Kansas City Royals: 5 Players Who Need to Step Up

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

Kansas City Royals: 5 Players Who Need to Step Up

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    Heading into the '12 regular season, many thought that this would be the year for the Royals to finally break their losing ways.

    So far, that couldn't be further from the truth.

    The Royals owned a record of 3-12 and were losers of 10 straight games heading into action on Monday night.

    There are many people in the organization to blame for this horrid to start to a once promising season.

    Here are five players that need step up for the Royals immediately.

Eric Hosmer

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    First baseman Eric Hosmer busted onto the scene last May for KC and ended up finishing third in the A.L. ROY voting.

    He even had a solid spring earlier this year as well.

    However, the former first round pick of the '08 MLB draft hasn't been able to carry it over to the regular season, as he is batting just .183 with an OPS of just .635.

    The Royals need Hosmer to ramp up his offense for this team to have any chance to make it back to .500 and eventually contend for a division title this year.

Alex Gordon

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    Who hasn't been a bigger disappointment for KC than Alex Gordon so far this year?

    The reigning Royals POY has looked lost and out of place at the plate in his first 15 games of this season.

    Gordon is hitting at just a .190 clip with only four extra-base hits and 19 strikeouts to add to his lackluster performance out of the gate.

    After getting locked up to a multi-year deal last month, it's time for Alex to start earning his contract and becoming a force on offense and defense, much like he was last season.

Mitch Maier

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    Once starting center fielder Lorenzo Cain was placed on the DL earlier this month, 29-year-old backup outfielder Mitch Maier was thrust into action once again for the Royals.

    Maier is no stranger to this, as he played in 337 games during his six-year career with Kansas City.

    That being said, the former University of Toledo star needs to step up in the absence of Cain.

    He's only hitting .227 through nine games so far in 2012, and with the recent offensive slumps of KC's other two starting outfielders, the Royals simply can't afford for Maier to struggle as well.

Jeff Francoeur

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    Royals starting right fielder Jeff Francoeur enjoyed on of the best seasons of his big league career last year.

    Sadly, his high level of play in 2011 hasn't carried over to this season yet, as he is batting only .246 with just two RBI and zero homers.

    As one of the leaders of this team, Frenchy needs to pick it up, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Sanchez

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    Sanchez was traded to the Royals last offseason in order to bolster the starting rotation.

    Instead, the ex-Giant has been a major disappointment through his first three starts with KC.

    His current ERA is 6.39 and he has more walk than strikeouts so far this season.

    If the Royals are going to improve at all with their rotation in 2012, Sanchez will need to step his game up and pitch like he did for San Francisco back in the '10 campaign.