The Kansas City Royals are off to a dismal start to the season, currently at a record of 3-9—and winless through their first six games at home.
The Royals were expected by many to make the leap to the ranks of higher-level teams this season, with some of the best prospects from their farm system being called up to the big leagues.
"They wanted to come home and show our fans, 'Hey, we are a team to be excited about,'" Royals manager Ned Yost told kcroyals.com. "Because there was a lot of excitement in spring training and they really wanted to show 'em how good they were, instead of just relaxing and playing the game."
The Royals started the season well, beating Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels, in two of three games in their season-opening series.
Their next win came against the Oakland Athletics on April 10. The Royals are in the midst of a seven-game skid over the past nine days, prompting many to mark off the Royals as the same perennial bottom feeders they've been for the past few years.
Many Royals think the team had overblown expectations coming into the season, with everybody expecting them to make the jump to a team in the playoff hunt in just one year.
"We're trying so hard, everybody's trying to hit a grand slam with nobody on," Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "We're all swinging at stuff you don't see us swinging at normally, trying to get it all back in one swing. Trying to get five wins in one night where we just need to take it one game at a time."
The Royals have had the top-ranked farm system in baseball for a few years, and this year is supposed to be the one where all of their solid draft-picks and player development will finally come to fruition and make a mark that shows up in the standings.
Kansas City will need Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon to turn around their terrible start to the season at the plate.
Hosmer is deemed by some the next Albert Pujols, and in Hosmer's first season in the majors last year he batted .293 in 128 games. He has been batting .167 in his first 12 games this season, a trend he will need to reverse if he wants to live up to his potential at the plate.
Alex Gordon is also in a slump, hitting just .147 so far this year after leading the team in home runs last season. Gordon batted .303 last year, a stellar batting average that he should replicate this time around.
Right now, the Royals are led in all major batting categories by one of the older players, Billy Butler.
Butler is leading the team in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI and OBP (on-base percentage). He has been a mainstay the past few years in Kansas City and he should provide some leadership for some of the younger guys on the team.
The Royals' roster is the youngest in baseball, which could be the source of their troubles. Right now, the younger players fresh out of the farm system need to step up if the Royals want to turn the tide and get their season back on track.
The organization's motto for this campaign is "Our Time." Every fan is waiting to see if they can turn it around and live up to the gigantic expectations.