The 2018 season was one to forget for the Kansas City Royals. Posting their second worst finish in franchise history at 58-104, the 2015 championship felt like ages ago. Due to this, Kansas City has fully committed to a rebuilding of their major league roster to try to return to their 2015 form in the coming years. As this rebuild takes place, what type of team will the “new” Royals be? As the old saying goes, “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” Royals general manager Dayton Moore has committed to returning to a team of small ball, with guys who can steal a lot of bases, and play great defense. The Royals are not becoming a new team at all, they are recreating a team similar to that of 2015, with mostly new players.
In 2015, the Royals were not like many championship caliber teams before them. They won games by playing the “small ball,” of good defense, baserunning, and pitching. The Royals did not hit home runs every at bat, or even score the most runs. In 2019, just as the team four years prior did, the Royals are looking to reestablish their speed on the base paths, and their defensive prowess. Multiple players have played a key role in this, as the royals now have multiple candidates to steal 30 bases. To begin, the team extended Whit Merrifield’s contract signing him for four years, with a mutual option for year five. Merrifield stole 45 bases last year, which led the league for 2018. Additionally, the Royals are now turning the shortstop position over to Adalberto Mondesi, who is just as fast, if not faster than Merrifield. Both Merrifield and Mondesi have the speed, and defensive skill to shore up the infield. The Royals also went out and picked up players Terrance Gore, Billy Hamilton, and Chris Owings. Terrance gore is known for his lightning speed, which the Royals formerly used to win the 2015 world series. Billy Hamilton will provide insurance in centerfield, with a high on base percentage without needing much power at the plate. Chris Owings has decent speed and can fill in anywhere Kansas City might need him in the infield. With all of these players together, the Royals are poised to tear up opposing catchers on the base paths.
In regards to pitching, the Royals are looking to their farm system to provide some new talent. Heath Fillmyer, Brad Keller, and Kyle Zimmer are looking to make the major league roster and improve on the Royals’ horrendous pitching performances from last season. With the bullpen having the worst earned run average in the American League, Kansas City has also signed Brad Boxberger to help setup potential closer Wily Peralta. Peralta did well last season as the closer, and Boxberger could be the key piece to holding off the opposing offense for an inning or two to have Peralta come in and close tight games out. Other starting rotation options available are Jorge Lopez, who was almost perfect last season, and Homer Bailey who was invited to spring training. The Royals are mostly rebuilding from within, keeping the farm system strong as well.
Although the Royals may not win it all this season, better days are ahead for Kansas City. With almost an exact repeat of the years building up to 2015, the Royals could be seen in the postseason within the next few years.