Kansas City Royals 2020 Pre-Season Analysis

Kansas City Royals 2020 Pre-Season Analysis

Written by on March 16, 2020

The Kansas City Royals won the World Series as recently as 2015 but since then it has been all downhill for this franchise. The Royals lost 103 games in 2019 and probably won’t be much better this year. Here’s a look at the 2020 Royals under new manager Mike Matheny. Let’s check the MLB Odds and World Series Odds for the Kansas City Royals 2020 Season.

Kansas City Royals 2020 Pre-Season Analysis

Kansas City Royals Offensive Analysis

One of the best offensive players in the majors, especially from a fantasy perspective, is vastly underrated Royals infielder Whit Merrifield, who can play just about every position but catcher. Merrifield played in all 162 games last season, leading the majors for a second straight year in hits, this time with 206. He also tied for the MLB lead with 10 triples Both his slugging percentage (.463) and OPS (.811) were career-highs.

The 30-year-old batted .302/.348/.463 with 16 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He signed a club-friendly four-year, $16.25 million contract extension last offseason and thus is a hugely valuable potential trade piece. The Cubs and Padres are two teams lusting after him. The Royals might deal Merrifield for the right offer since they aren’t going to be good for at least a few years.

Kansas City also gets back All-Star catcher Salvador Perez this year. He tallied exactly 27 homers and 80 RBI in both 2017 and 2018 before missing all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Perez is definitely one of the best in business.

The Royals didn’t do much in free agency but did sign third baseman Maikel Franco, formerly of the Phillies. Franco, played in 123 games with Philadelphia last season, batting .234 with 17 doubles, 17 homers and 56 RBI. His 19 intentional walks were second most in the majors, trailing only the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (21). The right-handed hitter got off to a fast start, slugging seven home runs and collecting 25 RBI in his first 30 games (through May 1).  However, then Franco tailed off in a big way. In August, he was demoted to Triple-A for nearly three weeks.

“Very similar to many of our young players, he’s had his shares of ups and downs,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “but he’s playing next year at 28 years old, really just entering his prime. I think he’s very hungry and motivated and very talented as well, so it’s a good time to be acquiring a player like Maikel.”

Kansas City Royals Pitching Analysis

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost retired after last season and has been replaced by former St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. Under Matheny, the Cardinals had a .555 winning percentage in 6 1/2 seasons. They won three NL Central titles and one pennant, but missed the postseason in 2016 and ’17, and Matheny was fired in mid-season 2018 with St. Louis one game over .500. He landed with the Royals in the player development department a year ago, and when longtime manager Ned Yost retired following last season, Matheny was hired as his replacement.

The Kansas City Royals pitching staff was awful in 2019 contributing a 5.20 ERA (4.60 AL average) and 1.479 WHIP (1.348 AL average).  Probably not going to be much better in 2020.

Lefty Mike Montgomery was an in-season trade acquisition last year from the Cubs and big things are expected this year from the lefty. In his 13 starts for the Royals last season, he posted a 4.64 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and a 2.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio while compiling a 2-7 record. He needed the first four outings simply to build up his pitch count. In the last nine starts he posted a 3.94 ERA, 42 strikeouts, 16 walks and 55 hits in 48 innings with a .299 opponent’s batting average. That served as a starting point for him to build toward this season.

Montgomery, 30, came into spring training working on a new curveball grip and trying to refine the shape of his cutter/slider. He feels it will be vital for him to have both of those pitches as well as his change-up to complement his fastball.

Fellow lefty Danny Duffy is the presumed ace. He finished last year a 7-6 record, 4.34 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 23 starts. Those numbers aren’t all that great but they were a step forward from his down 2018 season. He’s still under team control through the 2021 season, with the Royals still owing him $30.75 million over the two seasons.

Former starter Ian Kennedy is the closer. He finished with 30 saves in 2019.

Kansas City Royals Offseason Movements

  • Kansas City Royals Notable additions: SP Chance Adams, 3B Maikel Franco, RP Greg Holland, IF/OF Matt Reynolds, SP Braden Shipley, RP Stephen Woods Jr.
  • Kansas City Royals Notable subtractions: RP Jacob Barnes (LAA), OF Jorge Bonifacio (DET), IF Cheslor Cuthbert (CWS), RP Trevor Oaks (SF)

Kansas City Royals Season Odds

Royals +20000 to win World Series and +10000 for AL pennant,