2009 Kansas City Royals Baseball Preview

Every season there seems to be a team in each league that's tough to figure out. This season that honor goes to the Kansas City Royals (75- 87). Since 2005, the Royals have shown continued improvement, but they have yet to finish in the money. Last season, they ended up in fourth place, 13.5 games out.

The number one and number two starters are solid. Gil Meche (14- 11 W/L, 3.98 ERA, .255 BAA) offers a lively fastball and a knuckle-curve with a tight rotation. Zack Greinke (13- 10 W/L, 3.47 ERA, .257 BAA) can take something off or add something to his lively fastball. He also features a spun curve and a great changeup. Brian Bannister (9- 16 W/L, 5.76 ERA, .294 BAA) and Kyle Davies (9- 7 W/L, 4.06 ERA, .276 BAA) are good three and four starters. Luke Hochevar (6- 12 W/L, 5.51 ERA, .280 BAA), who's coming off a rib injury, has shown promise. Closer Joakim Soria (1.60 ERA, 42 SV, .169 BAA) shuts down hitters with his late moving fastball and keeps them off-balance with his slow curve and cutting slider. He's tough and resilient.

Coco Crisp (.283 BA, 41 RBI, 7 HR, 20 SB) has a compact swing and speed. The switch-hitting leadoff man can make things happen. Young Mike Aviles (.325 BA, 51 RBI, 10 HR) schools pitchers, ripping line drives, while David DeJesus (.307 BA, 73 RBI, 12 HR) is an excellent contact hitter. Mike Jacobs (.247 BA, 93 RBI, 32 HR) can pound the ball, but he is streaky. Jose Guillen (.264 BA, 97 RBI, 20 HR) is an aggressive power hitter.

The fielding on this team ranges from good to poor. The best in the infield is shortstop Aviles, who has fine speed, makes nice cuts and offers strong, accurate throws. At first base, Jacobs is clumsy and non-athletic and at second Alberto Callaspo has a tough time getting a good jump on the ball. Alex Gordon at third is uneven. Catcher Miguel Olivo has good skills but has not yet developed his game calling. In left, DeJesus can make tough plays and in center Crisp is one of the best defenders around. Right fielder Guillen can make routine catches but he has a tough time going back on the ball.

Since 2006, General Manager Dayton Moore has focused on getting the best free agents he can with his modest budget and on developing talent from within. He is making strides and that's good news. Manager Trey Hillman had a fine first season in 2008 as the Royals earned six more wins than they had the season before. Steady development is the key here.

Don't expect this team to finish first or second. Can they notch third place? Sure that's possible as is fourth or fifth. There's not much bad on this club but there's also nothing extraordinary. The last time the Royals won a division title was in 1985. That's when they were still part of the West Division. That's also the last and only time this club won the World Series. This is a “maybe next year” team.

Read more on the Royals other AL Central division competitors like the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox.

For more info on the Royals check out the MLB official page for Kansas City baseball news.


2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews

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