Kevin of The Royal Reporter observed, “The Royals were projected by most experts to win anywhere from 70-72 games. They won 74, which was slightly above the pundits’ preseason predictions. Is it a monumental turnaround? Absolutely not. But remember: this Royals team lost 100-plus games in both 2018 and 2019, and finished with a winning percentage in 2020 that would pro-rate out to 70 wins.” He is right in that small improvements were made in the sense, we didn’t finish in last place or that we lost less than 90 games. More was expected.
We finished 38-35 after the All-Star break but still finished overall minus 14 games under .500. There were positive beginning with Nicky Lopez who hit .300 and played great defense. He played like the Lopez in the minor, get on base, steal an occasional base and played great defense. Merrifield hit only .277 but still managed 42 doubles which tied him for number one in the majors, number 4 in hits and number 2 in stolen bases at 40 plus played good defense at second.
Salvy had a great season 48 Hrs, tied for number one in Majors and lead majors in RBI. It may be too much to ask of him to have a similar year but he is still a major player. I have been impressed with Andrew Benintendi, who played good defense in left field and hit 16 homers. Michael Taylor will be back patrolling centerfield and can hit an occasional homer but is only a .240 hitter.
Isabel hit .280 in his brief time with Royals and will compete for an outfield position, and Hunter Dozier hit .277 over his last 30 games, but still wondering if in 2022, will we see the 2019 Dozier or the Dozier of 2020 and first half of the 2021 year?
Then there was the questionable, Ryan O’Hearn kept getting second and third chances but going in 2022, Royals need to say good bye. Here is a thought, McBroom had a nice season in Omaha but he spent only 7 games and 8 at bats. Why didn’t he get more of chance oppose to O’Hearn plus didn’t anyone notice that Frank “The Tank” Swindell had a nice year with Cubs who gave him a solid chance?
The real mystery was pitching where many of the leading minor league prospects came up. Lynch showed potential in the second half of the year but Kowar has yet to show if he is the real thing. Heasley and Zerpa showed potential in their brief stint in Kansas City but they will be in North West Arkansas and Omaha. Singer had some success but there were times that he regressed. He didn’t make the big jump I thought he would and Bubic had nice September. He showed me he is ready for the Majors but the question next year where to place him in the rotation? The best starter was Carlos Hernandez, who went 6-2 and was a pleasant surprise. The real disappointment was Brad Keller who regressed this season at 8-12.
The Royals have a ton of talent pitching in the minors and there was enough to say that we have potential starting rotation but the question is which pitcher survives the cut and which becomes trade bait for more talent?
Barlow, Staumont, Coleman, Bentz, and Tapia showed they could be a solid bull pen. (Bentz had a poor second half of the season so there is questions about him.) There are more talent in the minors to go with this.
Least I forget, Bobby Witt Jr. lead a group of sluggers coming up. He hit.290 in both double A and triple A with 33 homers and 29 stolen bases. He was joined by Pratto who hit 36 homers and a .265 average and M.J. Melendez who added 41 homers and a .288 average. Over the final playoff Triple A run, the Storm Chasers 7-2.
I had this feeling that this was going to be 2013 but alas, we had to satisfied with 74 wins and a fourth place finish.
As for the Central division rivals, Royals went 10-9 against White Sox, 11-8 against Tigers, 10-9 against Twins, and 5-14 against the Indians. They were 35-40 against their central division opponents. You can say that they won three out of four yearly series against Central division opponents but they were dominated by the Indians.