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Kansas City Royals: 4 Reasons a Winning Season Is Right Around the Corner

Alex BaconCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2016

Kansas City Royals: 4 Reasons a Winning Season Is Right Around the Corner

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    The Kansas City Royals have not had too much success over the past couple of years—they have not had a winning record since 2003.

    But a winning season could be right around the corner.

    Since Kansas City isn’t one of the major markets in baseball, the Royals can't go out and buy players like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox can.

    The Royals need to rely on drafts and scouting to find quality players, and they have been doing just that.

    The Royals haven't clinched a playoff spot since 1985, the only season the team has ever won the World Series.

    The team is improving, though. It has been five years since the Royals finished in last place in the AL Central, and this year, they actually made the jump up to third place.

    Within the next couple of years, the Royals could find themselves on the opposite side of .500, and maybe even in the playoffs.

Youth

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    The Royals are the third-youngest team in the MLB after the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, and the young players are the ones that lead the team. 

    Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur, who are both 28 years old, are the oldest of the core batters on the Royals. Alcides Escobar is 25, Billy Butler is 26, Mike Moustakas is 24 and Salvador Perez is 22.

    The Royals are also loaded with young prospects that will see some time in the MLB in the near future.

    Jake Odorizzi, who was acquired in the Zack Greinke trade, started two games this season for the Royals. He still needs some time to develop, but he will impact the pitching staff once he becomes a consistent starter.

    Also, outfielder Wil Myers may be playing in the MLB in years to come. He is ranked the No. 1 outfield prospect according to MLB.com.

Salvador Perez

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    Salvador Perez’s season did not go as planned this year.

    After signing a huge contract, he missed almost 100 games with a knee injury to begin the season. 

    Despite missing so much time, Perez still managed a batting average of .301, which was second on the Royals to Billy Butler.

    Perez is a valuable catcher and if he stays healthy next season, he can play an important role in the Royals’ lineup.

    The Royals are expecting big things out of Perez. He should put up at least 20 home runs and 70 RBI next season, and only improve in years to come.

Depth

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    Believe it or not, the Royals are actually a deep team.

    In the 2012 season, four players had a batting average of over .290 and the Royals' overall team average was .265, ranking Kansas City tied for seventh in the MLB.

    They have all the necessary keys in a lineup to be a good baseball team, too.

    Butler, Francoeur and Moustakas are great power hitters, Escobar and Jarrod Dyson can provide speed on base, and Gordon and Perez can hit for average.

    Having a good offense isn’t enough to make a team elite in the MLB, though.

    The Royals’ biggest flaw is their starting rotation. Bruce Chen led the team in wins last year, and he only had 11. Chen, Luke Hochevar and Will Smith all had an ERA of over five.

    The Royals were able to experiment with starting pitching a little bit, though. Thirteen total pitchers started at least one game for the Royals this year. In the future, if they can narrow it down to a solid five then they could win more games.

    As for the bullpen, the Royals do not need to make many changes. They averaged a 3.17 ERA this past season, which ranked them sixth in the MLB. 

    Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Greg Holland are all above-average relief pitchers.

    All four of these pitchers are relatively young, and some of them could serve as good trade bait for a decent starting pitcher.

Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur

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    The two most well-known players on the Royals are Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur, and they serve as leaders in the clubhouse and on the field.

    Butler finally peaked this year: He hit 29 home runs with 107 RBI and batted .313. Expect him to continue playing well for the Royals as the offense is partially based around him.

    Francoeur, on the other hand, did not have a great season. Statistically, it was actually his worst season in the MLB since he started playing in 2005.

    If he can contribute to the Royals’ offense like he did to the Atlanta Braves’ offense earlier in his career, the Royals will start seeing more runs produced.

    Francoeur is a natural power-hitter, so if his bat can heat up in years to come then the wins will follow.

    The Royals offense is based around Butler and Francoeur. If they can lead by example, the Royals will start to win more games.

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