Kansas City Royals: The Next "Core Four"

Shaun McPartlinCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  John Lamb # 66 of the Kansas City Royals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Media Day on February 23, 2011 at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona..  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Royals have been nothing short of a laughingstock for the last two decades.

They have not posed a threat to the AL Central since the days of George Brett, but after reading an article by Tim Keown in ESPN The Magazine, something struck me.

Could this new up-and-coming group of Royal studs be the next "Core Four?"

The "Core Four" has always been a part of my life as a die-hard Yankee fan—1996 is still ripe in my mind as the future of the Yankees brought home a title over the heavily favored Atlanta Braves.

This group was centered around two fantastic pitchers in Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and two elite infielders in Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

The next "Core Four" that the Royals have in the ranks is almost a carbon copy of what the Yankees boasted over a decade ago: Two excellent pitchers in John Lamb and Mike Montgomery and two five-tool infielders in Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.

While they all won't break the bigs at the same time—Moustakas is first in line as he will be called up during this season, when they all share the same diamond, this Royals will no longer be a joke.

These phenoms have taken the minor leagues by storm. Moustakas slugged 36 HR and knocked in 124 RBIs across Double-A and Triple-A. Let's not overlook his .999 OPS.

Moustakas has the potential to run away with the ROY Award this season. His impact will be felt as soon as he steps on the field in Kansas City.

Hosmer is just as talented. He has a sweet left-handed power swing just like Moustakas and hit 20 HR along with 86 RBIs and had a .977 OPS in Class-A last season.

A lineup card with both Hosmer and Moustakas in the middle of the lineup will strike fear into the hearts of even the most seasoned of pitchers.

These two are special, but just like the Yankees "Core Four", the power is in the pitching. Lamb and Montgomery have the potential to both be formidable top of the rotation type of guys—they are also both lefties to boot.

Montgomery sailed through three levels last season and finished the year with a 2.61 ERA and only allowed 76 hits in 93 innings; his WHIP was also a ridiculous 1.15. The ceiling for this southpaw is sky high. 

Lamb is a strikeout machine and has drawn comparison to Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox. If he is anything close to Lester, the Royals will be ecstatic. In only 147.2 innings, Lamb accumulated 159 K's. He, at only 19-years-old, rolled through three levels just like Montgomery did finishing the season at Double-A.

The Royals, according to Baseball America, have the top-rated farm system in the major leagues. Even though they boast some big league caliber talent, they are taking their time promoting their stars in order to have them prepared when their name is called. 

The Yankees "Core Four" brought home five World Series rings. Who's to say that this Royals group can't do the same? 

The Royals have preached patience and by the looks of it, patience is about to pay off.