2021 Kansas City Royals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
Believe it or not, the Kansas City Royals were actually a good team not too long ago. In 2014, the Royals finished second in the AL Central with a record of 89-73 and went on to beat the A’s, Angels, and Orioles in the postseason only to lose to the Giants in Game 7 of the World Series. The following year, the Royals got over the hump. They finished first in the division and beat the Astros, Blue Jays and Mets to secure the franchise’s second World Series banner. Since then, the Royals have finished no better than third in the division and have not had a record above .500. That includes last year’s COVID-shortened season where they finished 26-34 and fourth in the division. Given what they are working with this year, it’ll be a giant ask for them to get to the .500 mark this season.
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The Royals will open the regular season on April 1 with a three-game home series against the Texas Rangers. From there, the Royals travel to Cleveland for a two-game set and then Chicago for three against the White Sox. The Royals come into this season as an afterthought to win the World Series as they check in at +7500. They are +4500 to win the AL Pennant and +2000 to win the AL Central. Their win total has been set at 72.5.
Royals 2021 Projected Lineup
One quick look at the Royals batting order and you’ll quickly see why they are projected to miss the postseason for the sixth straight season. Their projected lineup for opening day looks like this:
- Whit Merrifield
- Andrew Benintendi
- Adalberto Mondesi
- Carlos Santana
- Salvador Perez
- Jorge Solar
- Hunter Dozier
- Nicky Lopez
- Michael Taylor
The Royals made a big splash by acquiring Benintendi from the Red Sox, and he should help solidify the top of the order despite having a very bad season last year. He batted just .193 and managed just 52 plate appearances due to injury. If we look at the year prior, he managed 13 homeruns, scored 72 runs and drove in 68, with 10 stolen bases. The projections for this season have him around the same numbers, with 16 homeruns, 70 runs and 62 RBIs. If they can get that kind of production – or more – from the former Red Sox player, the Royals will have gotten a steal on their trade.
Behind him, the next five hitters are expected to produce power numbers that could keep the Royals competitive this season. Mondesi, Santana, Perez, Soler and Dozer are projected to hit 19, 22, 28, 34 and 22 homeruns, respectively. Those numbers are exponentially better than what they produced last season even in the shortened season. If these guys can’t produce, the Royals are going to be in trouble because as you will see below, the pitching rotation leaves a lot to be desired.
Royals 2021 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Royals pitching staff will be the biggest question mark for this season. They currently have just four guys penciled into the starting rotation, with the fifth likely to come from the bullpen. With a division that has a bunch of solid pitchers, this could be their downfall in every game.
Brad Keller is the undoubted “ace” of the staff. And at just 25-years-old, he’ll be relied upon to do the bulk of the heavy lifting. He pitched well last season, starting nine games and posting a record of 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA. That is his lowest ERA in three Major League seasons. He’s projected to have an average year, with 28 starts and a win/loss record of 10-10 with a 4.45 ERA.
Beyond him, Mike Minor, Brady Singer and Danny Duffy are all pitchers looking to have bounce-back seasons. Each one of these pitchers had an ERA north of 4.06, with Singer coming in at that mark. Minor split his time with the Royals and Rangers last season and was terrible. He went 1-6 with a 5.56 ERA in 12 starts. If he can’t be the pitcher the Royals are looking for to help the top end of the rotation, the Royals’ pitching rotation is screwed.
As for the bullpen, Greg Holland is starting the season as the closer and is projected to save 16 games and have an ERA of around 4.44. If he falters, which, he’s been known to do, Josh Staumont will be next in line to close out games and he’s projected to convert 10 ball games. Newly acquired Wade Davis comes over from the Rockies, and he’ll be relied upon to keep for his experience and leadership with a younger bullpen.
Royals 2021 Predictions
FanGraphs projects the Royals to finish with a record of 77-85, which would put them fourth in the AL Central and result in another missed playoffs. It’s easy to see why as the lineup doesn’t have any star power, and the rotation is patched together in a way that just won’t last over the full 162-game season. Give me the under on the win total.
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