2021 Preview: KC Royals

-lcome to the final days before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is less than TEN days away! I am overjoyed! March began the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!

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AL Team: Kansas City Royals

Last Year Record: 26-34 4th place in the AL Central

Record x2.7: 70.2-91.8

Vegas Projected: The magic number for all you betting folks is 72.5 wins. However, I am not in on the Royals in 2021, and I got them with 70 wins on the year. I am glad they spent some money and made some moves to compete in the AL Central. I think they made all the wrong moves.

Impact Departures:

3B Maikel Franco(non-tendered), OF Erick Mejia(non-tendered), OF Bubba Starling(resigned), RHP Carlos Sanabria(resigned), SP Foster Griffin(resigned), SS Jeison Guzman(non-tendered), RHP Zach Pop(Rule 5)

Traded: OF Francy Cordero


Key Arrivals

Free Agent Signings:

-OF Jarrod Dyson. Dyson was traded to the Mariners back in 2016 for Nate Karns since he has played with the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Pirates. Looking back as recent as 2017 and since he slashed a .226/.305/.309 slash in 1145PA. In 2020 he slashed .180/.231/.180 in 66PA. However, the glove is still great with 33DRS and a 22UZR since 2017

-Signed 3B Hunter Dozier to a 4yr $25mil guarantee with a $10mil option for 2025. If he reaches all bonuses, the deal could max out at $49mil. The Royals believe in the player they saw back in 2019 when he hit 26HR and a .279/.348/.552 slash in 586PA. He did have an awful 2020 in comparison with a .228/.344/.392 slash in 186PA.

-OF Michael A. Taylor- -0.5WAR. In 92AB, he had 5HR and slashed .196/.253/.424.

-LHP Mike Minor- 5.56ERA/4.64FIP, 3.10K/BB rate 9.8K/9 over 56.2IP. 2yr $19mil guaranteed contract

1B/DH Carlos Santana- It is worth noting the 35yo success he has had against the Royals with 31HR and 93RBI. In 2020 the slugger had one of his worst career years with a .199/.349/.350 of 255PA with the Indians. In 2019 Santana earned his first All-Star appearance with a .281/.397/.515 and 34HR for the Indians.

RHP Greg Holland- The 35yo pitched to a 1.91ERA/2.52FIP with a 27.7% strikeout rate, 6.3% walk rate over 28.IP over 28 games in 2020.

VIA Trade:

OF Andrew Benintendi

Claims:

C Sebastian Rivero, LHP Daniel Tillo, and LHP Angel Zerpa.

Key NRI:

RHP Brad Brach- Brach struggled in 2020 after losing more than 4MHP on his fastball. He struggled with command posting a 24.1%K and BB rate.

SP Ervin Santana- Welcome back to one of the best players and men off the field. The 38yo will look to compete for a rotation spot and keep the fire alive!

RHP Wade Davis- If Davis makes the MLB roster with a strong showing in spring training, he will earn $1.25mil.

OF Bubba Starling-Over 261PA at the MLB level, he owns a slash line of .2048.246/.298 between the 2019-20 seasons. The former 5th overall pick in 2011 will look to make good on his draft capital, nearly ten years later.

RHP Carlos Sanabria- The 24yo made his MLB debut in 2020, having just 2IP in 2 games. Since signing out of Venezuela in 2014, he has spent his career in the MiLB with the Astros posting a 3.81ERA, 8.9K/9 over 354IP.

LHP Foster Griffin made his MLB debut in 2020, having just 1.2IP before tearing his UCL in his first outing, and will miss all of 2021. Griffin was the Royals first-round pick in 2014 and has posted a 4.77ERA, 2.19K/BB ratio over 708IP.

INF Hanser Alberto- Since the start of the 2019 season, he owns a .299/.322/.413 slash with 17HR over 781PA. He can also play 2B and 3B.

NRI:

INF Eric Mejia, INF Jeison Guzman, LHP Jake Brentz, SHP Jake Kalish, LHP Erik Skoglund, LHP Gabe Speier, C Nick Dini, C Freddy Fermin, INF Gabriel Cancel, INF Clay Dungan, INF Emmanuel Rivera, OF Anderson Miller

Tendered:

RHP Jesse Hahn,SP Jakob Junis, 1B Hunter Dozier, DH Jorge Soler, SP Brad Keller, SS Adalberto Mondesi

Returning from IL:

OF Jorge Soler, OF Bubba Starling, RHP Greg Holland, RHP Kyle Zimmer, RHP Glenn Sparkman, LHP Foster Griffin

Prospect Watch in Camp

-LHP Asa Lacy, INF Bobby Whit Jr., LHP Daniel Lynch, RHP Jackson Kowar, OF Kyle Isbel, RHP Jonathan Bowlan, INF Nick Pratto, C MJ Melendez, OF Seuly Matias, RHP Jon Heasley, LHP Austin Cox, RHP Alec Marsh- Each is top 30 Prospects, and each is non-roster invites.

-The Rookies to watch this season are SP Asa Lacy and INF Bobby Whit Jr. Both of these players have the immense talent to give the Royals. I am most interested in Lacy as he got an invite to camp and was the Royals' top choice in last season's draft. It will be interesting to see if he showed enough at the alternate site to win a job this spring.

-Daniel Lynch looked excellent in his start on 3/13.

-P Daniel Tillo, P Angels Zerpa, P Eric Skoglund, P Scott Blewett, P Ronals Bolanos, C Meibrys Viloria, RF Edward Olivares were each re-assigned to MiLB camp.

Fantasy Impact Players

-Pitchers- I would stay away from all Royals pitchers and pick them up as needed off waivers.

-Position- C Salvador Perez, 2B Nicky Lopez, SS Adalberto Mondesi, OF Andrew Benintendi, OF Jorge Soler, OF Whit Merrifield

Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:

-The Royals will have legendary and cornerstone C Salvador Perez, a free agent they hope to keep in town or do the right thing and let him go and win another ring.

-DH/OF Jorge Soler will also be a free agent, and I see a big season coming.

-Danny Duffy(33), Greg Holland(36), Michael Taylor(31), Jesse Hahn(32), Ervin Santana(39), Jarrod Dyson(37), Wade Davis(36), Brad Brach(36) will not be helping the youth movement and next-gen of talent for the Royals. Note: all ages are end of the season.

Storylines to follow

-GM Dayton Moore plans to field a competitive team in 2021 to compete with the Twins, White Sox, and Indians.

-The NRI to watch for the Royals are two pitchers. SP Ervin Santana and RP Wade Davis. In their late 30's, both are ties to KC, and both want to go out on a high note.

-The Royals have discussed long-term extensions with Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi.

-The Royal's power bats have been on display in spring ball. 1B Nick Pratto, Jorge Soler, and Andrew Benintendi have each been flexing.

Bold Predictions

-The rebound is coming for OF Andrew Benintendi. The newly acquired OF needed a change of scenery. I think the Royals are a great fit for the 26yo. He brings a young vet presence to a team that has 12/30 top prospects in camp this spring. Don't be surprised when Benintendi is bringing wins to KC.

-The breakout is coming for 2B Whit Merrifield. The 32yo showed well enough in 2020 to get me to believe in him. Slashing a .282/.325/.440 in 248AB. Two full seasons, playing in every game has me all-in on the 32yo. I believe in him, do you? Also, don't sleep on SS Adalberto Mondesi.

Fact Check:

The team stadium's namesake was pretty cool. Ewing Kauffman is his name, and he's led a remarkable life. From being bedridden as a child to launching a foundation to help kids afford college, this man has done it all.

They were named after a livestock show. You might have assumed the name "Royals" came from some connection to royalty. But in reality, the team was named after the American Royal livestock show held every year in Kansas City. When the city had the team's naming contest, some of the alternative submissions were names like "Mules" and "Cowpokes."


Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing and previewing the Royals 2021. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.

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