Jason Miller/Getty Images
A full season of Salvador Perez should be a very good thing for the Royals.
The last time the Kansas City Royals were in the playoffs they won the World Series.
That was 27 years ago.
The Royals currently own the longest playoff drought in all of Major League Baseball and suffice to say, it finally got to them. This past winter the team addressed the biggest flaw in its lineup: starting pitching.
In order to win, a team has to make some sacrifices. For the Royals, that sacrifice came in the form of mega-prospect Wil Myers being shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, in return the team managed to get James Shields and Wade Davis, or, 40 percent of its 2013 starting rotation. In addition, the team traded for Ervin Santana from the Angels and managed to re-sign Jeremy Guthrie.
Suddenly their starting rotation looks good—this good: Shields, Guthrie, Santana, Davis and Luis Mendoza, Luke Hochevar or Bruce Chen; take your pick.
Throughout his career, Shields has had slightly elevated numbers while pitching against AL Central opponents. As a reference point, Shields owns a career 3.89 ERA and 1.223 WHIP with a .544 winning percentage and an average of roughly 6.2 innings per game.
Against the likes of the Tigers, White Sox, Indians and Twins he is 13-11 in 40 games with a 4.12 ERA and 1.341 WHIP. That equates to a .541 winning percentage while going an average of 6.2 innings.
When pitching in AL Central opponents' home fields, Shields owns a 5-3 record in 16 games with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.281 WHIP in 101.1 innings of work, or roughly 6.1 innings per outing.
Other than the obvious spike in ERA, his numbers have been fairly consistent.
By comparison, Bruce Chen, the winningest pitcher for the Royals in 2012 and last year's Opening Day starter, owns a lifetime 20-21 record against the AL Central with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.425 WHIP in 72 career games and 327.2 innings. That works out to a .487 winning percentage.
When pitching in their home fields, Chen is 11-14 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.357 WHIP in 38 games and 169.2 innings. That is a .440 winning percentage.
The Royals will now likely be the fashionable pick to finish second in the AL Central and fight for a wild-card slot.
Just because the pick will be trendy will not make it any less surprising should they succeed. There is a lot riding on the development of first baseman Eric Hosmer this season as well as that of third baseman Mike Moustakas. The two combined for a .237 batting average in 2012.
Additionally, the Royals will get a full season out of their young catcher Salvador Perez, a man who only played in 76 games last season but still posted a .301 batting average with .471 slugging percentage. He racked up 11 home runs, 16 doubles and drove in 39 runs in half of a season.
In truth, the Royals could really turn some heads if all of these stars align.