The Kansas City Royals will play at least two games with each divisional opponent in the first full month of the year. The team most often seen in April will be the rebuilding Minnesota Twins, with which KC plays six games in their first full month of baseball. The Twins also play a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, teams with whom KC will hopefully compete with for the AL Central championship.
Most of this division may be penciling in the Twins as a pushover now, but fans up north have big help on the way. They may just have a few years to wait.
Minnesota won’t fight for a World Series title this season, but they will annoy the heck out of good teams all year long. Their upside is largely dependent on the team’s youth and their ability to break out before season’s end. Aside from maybe the Boston Red Sox or St. Louis Cardinals, perhaps no other team houses more talent in their farm system than the Twins.
Both the No. 1 and No. 4 prospects in the entire MLB belong to Minnesota. Byron Buxton is the league’s most highly-touted prospect, but he’s far from being ready for the big leagues. Buxton turned heads everywhere he’s played, but he’s yet to reach even the Double-A level. He may be a freakishly athletic all-time-great-in-the-making like some believe due to his tremendous skill set, but he’s still years away from the game’s highest level.
The league’s No. 4 prospect could be ready to provide the Twins with double-digit home run pop within three seasons. Miguel Sano, who currently plays a questionable third base, has put up big league-worthy power numbers in five different farm leagues ranging from Rookie ball to class-A Advanced. Sano and Buxton are both only 20 years old, so Minnesota has plenty of time to see them mature in the minors.
KC dominated Minnesota last year, winning 15 of their 19 matchups. To stay on the better side of .500 this season, the Royals need to continue at that level of domination while they still can. It may take a couple years or more, but the clock on a Twin City reckoning is officially ticking.