The Royals have started to work in their youth, and Adalberto Mondesi played 75 games last season. He hit 14 HR and stole 32 bases. Mondesi is a better source of speed than power, but a 20-20 season is highly projected for him. He is a high strikeout bat still, but coming into the majors that can be expected some times. Mondesi will takeover at shortstop for a full year and will move up in the order as well. It is hard to expect Mondesi to hit around .275 like he did last season, as on-base struggles will be his only downside at times. Hovering around .250 with 20 HR and 40+ SB seem like high projections, but that is the talent he has, and what we believe are realistic expectations for him. The Royals do not have a lot of offensive talent, but a good source of power and speed from Mondesi will give them a player to watch for the season.
Whit Merrifield broke into the regular team back in 2016, where he stole just eight bases in 81 games. 2017 he stole 34 bases, and 2018 was a career high with 45. Mondesi is expected to steal 40 bases, and both will be at the top of the lineup running wild. A combined 80 SB between the two of them gives the Royals an advantage with speed. Alex Gordon will chip in with some, but the signing of Billy Hamilton to play centerfield is going to tack on another 40+. The three can combine for over 120 SB, and the Indians led the league with 135 as a team last year. There is a good chance that Kansas City can build upon their 117 steals, which was good for 6th in the majors. The Royals are a team to bet on to run wild, and with those three names above, they could alone top many teams.
Kansas City had the second highest ERA as a team, and of course losing over 100 games usually isn’t going to give any pitchers a chance of succeeding. Heading into 2019, Danny Duffy will once again headline the staff, but has gradually gotten worse over the last two seasons. Duffy’s likely heading for another season with a four ERA or higher, and the home runs were a big concern last season. We have seen Duffy have some success, but consistency has not been there of late, and the high flyball rates are starting to catch up with him. Jake Junis has a very good slider, but has failed to put together consistent stretches of starts. He is going to have some good outings, but also some very bad outings to offset his good starts when it comes to looking at overall stats. The back half of the rotation is going to struggle, and you got three guys expect with ERAs closer to five.