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KC Royals Preview
by Matt Fargo - 02/25/2007
2007 Baseball Preview
#29 Kansas City Royals
2006 W-L 62-100
2006 O-U 80-73-9
Kansas City has finished in last place in the American League Central the last three seasons after an 83-79 finish in 2003. It looked as though things were turning the right way for the Royals but they won 25 less games in 2004 and have yet to recover. This could be the season that things go back up but considering the fact that Kansas City has averaged just over 58 wins the last three seasons, we canâ€™t be overly optimistic. This division has produced the American League pennant winner the last two seasons but itâ€™s safe to say the Royals arenâ€™t going to extend this trend in 2007.
The Royals had the 2nd worst record in all of baseball last season but they were the 5th most profitable team, picking up 10.9 units. The reason for this was obviously the big moneylines that Kansas City had as it finished a very respectable 24-39 +15.5 units when an underdog of at least 2-to-1. Playing at home was not an advantage for the Royals as they finished 34-47, the worst home record in all of baseball but still managed to gain 3.1 units. Kansas City played 46 day games and won only 11, dropping close to 15 units before the sun went down. The Royals were a chalk only four times all season long and we should see something similar again this year.
Young and inconsistent pitching pushed 80 games over the total as Kansas City allowed an MLB-worst six rpg. The Royals and their opponents averaged a combined 10.7 rpg and that number jumped to 11.4 rpg at Kauffman Stadium where they went 41-35-5 over. The only low scoring games came away from grass parks where Kansas City played 11 of its 15 games under. The Royals won only 13 of 39 games against left-handed pitching yet only 19 of those games stayed under the number.
Kansas City was a disappointment at the plate last season, finishing 11th and 12th in batting average and runs scored in the American League respectively. Kansas City finished last in the league in slugging percentage as well. The Royals were not able to bring in much to improve things but they are going to rely on youngsters once again led by third baseman Alex Gordon, the 2006 Minor League Player of the Year. His promotion will likely move Mark Teahen, the teamâ€™s best player from last season, to the outfield. If Mike Sweeney, who is coming off his worst season since 1998 because of injuries, can stay healthy then the offense could be a pleasant surprise.
The Royals used 14 different starting pitchers last season as inconsistency and injuries hurt throughout the year. Kansas City finished with a league worst 5.65 ERA and that ERA was identical at both home and on the road. The good news is that no one from last seasonâ€™s opening five-man rotation is back. The Royals upgraded their pitching, or at least tried to upgrade, as they signed Gil Meche to a 5-year, $55 million contract. Meche is 55-44 with a 4.65 ERA in six seasons so an upgrade is a lofty term. The Bullpen blew a league-high 31 saves so the addition of Octavio Dotel as the closer should help. The middle relief also added David Riske while rookie Joakim Soria should contribute right away.