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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kansas City Royals: From the Bottom to the Top

Wild on Sport
http://media.kansas.com/smedia/2013/08/12/23/33/14UaOz.SlMa.80.jpeg
Started from the Bottom Now They’re…
In Playoff Contention?
Team: Kansas City Royals

By Wild on Sports Analyst Anthony Cortese Jr.

The MLB league has been on a mass turn around. Teams you could find in the bottom rankings, just a couple years ago, are now fighting for a spot in the playoffs, while last season’s Champions (San Francisco Giants) are sitting 17 games behind the L.A. Dodgers in last place. So, what are some of the factors behind this league wide phenomenon? That question can’t be answered with a simple explanation. It all depends on the organization you’re talking about. This post is part one of a series dedicated to the analysis of breakthrough teams, with a breakdown of just why they’ve made it this far.

If you begin to breakdown the American League

Let’s start with the Kansas City Royals. This was a team who finished in last place in 2009, last in 2010, second-to-last in 2011, then made it somewhere in the middle at third place in 2012. Each year has been a step in the right direction.

The Royals made some improvements on the mound with a totally rebuilt rotation, adding James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana to the mound. Both Shields and Santana have proven to be a nice addition to the pitching squad; Shields with a 3.33ERA, while Santana holds onto a 3.19ERA. There’s no question the pitching staff if doing their part, but let’s not forget about the young talent in the batter box.

The bats have been on the move for the Royals this season. Beginning with Mike “Moose” Moustakas who the team drafted in 2007, is showing signs of life. The 24 year old is hitting .231 after the All-Star break. Although, that’s nothing to write home about, it’s the team with the most hitters, not the guy who hits most. However, something to take note of is Moustakas 30 RBI’s this season. Moose is still working through a calf injury; he was reported to be involved in some light activity in Thursday’s practice.

Eric Hosmer, who’s batting .328 through August with 10 RBI’s, has been one of the hottest hitter’s over the past month. Hosmer has 69 hits in the last 50 games, including 13 doubles and 10 homeruns. Partial credit should be given to interim batting coach, George Brett; the Hall of Fame player who signed up to help the squad in late May. Since Brett had stepped in, the offence has been improving with the likes of Moose and Hosmer getting their bats around consistently.

Aside from the changes made to the bullpen and lineup, the attitude of younger guys hungry for a championship mixed with skills of veteran players, seems to have given the Royals a jolt of determination. The team has 35 comeback wins this season, the most in the league. Now the fans of Kansas City must wait to see, if the fairly recent second Wild Card has their name on it.

The test continues tonight when the Royals try and gain some ground on first place Detroit Tigers, during their five game series. After last night, the Tigers lead the series 1-0.

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