Here we are, on the brink of the Kansas City Royals‘ 2014 season. KC just left Milwaukee and now they find themselves in Michigan for the Detroit Tigers‘ home opener. After a very successful season in the Cactus League, the Royals and all their fans hope that success translates into April and beyond.
Spring Training numbers don’t mean everything and they historically don’t foretell exactly how teams will play, but nobody will complain about a lot of preseason success. Including split squad sessions, charity games and the two games in Milwaukee, Kansas City played in 30 games prior to today’s regular season start. They managed to win only 12 of those 30.
Their inability to win games this March is largely attributed to their pitching. The offense actually showed a lot of potential, despite limited time with the soon-to-be-starters playing together. The Royals recorded Spring Training’s second-highest average, third-highest on-base percentage and ranked in MLB‘s top 10 in runs, hits, doubles, slugging percentage and OPS.
Only the divisional bottom-dweller Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers posted higher Spring Training ERAs as a team this year. KC ranked eighth in strikeouts league-wide but also allowed the second-most home runs among any team in Spring Training. Despite their pitching woes, it was still a pitcher who made the biggest splash in Surprise for the Royals.
When it comes to breakout Royals performances in this year’s Cactus League, Yordano Ventura and the still-surging Mike Moustakas take the cake. The promising starter with a new deadly breaking ball is really making KC optimistic about their chances of filling Ervin Santana‘s shoes. After a ridiculous start, Moose finished preseason play with a .429 average, a .522 on-base percentage, 24 hits, 18 RBI and four home runs in 56 at-bats.
When it comes to the preseason’s biggest letdowns, all fingers point to the shaky Danny Duffy. Today’s basically a holiday, so let’s just focus on how awesome Ventura could be and try to be optimistic about Duffy getting it together eventually.