Kansas City Royals Last Season Performance
The Kansas City Royals started off the 2021 season on a high note. They found themselves near the top of the standings in the American League Central and had many believing that perhaps this was the year that they would become competitive again.
But the Royals faltered after their hot start and ultimately finished in fourth place in the Central with a 74-88 record.
But fans are increasingly growing impatient in KC, as the team has not made the postseason since 2015. Although they were able to win the World Series in 2015, Royals fans are hungry for another dynasty in Kansas City.
Since 1985, the Royals have only seen postseason action twice.
This is a team on the verge of potentially overcoming the rebuilding years and possibly placing a winner on the diamond in 2022.
Their key to success begins with the starting rotation. With a plethora of young arms in the rotation, the Royals could develop one of the better pitching staffs if the young arms can live up to their ceilings.
RHP Brady Singer struggled with inconsistency last year, but he is a breakout star in the making. Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Brad Keller, Kris Bubic and others all have chances to to become quality big league pitchers. Last year the majority of these pitchers struggled as the Royals finished 21st in team ERA.
But they could be in line for a turnaround in 2022.
Offensively, Kansas City has a number of well-established players. Catcher Salvador Perez and INF/OF Whit Merrifield are talented veterans who have the capability to lead this otherwise youthful lineup.
Merrifield is still a threat on the basepaths who sports a high average despite a slight decline in 2021. Perez posted an incredible 2021 campaign, as the catcher tied for the league lead in home runs with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with a mark of 48.
Infielder Adalberto Mondesi is a major question mark for this team. He was projected to be one of the top base stealers in the league while adding sneaky power, but he missed the majority of the campaign due to injury. Health will be of the utmost importance for Mondesi in 2022.
The Royals labored through most of 2021, but they have to be excited for the future with the young talent on the roster. They will look to keep their underperformance in 2021 in the past and start fresh in 2022.
Kansas City Royals Off-Season Changes
Things have mostly stayed the same in Kansas City this offseason.
They did lose some players to free agency including Ervin Santana, Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Jesse Hahn. Ryan McBroom and Kyle Zimmer were also released by the team.
They signed rather non-impactful names such as Taylor Clarke, JaCoby Jones, Ivan Castillo, and Arodys Viscaino. These moves were made mainly for depth purposes.
Mike Matheny remains the Royals manager for entering 2022. However, the organization did make a number of changes to the rest of the coaching staff. Keoni DeRenne was signed to be the assistant hitting coach and Damon Hollins will be Royal’s first base coach.
Kansas City Royals Key Additions
As aforementioned, the Royals have not made any season-changing moves during the off-season. But some of their acquisitions could pay off in the long run.
The Royals bullpen was bad in 2021. But the signing of Arodys Viscaino could strengthen the relief corps. Although Viscaino has not pitched in the major leagues since 2019, he posted ERA’s under three from 2017-2019 during his time in Atlanta.
He also could be a good veteran presence for a very young pitching staff. At just 31 years old, Viscaino might have something left in the tank.
At just 26 years old, Richard Lovelady is a solid left-handed reliever. He posted a quality 3.48 ERA in 20 games with Kansas City last season. After initially electing free agency in late November, Lovelady immediately re-signed with the Royals in early December.
The Royals organization has demonstrated an ability to develop pitchers in the past, so Lovelady will become a key part of this club in 2022 if he continues to progress.
Outfielder JaCoby Jones has spent his entire six-year career with the Detroit Tigers before signing with Kansas City this offseason. Jones has seen limited action for the most part during his tenure, and he has mainly posted underwhelming numbers.
But he is a player who can patrol center field and possesses the ability to track down baseballs in the outfield. Jones profiles as a decent fourth or fifth outfielder.
With an unclear organizational direction, it is difficult to predict if Kansas City will have an interest in bringing in any top-tier free agents once the MLB lockout comes to an end. For now, it seems as if the Royals will lean towards focusing on developing their young players. But it is possible that they shock the baseball community and make a run for a high-profile free agent.
Kansas City Royals Key Subtractions
The subtractions have been far more noteworthy than the additions during the offseason for the Royals.
The relief duo of Greg Holland and Wade Davis was once regarded as arguably the best relief tandem in baseball. The problem is that Davis and Holland were referred to in that manner back in 2014 and 2015.
Davis returned to Kansas City following one successful season in Chicago and then three underwhelming seasons with the Rockies. He did not fare much better in his return to the Royals, as the veteran reliever posted a 6.75 ERA in 40 games.
Holland returned to Kansas City in 2020 and finished the shortened season with a 1.91 ERA. But he regressed in 2021 to the tune of a 4.85 ERA.
We have likely seen the last of Holland and Davis in Kansas City.
Ervin Santana has had a number of impressive seasons under his belt in the major leagues, but 2021 was not one of them. He struggled mightily with a 4.68 ERA. Santana is better suited to find a competing team where he can play a lesser role.
Hanser Alberto is one of the more underrated utility players in baseball. The slugging infielder has hit over .270 in each of the past three seasons and possesses infield versatility, as he has experience at third base, second base, and shortstop.
Kansas City might have an interest in re-signing Alberto once the lockout comes to an end, but there is no question that many teams would love to have a versatile infielder who can hit at a respectable level on their rosters.
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Kansas City Royals Head Coach Analysis
Head coach Mike Matheny has managed at the big league level since 2012. After seven years in St. Louis that saw him lead the Cardinals to multiple postseason appearances while clinching a National League Pennant in 2013, Matheny took on the task of helping the Royals return to contention in 2020.
So far Kansas City has endured only losing seasons over Matheny’s two years with the team. But that was to be expected given the franchise’s strategy. But the patience for losing is growing thin as Matheny prepares to enter his third season in KC.
Matheny will look to guide the Royals back to the postseason in the near future.
Kansas City Royals Injured Players at the beginning of the season
The Royals suffered a number of significant injuries in 2021, some of which may be a concern for players heading into 2022.
Veteran starting pitcher Mike Minor was diagnosed with left shoulder impingement syndrome in September of last year. Shoulder injuries are never a good sign especially for 34-year-old veteran pitchers like Minor.
Brady Singer went on the injured list with an arm ailment during the last week of the 2021 campaign. While Kansas City believes he will be okay this season, expect the Royals to closely monitor the 25-year-old pitcher in 2022.
Another starting pitcher who is probable for the beginning of the season is Brad Keller who is recovering from a late injury. Similar to Minor and Singer, he is expected to be okay for Spring Training. But Keller will be somebody to keep an eye on this year.
Prospect Jonathan Bowlan was enjoying a nice season in Double-A before he needed to leave his fourth start of the season with an elbow injury. Unfortunately, the 24-year old needed Tommy John’s surgery and is expected to miss most of 2022.
Finally, Adalberto Mondesi dealt with injuries for the majority of the 2021 campaign. The 26-year-old still has the potential to become a star in the big leagues, but he needs to be able to remain on the field.
Kansas City Royals Prediction for 2022 Season
The Kansas City Royals could be better in 2022.
I don’t see this team making a run at the division with the talent of the Chicago White Sox and even teams like Cleveland and Detroit standing in their way. But the Royals have plenty of young talent which could all come together this year.
One more player who we have failed to discuss is top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. The 21-year-old infielder features loads of potential and many scouts have already called him the next big thing in baseball.
Between Triple-A and Double-A last year, Witt Jr. posted a combined slash line of .290/.361/.576 to go along with a .936 OPS. Witt Jr. also flashed 30/30 potential with 33 home runs and 29 stolen bases.
He is a natural shortstop who possesses plenty of range, but the Royals have had him work at third base as well just in case a spot opens up at the third base in the big leagues faster than shortstop.
There were many who believed Witt Jr. was ready for the Major Leagues last year. So there is a good chance that Bobby Witt Jr. will see plenty of big league action in 2022.
If Witt Jr. ends up on the Royals roster, his talent combined with sluggers such as Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, and Carlos Santana could lead to an underlying decent offense in Kansas City.
I would say their 2022 peak is second place in the American League Central. On the other hand, their floor is last place due to the youth of the pitching staff. Check their MLB Odds for this season.
Kansas City Royals Final Thoughts
Regardless of where they finish, Kansas City will be a fun team to watch in 2022. Witt Jr is one of the top prospects in baseball and it will be intriguing to see when he gets called up.
Brady Singer is a breakout candidate. The young right-hander has flashed signs of star potential but various injuries and inconsistencies have held him back from becoming a star. 2022 could be the season it all comes together for Singer.
The Royals are attempting to build a dynasty, and it would not be at all surprising to see this team becoming the class of the American League in a few years. Check out their MLB Lines for the season.