2023 Kansas City Royals: Rebuild 2.0

2023 Kansas City Royals: Rebuild 2.0
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The Kansas City Royals came up short on their quest for the American League Central crown in 2022 but made several on-the-field gains that set the stage for a rebuild for 2023. Their young players, such as Bobby Witt Jr and Vinnie Pasquantino, took huge steps in their development. Witt is becoming the star the team has been missing since Alex Gordon retired. The young rotation also made some strides. Instead of giving chances to young, hungry players, the Royals brought in Carlos Santana, Andrew Benintendi, and Michael A. Taylor. They lost 88 games in 2021 and were even worse in 2022, causing Club President Dayton Moore and manager Mike Matheny to lose their jobs after a 97-loss season.

Kansas City Royals Under New Management in 2023

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The biggest move the team made has to be in the front office with GM J.J. Picollo taking over from long-time GM Moore. He brings with him a new manager in Matt Quatraro. They wasted no time bringing in some veteran presence to help the young team. They re-signed veteran starting pitcher Zach Greinke and signed free agents Jordan Lyles and Franmil Reyes. The Royals are hoping Kyle Isbel can be the answer in centerfield and the Royals hope that he becomes a Gold Glove-caliber defender. If not, Drew Waters could be an option in centerfield once he returns from an oblique injury that may cost him the first few weeks of the season. Edward Olivares and Nate Eaton also figure to be in the mix and need to take advantage of the opportunities given to them this year.

The Royals feel they have their long-term lineup with their core hitters in the Majors, but can Witt, MJ Melendez, Pasquantino, and Michael Massey avoid a sophomore slump?

Pitching is King

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The Royals’ season will be defined by their pitching staff. The rotation is led by Greinke in his age-39 season. He’s no longer the fireballer that he was in his youth, but is now one of the craftiest veterans in the league as he polishes off his Hall of Fame career. He enters the season just shy of 3000 strikeouts. Lyles and holdover Brady Singer are locks for the rotation. Young and upcoming pitchers, such as Kris Bubic and free agent Ryan Yarbrough will fill out the rest of the rotation. The Royals bullpen is one of the team’s strengths. The team made some upgrades to the bullpen by taking a chance on former New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. Led by Chapman, Scott Barlow, Taylor Clarke, and Dylan Coleman, Quatraro should be set in the late innings.

The Struggle to Score Runs

The Royals’ offense will struggle to score runs. Witt Jr and Pasquantino will lead the offense, but the rest of the team is unproven. Look for catching prospect Melendez to unseat Salvador Perez by the All-Star Break. The Royals are a young team that could get younger at the trade deadline with players like Perez and Chapman moved for prospects. The team should finish below .500, but thanks to the Tigers, stay out of the basement.

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