Kansas City Royals 2009 Preview: KC Poised for Improvement

Bare KnucksAnalyst IMarch 17, 2009

Kansas City Royals 2008 Review

The Kansas City Royals opened their 2008 campaign with a sweep of the highly touted Detroit Tigers, in Detroit nonetheless. This raised the hopes and expectations of Royals fans to a rather high level. However, those hopes of maybe finishing the season above .500 were dashed quickly after that. Nevertheless, the Royals did manage to increase their win total from the 2007 season and finish fourth in the AL Central.

Overall the 2008 season has to be viewed as a positive one. Jose Guillen shined offensively, sporting the team’s only 20+ home run season, and also finished with a respectable 97 RBI. David DeJesus’ contributions certainly cannot be overlooked as well, as he managed to hit .307 and score 70 runs for the Royals in 2008.

Despite decent seasons from players such as those two offensively, the Royals' real strength came from their young pitching staff. Gil Meche and Zack Greinke won 14 and 13 games respectively, both finishing with ERAs under 4.00 and 183 strikeouts.

Ramon Ramirez and Joakim Soria anchored what had become a dominant bullpen at times throughout the season. Ramirez averaged nearly a strikeout per inning pitched to go along with his 2.64 ERA, and Soria was utterly dominant on the hill, boasting a 1.60 ERA and also averaging approximately one strikeout per inning pitched.

Despite these strong performances on the hill, the Royals weren’t able to finish any higher than fourth in was an average AL Central division.


Kansas City Royals 2009 Preview

The Kansas City Royals come into 2009 with high hopes after seeing the potential flashed by the 2008 club. I believe this year, however, that the excitement is warranted. Despite losing Ramon Ramirez to the Boston Red Sox, the Royals’ bullpen remains one of its strong points. They signed Juan Cruz in the offseason to help fill the void left by Ramirez.

Coco Crisp was brought over in the deal involving Ramirez. He should provide an excellent spark offensively, utilizing his speed to set the table for that powerful heart of the order featuring DeJesus, Guillen, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon. He also brings a sensational glove to the center of that outfield.

Look for much of the same in terms of starting pitching for Kansas City in 2009 with Meche and Greinke again providing sufficient production at the top.

Kansas City’s 2009 roster is similar in style to the 2008 version, but the younger talent has become more experienced and should help the Royals to yet again improve on their win total from the previous year. I believe that this year they will also improve on that fourth place finish from a year ago.


Kansas City Royals Surprise Player of 2009

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