It’s been nearly 30 years since the Kansas City Royals won the World Series, and incidentally that was the last time they made an appearance in the playoffs as well. 2013 was by far the best season in recent history for the Royals, and as they look to build off of momentum from last year they are going to need to keep in mind three keys to success as the season unfolds.
General Manager Dayton Moore made arguably the most noise last offseason in his tenure as GM when he signed pitchers James Shields and Ervin Santana. Both had very good seasons for the ball club, quite possibly the best pitching Kansas City has seen since Zack Greinke. With the departure of Santana to Atlanta, the Royals signed former Angel Jason Vargas and through two starts already this season, the Royals haven’t lost much with the absence of Santana.
Its cliché, but pitching is definitely what wins games in baseball. With James Shields, Jason Vargas, Yordano Ventura, Bruce Chen, and Jeremy Guthrie completing the rotation for the Royals, depth seems to be a strong point for the club that has not always been that way. With Danny Duffy as a possible sixth starter in the organization, the Royals will need to rely on their pitching staff through the summer into a playoff push.
Through six games this season the Royals are the only team yet to record a home run, but nonetheless, power is going to be crucial for the Royals this season. I have already stated my opinion on Billy Butler in a previous piece, but as long as he is on the team he is going to need to be extremely productive this year along with Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon in order to provide runs for the ball club. Kauffmann Stadium is not known as a hitter’s park, but half of the teams games are on the road so there is no excuse as to why more production can’t come from the 3, 4, and 5 hitters.
If this were 2012 or 2013 my third point would have been patience, but it is 2014 and patience is something that has been preached for years and fans are tired of it, as they have a right to be. The Royals ball club has a lot of pieces in place in order to compete in the American League Central but they have to compete the entire 162 games. Younger players sometimes have a tendency to play well early in the year in April and late in the season in September, but the grind takes place in the heat of summer and we all know how July days can be in Kansas City. It’s not always fun to be outside period in July in KC, let alone play baseball, but in order for this team to make the playoffs in 2014 persistence with be huge.
2014 has the possibility for being a very special season in Kansas City, and something that the organization and the city have not seen in quite some time.
Read more here.