Well i’m back with another preview for the 2012 American League Central division, and well you can tell by the picture above that I believe the Kansas City Royals will finish 3rd in the division. They will finish in my opinion no more than 5 wins ahead of the Minnesota Twins. Kansas City will finish in 2012 with a record of 73W-89L to finish slightly ahead of the Twinkies. Like i’ve said all along while previewing this division….its going to be very close between 4 teams and the Detroit Tigers are going to run away with the division! The Royals have been and are really starting to look like an exciting ball club. The youth that the Royals have been grooming in the minors is starting to pay off at the big level. They have an exciting lineup for the most part with the likes of Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and a guy who seems he’s been there forever in 25 year old Billy Butler. If Kansas City can keep all of this young talent in their lineup for years to come, We could see a Championship arriving in Kansas City at some point in the near future. The only thing that Kansas City lacks, and hurts, is the fact they don’t have any starting pitchers. We all know in double and triple A that they have guys coming, but as of today…not much for pitching, so if they can manage to put a lot of runs on the board they will win, if they get held to 2 or under runs/per game…they’re screwed. Let’s have a look at what the Royals did this offseason.
Jonathan Broxton(RP/LAD), Jonathan Sanchez(SP/SF), Jose Mijares(RP/MIN), Kevin Kouzmanoff(3B/COL), Yuniesky Betancourt(SS/MLW)
Melky Cabrera(OF/SF), Robinson Tejada(RP/CLE), Yamaico Navarro(3B/PIT)
So well the Kansas City Royals did not do much this offseason, they did lock up their young, potential phenomn starting catcher Salvador Perez to a long term contract, they are in the works for a long term deal with Alex Gordon. Like I said earlier, if the Royals can lock up all this young talent soon, they will have a team in the future that possibly resembles the Detroit Tigers of now. Here is a list of players that I would like to look at a little bit closer….Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Jeff Francouer and Alex Gordon…sorry no pitcher preview, not that exciting.
What can we say about Billy Butler? Well for starters it seems like he’s been in KC forever and ever….he is only 25 years old! Butler is a double’s machine, with being another year older I believe this is the year that Billy mashes those doubles into homeruns! Butler is a career .300 hitter who shows no signs of slowing down. Last years line would’ve been even better if he turned some of his 44 doubles into tators. Last years line was still impressive 19HR/95RBI/2SB/.291 He set career total in RBI’s and stolen bases. Billy Butler will in my opinion have his best season yet, here is what I think his numbers will look like at years end.
Well after Kansas City put up with Kila Ka’aihue and all his hype(82AB/2HR/16RBI/0SB/.195AVG), They called up number 1 organizational prospect Eric Hosmer. The move seemed kind of risky but prooved to be the right thing to do. Hosmer made an immediate impact on the field and in the batter’s box. Hosmer had a line of 19HR/78RBI/11SB/.293AVG in only 128 games. Hosmer finished 3rd in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. Eric Hosmer may not be ready to be a stud right away, but its coming sooner than later. Hosmer could easily be a top 10 first basemen by years end. Here is what I think Eric Hosmer’s line will look like.
Former Atlanta Braves executive and now GM of the Kansas City Royals Dayton Moore drafted Jeff Francouer in 2002, the two of them reunited in Kansas City when Francouer signed last offseason. No one especially me expected the production that Francouer provided 20HR/87RBI/22SB/.285AVG, Dayton Moore rewarded Frenchy by giving him a 2 year extension. The numbers that Francouer put up last year will almost certainly take a downturn in 2012. They will still be somewhat respectable, just not what Francouer did last year. Here is what Jeff Francouer will do this year.
Alex Gordon toyed with the hearts and minds of every fantasy baseball owner/player, Then all of a sudden like a fire cracker…Gordon goes off! 2011 was a year that most fantasy owners and not to mention GM Dayton Moore were waiting for and expecting. With Gordon’s breakout season at the age of 27 he put up a very nice stat line 23HR/87RBI/17SB/.303AVG. Alex Gordon’s 2011 numbers were very consistent month after month, and there is no reason that Gordon can’t repeat or in my opinion, improve them in 2012. If Alex Gordon can stay healthy, there will be a big green flashing arrow pointing up.
Kansas City Royals skipper Ned Yost was quoted in December “I think we’re going to play much better than .500, I think were at a stage in our development as an organization that these kids are ready for (increased expectations).” Well maybe so Ned but unfortunately the Royals will make a step forward this year but definately will not be a .500 ball club. So when 40,793 people show up on opening day at Kauffman Stadium…be proud that at the end of the 2012 season you will not be in 4th or 5th in the division…You will be in the middle of the pack, behind Cleveland (which will be close) and the Detroit Tigers! Stay tuned, as I preview the 2nd place finishers in the ALC