The Kansas City Royals 2012 season will be upon us in just a matter of months.
There is a lot of hope and promise with this team, and in order for them to reach their goal of having a winning season for the first time in nine years, they will need solid contributions from many guys on the team.
Here are five key players for KC in 2012.
Alex Gordon is coming off of a career year in which he earned POY honors for the club.
His gold-glove defense in left and emergence on offense had everyone in KC buzzing about the former University of Nebraska All-American. The Royals will expect the same kind of play and effort this season from Gordon.
He has all the talent in the world and there's no reason to think that he won't have another great season in 2012.
Left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez was acquired in a trade earlier this offseason to help bring stability to the starting rotation.
He is a big left-hander that has nasty stuff when he is on his game, which the Royals hope to see for much of this upcoming season.
Sanchez needs to be the consistent starter at the front of the rotation that this franchise has been lacking for years.
He definitely has the ability, now it's time for him to put it together for his new team this season.
To many, right-hander Bruce Chen is not the future of this organization, but he is still a key player for this squad right now.
The ex-Brave is coming off back-to-back seasons where he lead the team in wins, and his ERA was under four in both of those campaigns.
The Royals will need another solid year from Chen in '12—considering the fact that he is one of the more reliable starters that is penciled into KC's rotation right now.
I expect Chen to have another good year for Kansas City in 2012.
New CF Lorenzo Cain will be the biggest unknown in the Royals lineup this year.
Cain projects to be a better defensive outfielder than Cabrera and also has more speed.
KC will be counting on him to be their everyday center fielder this season, and they will need him to step up and fill the void of the departed Cabrera.
Second-year slugger Eric Hosmer will be a big key to the Royals success for this coming season and beyond.
The former first-round pick of the organization had a remarkable rookie campaign last season—he hit .293 with 19 homers and 87 RBI.
This year, there will be even more pressure on him to duplicate what he did in 2011 and to lead this team on offense and defense. There aren't any players on this current roster that are more key to the Royals right now than Eric Hosmer.