2019 Kansas City Royals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
When you are a small-market team that finally wins a World Series, it often means you sold your soul in one regard or another and that "payment" is coming due big time. That pretty much sums up the Kansas City Royals.
Of course, the Royals lost Game 7 of the 2014 Fall Classic to the San Francisco Bumgarners but then came right back the next year and beat the New York Mets in five. Everyone pretty much knew that was going to be the apex of this Royals iteration with a lot of homegrown talent getting too expensive.
While Kansas City hovered around .500 the next two seasons, the franchise jumped into a full-in rebuild/tank last year in winning just 58 games - the team's "over/under" was 70. Sadly, it didn't earn the Royals the top pick in this summer's amateur draft as the Baltimore Orioles were even worse.
I'd like to tell you things will be much better in 2019 for Kansas City … but I'm guessing the fans will quit on this bad baseball team by late July when the Super Bowl-favored Chiefs hit training camp.
The Royals open the season March 28 at home vs. the White Sox.
Royals Projected Lineup
We went a bit out of order to preview the Royals because they've already suffered perhaps the biggest blow of any team this spring: All-Star catcher Salvador Perez will not play in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. Perez suffered a strain in his right forearm during his offseason throwing program in January and was shut down until arriving in camp in early February. Once in camp, he complained of soreness and an MRI showed a torn UCL. Obviously, Tommy John surgery is a bigger deal for a catcher than, say, a first or second baseman.
Perez, a six-time All-Star who was one of the few foundation pieces to sign a long-term deal, hit .235 last year with 27 homers and 80 RBIs, and he's terrific behind the plate and with the team's young pitching staff. It's a major loss. Two guys I couldn't tell you much about, Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria, are expected to share time behind the plate. Really no point for the Royals to go trade for or sign someone when they have no expectations this year.
The Royals did very little this offseason, with the notable free-agent additions being former Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton and former Diamondbacks utility guy Chris Owings on one-year deals. The club did sign vastly underrated second baseman Whit Merrifield to a four-year, $16.25 million extension. He hit .304 with an American League-leading 192 hits and 45 stolen bases last season to go with 12 homers and 60 RBIs. Because Merrifield can play all over the diamond and does a little of everything at the plate, he's a fantasy baseball stud.
We are likely looking at a lineup of: 2B Merrifield, SS Adalberto Mondesi (star potential), OF Alex Gordon (Gold Glover but can't hit much these days), 1B Ryan O'Hearn, DH Jorge Soler, 3B Hunter Dozier, OF Owings, C Gallagher, OF Hamilton.
Kansas City finished 25th in runs last year and seems likely to go lower with this group.
Royals 2019 Projected Rotation & Closer
Kansas City might have made a mistake in January 2017 by signing lefty and presumed ace Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million extension. Seemed wise at the time to keep Duffy off the market after a career 2016 season, but he has regressed in the next two and has had health problems - already a shoulder issue this spring. The Royals would be happy to trade Duffy if he can build up some value back.
Another veteran on the block is Ian Kennedy, who was 3-9 with a 4.66 ERA last year. He's owed $16.5 million this year and next, so good look finding a taker. The rest of the rotation figures to be Brad Keller, Jakob Junis and Jorge Lopez. Keller looks like the new ace, going 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA a season ago.
Either new addition Brad Boxberger or re-signed Wily Peralta figures to close - or maybe they share. Peralta had 14 last year, while Boxberger had 32 in 2018 with Arizona despite a 4.39 ERA. He was worth minus-0.7 WAR.
Royals Futures Odds
At 5Dimes , Kansas City has a win total of 69.5, with both at -110. The Royals are +5500 to win the AL Central, +50000 to win the pennant and +100000 to win the World Series.
Royals 2019 Predictions
The only thing worth watching for the Royals is whether they can beat out Detroit to avoid the Central cellar again. I don't think so. FanGraphs projects 67 wins, which I'm on definitely on board with following the Perez news. Go under.
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