KC has been near the bottom of the league ever since winning it all back in 2015. Things look like they’ll be different this year. Some of the Royals’ top prospects will be seeing time at the Major League level shortly while some impactful veterans have been added to the roster. Kansas City decided to take advantage of many teams bowing out during the offseason as they may have improved as much as anyone.
Key Additions: Andrew Benintendi, Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Michael A. Taylor
Key Subtractions: Maikel Franco, Trevor Rosenthal
The Royals look to for better results in 2021 as they try to avoid finishing in fourth place or lower in the division for the first time since 2017. Kansas City has something cooking after what was an impressive offseason. The two Mikes (Minor and Taylor) may not seem like huge moves, but the addition of two quality Major Leaguers will help this roster tremendously. Minor will look to bounce back after having an abysmal year. His 2017 when playing for KC was his best season and the team hopes he can get back to that.
Being able to bring in Benintendi and Slamtana are the big moves I think could help this team make a lot of noise. Carlos has been a steady offensive producer since coming into the league. His lone season playing for a team other than Cleveland didn’t go well, but Santana should make a pretty big impact on the middle of this team’s lineup. He walks more than nearly anyone in the league and provides solid power from both sides of the plate. Benintendi is coming off a very rough year and will need to recoup some of his value. The 26-year-old outfielder might be rejuvenated by the fact he’s playing for a team looking to win.
This roster isn’t as bad what some think. Salvy, Soler, Whit, and Hunter Dozier should anchor the lineup to go along with the aforementioned additions. This is a lineup with tons of speed and guys who can drive in runs when those speedsters reach base. It’ll be interesting to see how the lineup is constructed and how aggressive the team will be in trying to take the extra base. Even with a few solid power hitters, Kauffman Stadium will play big meaning the team will have to play small-ball more often than not. I envision Merrifield leading off with Andrew behind him followed by Slamtana, Soler, and Salvy. That’s not a bad top five to start the game off with.
The pitching staff was pleasantly good in 2020 and I think they’ll build off of that going forward. Brad Keller looked like an ace despite the low K rate, Singer was solid in his debut, and Josh Staumont became an elite reliever. Losing Trevor Rosenthal stings, but I think the team can make up for his absence. How much better Singer and Kris Bubic are will be the tone-setter for 2021. They both performed commendably in their debuts, but they need to find an extra gear to help pick up the slack. Brady is the guy that needs to take control and be the team’s go-to arm. He has the stuff to pitch at the top of a rotation and having him do that now would really help revamp the rebuild going on in Kansas City.
With as good as both Minnesota and Chicago are, I don’t see Kansas City making the push for a division championship. I think the team would be satisfied with a third-place finish where they could sneak into a wildcard spot if they got lucky. The Royals won’t be the AL Central’s punching bag like they have been; this time they’re going to land a few punches.