Can Kansas City Make a Run at a World Series Crown In 2009?
1985 was the last time Kansas City held the World Series trophy. The days of George Brett, Mark Gubicza, Bud Black and Danny Jackson were good to the Royals. But recently not so much, in 2006 Kansas City became the 11th team to loose more than 100 games three consecutive seasons.
But change has come to the Royals. "With the New. Blue. Tradition." in full force Kansas City wasted no time in 2007 to sign former first-round draft pick Gil Meche. Also signing young talent like Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. So now in 2009 with the rebirth of the Royals how far can the possibly go?
All good teams win with pitching and in '09 the Royals have it. With No.23 leading the way, Zach Greinke has turned into the ace he was expected to be. With a 0.00 ERA three weeks into this season he is looking to have a career year.
With Gil Meche on the bump as the No. 2 in the rotation the Royals look to pick up a lot of wins. During the second half of the 2008 season Meche went 8-3 finishing the year with a 3.98 ERA.
Meche struck out an average of 8.4 batters per nine innings during that stretch of 11 games. Kyle Davies moves into the No. 3 spot of this rotation and will do a excellent job this season. Although he finished 2008 with a ERA of 4.06, Davies looks to rebound in '09.
He has excellent control of all four of his pitches and knows how to get batters out. The fourth and fifth starters in the rotation are Sidney Ponson and Brian Bannister, who look to pick up 12-15 wins on the back of the Royals rotation.
The bullpen for K.C. consists of flame thrower Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz, Ron Mahay, Robinson Tejeda and Jamey Wright. This staff will keep the Royals in close games and will set up save opportunities for the closer, and All-Star Joakim Soria. This pitching staff has what it takes to lead blue and white to a World Series ring in November.
The Royal's lineup plans to put up some crooked numbers on opposing scoreboards this year. Coco Crisp is batting leadoff this year. He will be a .280 hitter; he will continue to steal bases like he did last year in Boston were he finished with 20. He also has a ring from 2007, as a seasoned veteran he will help the young talent in this Royals lineup.
Bating second this year is the young but talented shortstop Mike Aviles. He hit .325 last year as a rookie with 10 homers and 27 doubles. His defense is flawless as he only committed 10 errors in the 2008 season.
Playing left field and batting third this year in K.C. is the veteran David DeJesus. Making the switch from left to center this year, David looks to build on his .307 batting average from last year. Hitting clean up is the up-and-coming Billy Buttler. Starting his third season with the Royals he looks to drive in a monster number of RBIs this year hitting in the four spot.
This 23-year-old destroys left-handed pitching with a .340 batting average last year against south paws. Mike Jacobs, the new addition form the Florida Marlins, will take over at first base in 2009 for Kansas City. Although Jacobs only hit for an average of .247 last year in south Florida, he went deep 32 times in only 420 at bats.
Jacobs will add much needed power to this Royals lineup and solid defense. Filling in the sixth spot for the “chosen one" Alex Gordon, who will be out until late June with hip surgery, is Mark Teahen.
Teahen will make the switch from his position last year of right field to third base. Mark will continue with his consistency of 15 homers and around 60 RBI. Mark is so valuable to this Royals club because of his versatility on defense by being able to play so many different positions.
Jose Guillen looks to take the seventh spot in this potent Royals lineup and play right field. The battle tested veteran will be playing for the second year with the Royals. Although Jose is 32, he drove in 97 RBI last year and took 20 balls out of the park.
Hitting eighth and catching is Miguel Olivo. He might not be known for his bat but he can play defence. Olivo threw out 14 runners last year which was almost 65 percent of attempts made to steal with him behind the plate.
The last batter in the Royals lineup is Alberto Callaspo. He will take over the second base job. He may be 5-foot-10 but Callaspo can rake. Last year he hit .305 and already with 57 at bats this year, is hitting .386.
The Royals bench is also very deep with guys like John Buck and Mitch Maier. Guys who can come off the pine and give Kansas City quality innings. Buck is a quality backup who actually could become the starter over Olivo if he could become a better hitter.
Maier, who is just a young 26-year-old, has a lot of potential. He was a career .365 hitter at Toledo and is looking to transfer that hitting to the major leagues in years to come.
This is by far the best team the Royals have had since 1985. This team has all the tools to make a run at the World Series in 2009. So watch out baseball because the Royals are back.
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