The Kansas City Royals made a lot of moves this year to improve the offense. As I stated right here at Rant, that kind of improvement was absolutely necessary if the team hoped to stay competitive. To the credit of GM Dayton Moore and the rest of management, KC looks poised for relevance with the lineup they just retooled.
Let’s compare brass tacks from last year: Chris Getz led the team in at-bats as a second baseman and recorded a batting average of .220 last year. In 453 at-bats with the Detroit Tigers last year, Omar Infante hit .318 with 37 total extra-base hits. Right fielder David Lough performed admirably in 315 ABs with the Royals, batting .286 and constantly stepping up in clutch situations.
The likable but struggling Jeff Francoeur‘s play was less inspired. Comparing his efforts to that of newcomer Norichika Aoki is more akin to the Getz/Infante comparison. Frenchy hit only .208 to start off 2013 with KC while Nori batted .286 and posted a .356 on-base percentage.
Even though these upgrades are already glaring on paper, simple BA comparisons couldn’t ever fully express what adding Nori and Infante means. Aoki’s awesome OBP as a leadoff man translates into more RBI for everyone behind him in the order, including Infante, and fans could reasonably expect him to improve upon last year’s total of 51 RBI (in only 118 games).
Those two lead us to the steadily improving Eric Hosmer, who seems to be fully removed now from his sophomore slump, then the team’s offensive anchor in Billy Butler. You better believe Billy will have a much better year with those new Royals in front of him in KC’s new lineup.
Add to all this a remarkably strong second half of the batting order, and you’ve got an objectively better offense than what we saw in 2013. I believe it will be four games better this season, so score it as a whopping +4 on the impromptu scale I’ve used here. Along with my previous calculations, that brings the prediction for KC’s win total from 84 to 88. Will that be enough to take the division and will it change with my final prediction? Stick around to find out right here at Rant Sports.