MLB Kansas City Royals

5 Makeshift Team Awards For 2013 Kansas City Royals

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5 Makeshift Team Awards for 2013 Kansas City Royals

salvador perez greg holland
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season for the Kansas City Royals was a roller coaster of optimism and disappointment, success and failure, hopes found and dreams dashed. As Royals fans sit back and relax for the first time since March, it will be tough to watch the postseason without thinking about what could have been. Eventually, when the bitterness of defeat wears off, they will finally get to sit back and appreciate the significance of what 2013 brought to KC and its fans. Fans can also embrace the fact that the best for this team is yet to come.

The Royals reached a multitude of impressive milestones this season and brought a stagnant fan base alive with new hope. The team's management finally decided to pay up and traded for two legit starters to bolster the Royals’ rotation and give them their first real chance at success in recent history. Outstanding defense at almost every position on the field, kept games close and avoided giving the opposition free opportunities. A combination of young talent and veteran support on the offensive side of the ball struggled at times, but came through in a bevy of important, clutch moments to keep the team competitive until the last week of the schedule.

This slideshow could be called “5 Most Valuable Royals of 2013”, but it seems redundant to name five MVPs. Everyone on this list played an integral part in making the Royals successful for the first time in more than two decades. Because of their unique roles, it’s only right that they each earn their own unique (albeit fictional) award.

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Offensive MVP -- Eric Hosmer

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Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

While Billy Butler and others led the offense in years past, Eric Hosmer is now the undisputed offensive MVP. Hosmer leads the team in batting average, hits, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases and doubles, and ranks in the top three for runs scored, RBI, homers and walks. According to other Royals, Hosmer is a favorite in the clubhouse, and the ability he’s shown to bounce back after struggling in 2012 is remarkable. Many players his age slump after a strong first season, but very few return to their prior success so quickly. Hosmer stayed calm and, thanks to help from Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett and new hitting coach Pedro Grifol, fixed the broken variables in his swing and drove the bus for KC all year long.

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Defensive MVP -- Alcides Escobar

alcides escobar
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While all of the attention goes to the young hitters and the upgraded starting five, the Royals’ biggest strength in 2013 was actually their defense. Although nearly every position provided solid defense this year, Alcides Escobar stands out as a natural-born infielder. 13 errors would usually disqualify a player from any defensive renown, but if there was a statistic for most incredible plays on defense, Escobar may lead MLB, let alone the Royals. With a powerful arm and jaw-dropping range, Alcides is among the league’s best defensive shortstops. Thanks to a long contract, fans can look forward to seeing Escobar’s sterling defensive play through 2017 at least.

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Reliever of the Year -- Greg Holland

greg holland
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, Greg Holland made his mark on the franchise this year by beating Jeff Montgomery’s team record for saves. After losing Joakim Soria just years ago, fans surely wondered when they would see such an awesome talent at closer. Luckily for them, Holland stepped in and quickly began to dominate. His 47 saves were second in the league behind only Jim Johnson 's 50. With an inordinate amount of 1-run games this year, Holland’s influence on the Royals’ newly-found success is even more significant that usual. Without Holland, many of the season’s most memorable moments could have never happened.

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Unofficial Team Captain -- Salvador Perez

salvador perez
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

This promising young catcher is the heart and soul of the Royals. Salvador Perez gives KC remarkable defense at the most defensive position on the field. His great stopping ability and strong arm make him a front-runner in this year’s battle for the Gold Glove award, but he doesn’t stop there. Perez is second among the team in batting average (.292) and slugging percentage (.433), providing consistent pop in the middle of KC’s lineup. More importantly perhaps is the impact Perez makes on the pitching staff. Every pitcher on the roster appreciates his ability to call a game better than any catcher his age.

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Team Cy Young Winner -- James Shields

james shields
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Hope was born anew this year in Kansas City with the acquisition of James Shields and fellow veteran pitchers Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. The presence of three successful starters in the rotation fundamentally changed everything for the Royals this year. None of the other impressive performances would mean anything without good pitching. Shields earned his 100th career win and put up a 3.15 ERA while leading the rotation in innings pitched and strikeouts. Royals fans will enjoy one more year with Shields as their ace, then hope for the franchise to give him a legitimate offer when he enters free agency the following year.