The wait is finally over. We’re on the cusp of perhaps the most anticipated Kansas City Royals season since the 1980s. I was never as excited for a season to begin as I was last year, but it’s way worse this season. I could continue to gush, but before the regular season officially begins, I need to squeeze in my predictions.
After looking at each facet of the team, hopes for improvement appear to be well-justified. It also became obvious that I needed to explain my predictions. To break it all down into easy-to-understand chunks, My first question pertains to the Royals’ new rotation: how will changes to the starting five affect KC in 2014?
It all comes down to the rest of the starters’ ability to bridge the gap of talent between this year’s Jason Vargas and last year’s Ervin Santana. Young and unproven arms like Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy were expected to improve upon last year’s poor production from the last starter spot. While Duffy struggled through Cactus League play, Ventura showed big league potential throughout Spring Training.
I’ve already gotten into the changes to the starting rotation many times before, with the summation being that KC’s young arms will determine whether the team’s rotation will take a step forward or back. From what we’ve seen in Surprise and briefly in Milwaukee, I predict that at least one of them has what it takes to almost completely bridge that aforementioned gap.
The Royals’ starting rotation will only digress by two wins. That’s the way I’m scoring each individual part of the team — this means the rotation would account for two less wins than they did in last year’s 86-win season. If this were the only change to KC’s roster, I’d be predicting 84 wins this year, but obviously this isn’t the case.