great ceiling. Hosmer looks to snap this slump before the end of this season, but hopefully the sophomore slump will just be a sophomore slump.

Billy Butler is an under-average first baseman with a great, consistent bat. He will primarily play DH, like he always has. (See Designated Hitter)

Second Base:
The biggest question going into next season is the question of second base. With Chris Getz having a great 2012 season, I would expect to see him starting in 2013. But with Christian Colon’s recent promotion to AAA and Johnny Giavotella playing a little 3rd base in the minors, I fully expect to see Colon in the 2nd base spot sometime next season barring an injury or an unproductive beginning of the year. Maybe a trade will happen this offseason to open this position up a little more. With the bad defense from Giavotella, and the recent surge in the bat of Getz, look for Chris Getz to begin 2013 as opening day 2nd baseman, but Colon not far behind

Third Base:
MOOOOOOSEE!!! A fan favorite around Kauffman Stadium is the Royals now and future 3rd baseman. Moose has had a good, not great, but good second year in the majors. His numbers are around .256/.306/.451 with 18 homers and 54 RBI’s. Not only has he shown his bat, but for an ‘average’ third baseman, he sure knows how to flash the leather. For the Royals to be a successful team, Moose has to be the player everyone saw in the minors.

Shortstop:
Biggest surprise of 2013 is Alcides Escobar’s bat. His numbers are at  .297/.337/.404 with 4 homers and 39 RBI’s. Firmly placing himself in the #2 hole in the lineup. Escobar, as well, is an outstanding defensive shortstop. If he can keep up his hitting he could put himself in a few All Star Games.

Left Field:
Alex Gordon at the beginning of the season lost his swing. Maybe because he has been moved up and down and up and down the lineup. Recently, put back in the leadoff spot and has hit better than .300. If Alex Gordon can keep the bat going like the second half of this season, he could stay in that leadoff spot and be very productive. It also does help out his case that he is a gold glover and has a rocket for an arm.

Center Field:
Lorenzo Cain, brought in to be the everyday center fielder, went on the DL early in the season. During his rehab he had a long setback. Since coming back from the DL, Cain has been the player that everyone thought he would be. Showing his average, power, speed; also showing his defensive skills we saw flashes of in the very short time at the beginning of the season. Hitting in the 3 hole is not in Lorenzo’s future here in KC, but he could be a great 2 hole hitter or somewhere in the bottom to provide a spark.

Right Field:
Wil Myers. No question that he has killed minor league pitching. With Jeff Francoeur blocking him here in the majors (or supposedly blocking him. I don’t know how someone as bad as Francoeur has been this season can block anyone.) Wil Myers has shown scouts everything they need to see and when Myers joins the major league roster in September, he won’t be leaving.

Designated Hitter:
Billy Butler has proven that he is an elite hitter in this league. This year already passing his career high in home runs and still going. Billy has proven over the past few year that he can consistently give you a .290 average, 18+ home runs, 85+ RBI’s and help the team win. This year he is showing his power, playing 113 games he had 24 home runs and 73 RBI’s with a .302 average. Billy is KC icon (Ask Robinson Cano) and will be the leader of this team for years to come. Clint Robinson may start the season in the majors, providing some pop off the bench and to provide Butler or Hosmer with a day off.

Projected 2013 Opening Day Lineup:
1. Alex Gordon – LF
2. Alcides Escobar – SS
3. Mike Moustakas – 3B
4. Billy Butler – DH
5. Salvador Perez -C
6. Eric Hosmer – 1B
7. Wil Myers – RF
8. Lorenzo Cain – CF
9. Chris Getz – 2B

Bench:
Jarrod Dyson
Irving Falu
Brayan Pena

Starting Pitching:
Dayton Moore can strikeout or hit a homerun in free agency this year. He does not have the history of wowing anyone, yet hes never had this much major league ready talent.  Every year he seems to surprise everyone with a less than stellar free agent signing. This offseason, I would like to see Dayton Moore ink a guy like Shawn Marcum, a guy with Kansas City ties. If we went off past signees, we would see a guy like Jair Jurrjens. Here’s where I see the rotation looking like.

1. Shawn Marcum – Free agent signee, Kansas City native, now best pitcher on the Royals
2. Bruce Chen – And yet again, there he is.
3. Luke Hochevar – Never know what your gonna get.
4. Jake Odorizzi – Having a good year in the minors, should be a little higher, but Dayton has Luke Hochevar love.
5. Jeremy Guthrie – First full year with the club, giving his past he will get a shot.

Alternates:
Will Smith and Luis Mendoza are the only other players that have a shot at seeing a spot in the rotation to begin the season. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino will see the rotation whenever they return from surgery. Also, John Lamb could very well get a mid season look if he comes off the surgery well.

Bullpen:
Everett Teaford – Been good as a long reliever, not so good as a starter.
Luis Mendoza – If he doesn’t make the rotation.
Aaron Crow – Down year, they might try and stretch him out to see if he can be a starter during spring training.
Tim Collins – Dominating 2012 season.
Kelvin Herrera – Looking to be lights out, he needs to upgrade his breaking ball
Greg Holland – Nasty stuff. If Joakim Soria does not recover by the beginning of the season, here is your closer.
Louis Coleman – Great stuff. Good addition to the pen
Jeremy Jeffress – His problems gone??

I could be extremely wrong on all of this. We all know that sometimes the front office does some questionable things, or just really surprising things. Who knows, Jeff Francoeur could begin the season as a Royal. All I know is, its OUR TIME….right?

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