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2022 MLB season preview: Kansas City Royals

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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Flags fly forever. The Kansas City Royals haven’t had a winning season since winning it all in 2015. In fact, their only three winning seasons since 2003 were grouped in a row: 86-76 in 2013, 89-73 in 2014 and lost in the World Series, 95-67 in 2015 and won the World Series. Kansas City hasn’t finished higher than fourth in any of the last four seasons.

The Royals are in no man’s land. They have some good players on the major league roster, but not enough of them. They have some good prospects in the system, but not enough of them. At some point, the Royals need to decide on a direction moving forward. This looks like the year Whit Merrifield finally gets traded. Carlos Santana, Zack Greinke and Andrew Benintendi are likely to be on the move as well, barring a surprising push into contention. A big decision is looming with Adalberto Mondesi and a potential contract extension. With only three guaranteed contracts for 2023, the Royals will have a bigger year off the field than on it.

2022 VSiN MLB Betting Guide

Offense

Only the Astros and Blue Jays struck out less often than the Royals, but those two offenses were among the best in baseball. The Royals were just outside of the bottom five in wOBA. They put a ton of balls in play but didn’t walk and hit for minimal power (one of nine teams with a SLG under .400).

In some respects, the Royals were unlucky. They were 13th in Hard Hit% and ninth in average exit velocity but still only batted .249. Batting averages are as low as they’ve been in more than 50 years, but it still feels like the Royals should have been better. They also ranked in the top five offense in Pull% but still didn’t generate much power.

Some key offensive guys had really bad years. Merrifield posted a 91 wRC + , which equaled the worst of his career. He still provided a ton of baserunning and defensive value and was one of the team’s leaders in fWAR, but his offensive profile was a bust. Santana needed the shift to be banned like six seasons ago, as he again put a lot of balls in play and walked a lot but had a .227 BABIP.

Hunter Dozier never got on track, posting an 82 wRC + after signing a four-year extension. It was a throwback to his 2018 rookie season and nothing like what we saw in 2019 or 2020. Jorge Soler failed to repeat his 2019 with insane power and high contact quality.

Salvador Perez bashed 48 homers, tied for tops in baseball, and was one of the lone bright spots. Nicky Lopez had a 4.4-win season with great offensive production and terrific defense at second base. 

Other than that, Mondesi’s 2021 was a lost season with just 35 games played, and no youngsters had a big enough impact to crack the lineup.

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