The Royals Taking Aim at the Playoffs Again
The Kansas City Royals Royals sure have come a long way in a decade. It was just over 11 years ago that they were mired in a club-record 19-game losing streak — the worst skid in the game in 17 years — en route to a 106-loss campaign, also the worst in team history.
A scant decade and change later, the Royals are the defending World Series champions.
And while this season has proved to be a much bigger challenge for KC, it’s currently the hottest team in the American League and after taking two of three in Boston this weekend, suddenly finds itself just a game back of the second place Tigers in the AL Central and just three back of the second Wild Card slot in the AL.
Believe it or not, KC looked dead in the water just over three weeks ago as it sat seven games under .500, but a 17-4 run since has stoked their playoff aspirations in a big way.
Clearly, the Royals aren’t ready to call their run a one-and-done as they take aim at a third straight postseason appearance. And with 20 of their final 32 games coming at home — where they are 40-21 this season — they have a very favourable schedule.
Let’s have a look at some of the more Fantasy worthy developments going on in Kansas City this season…
First baseman Eric Hosmer has been unable to build on a breakout 2015 campaign, but is heating up at the right time. He’s reached safely in 12 straight games and already has 20 RBI this month after managing just 10 in July. No, Hosmer is not hitting nearly as well as he did last year, but if he can maintain the kind of productivity he showed this weekend (five RBI in three games), KC’s playoff hopes will be buoyed tremendously. As long, that is, as he doesn’t get electrocuted (see video below).
Another Royal hitter that’s underperformed this season but is coming around now is DH Kendrys Morales. He shocked many by enjoying one of his finest seasons ever in 2015, but his runs and ribbies have fallen off the table this year. This weekend, Morales went 5-for-13 with two runs and a double and is now batting .333 over the last week. He’s been doing a much better job of getting on base this month and is finally putting a slow start to the season in the rear view mirror. His early season batted ball stats suggested nothing’s changes, so it’s nice to see the numbers finally evening out. Need a stick? He’s a solid add in AL-only leagues or deeper mixed formats.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, catcher Salvador Perez is enjoying a great season, but until recently, he had cooled off quite a bit. Apparently, however, a trip to Fenway was just what he needed to get it going again as he homered three times over the last two games to reach 20 bombs for the second straight season. Perez’s slash line has been poor over the last two months, but he continues to deliver plenty of extra-base hits (he’s up to 25 doubles, so will likely set a career high in that department as well). This dude has turned into one of the game’s more consistent offensive catchers, and a perennial All-Star. Enjoy the ride, because at the age of 26, Perez may yet have more upside.
Outfielder Lorenzo Cain is yet another KC batter that has failed to repeat his 2015, when he finished third in the MVP voting. He scored three runs this weekend, but went just 2-for-10, cooling off after a very fine start to the month. Cain’s been all over the map this year, but was certainly not aided by a hamstring woe that cost him a month. He hasn’t been nearly as good on the basepaths this year, but with four steals in August, he’s starting to look more like himself. The fact that Cain scored from first base on a single on Sunday sure was a good sign that his wheels are back.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below how you think the Royals will wind up this season.
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