This past offseason was the first time in quite awhile that so many losing teams went all in gearing up for the next season. The Kansas City Royals were not really one of those teams. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored in 2022. With young ballplayers that have immense upside, intriguing veterans, and an exciting style of play, the Royals may be one of the most interesting teams in baseball to watch; even if they don’t win a ton of ballgames.
Whether you believe that Bobby Witt Jr. should be the number one prospect or number two prospect in baseball, one thing is for sure, his talent is off the charts. He showed off all his skills in MiLB last year, hitting .290/.361/.575 with 33 home runs and 29 stolen bases. It was his first full season in the minors and it may have been his last. The path is open for him in spring training to win a job on the MLB roster. While Witt is primarily a shortstop, the third base job is ripe for the taking, and that is where he has been playing this Spring. The top prospect is expected to make an instant impact and he will be an exciting watch within Royals baseball.
Kansas City has had a lot of their recent pitching prospects make their debut in the past couple seasons. These names include Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, and Jackson Kowar, among others. They haven’t had a lot of success yet in the big leagues. However, they still have the makings of a formidable rotation. They likely won’t all figure it out this year, but if they make positive strides it will be very exciting for everyone.
Along with all the young players the Royals are piling up, they have some interesting and talented veterans. Salvador Perez is coming off one of the best seasons by a catcher in history. His 48 home runs and 121 RBI led the Major Leagues. Whit Merrifield is consistently near the top of the leaderboards when it comes to hits, doubles, and stolen bases. You can pencil both into the lineup basically every day.
On the pitching side, Zack Greinke is returning to Kansas City after spending the first seven years of his career there. He won the 2009 Cy Young award with the Royals. While he is not the same guy he once was, he will be a welcome sight in Kansas City. In what could be the final year in his stellar career, Greinke will be the pillar of the Royals otherwise young pitching staff.
Old-School Style of Play
In today’s age of walks, strikeouts, and homers, the Royals have a different style of play. It is very old-school in a sense. They don’t have a ton of pop. They had the fewest home runs in the AL in 2021. However, they put the ball in play. Kansas City had the third-fewest strikeouts in the AL last year. Their 29 triples were the third-most in the AL. When they get on base, they use their speed to their advantage. The Royals were first in the AL in steals, with 124. Merrifield and Nicky Lopez combined for 62 steals and were caught stealing only five times.
If he can stay healthy, Adalberto Mondesi could be one of the most exciting players in the league. Mondesi was limited to 35 games in 2021, but he hit six homers and stole 15 bases. With the way that the Royals play, a healthy Mondesi would elevate the appeal in Kansas City.
Kansas City was 74–88 in 2021 With the AL Central improving drastically around them, they aren’t likely to win much more than that. However, there are so many reasons why the Royals will be worth watching in 2022.
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