Did anyone have the Kansas City Royals in the conversation for a playoff spot with less than a week to go? If you did congrats to you, but I would like to see it in writing. This team has had the potential the last few seasons to make some noise but never really put it together. This season it really hit them that they could win a good amount of games and be in contention for a playoff spot. This is where the second Wild Card spot comes into play. If that wasn’t put into play, the five teams going after that spot would already be out of it and playing spoiler. The Royals now have a 0.1% chance of making the playoffs, but you’re saying they have a chance! A lot of stuff has to happen for them to get the second spot in the Wild Card but even if they don’t get it, it has been a successful season in Kansas City.
Players like Ervin Santana, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon really came out and finally shined for the Royals. Then you add Salvador Perez and James Shields and you understand why this team has been in contention much of the second half. They might have waited a little to long to get hot and start winning meaningful games, but it is just starting for the Royals. The Royals have a top five farm system in the minor leagues and those guys are going to find their way to the majors sooner or later. The pitching staff is going to be top ten in the league next season, if everyone stays healthy.
James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura make up the starting rotation for the Royals. We have already seen for a few years now what James Shields can do in big games. He is only signed through next season but if the Royals keep winning you could see him sign a long term deal. Ervin Santana finally had a solid full season in the majors this season and now can work on that this off season and be even better in 2014. Jeremy Guthrie is a solid starter on the back end. Danny Duffy, if healthy, can be a solid three solid in the middle of the rotation. Finally we get to one of the best arms in the Minor Leagues this season, Yordano Ventura. He has two major league starts and hasn’t disappointed one bit. He has given up seven hits and two earned runs combined in those two starts. Not to bad for a guy that made his debut in the middle of a playoff race.
Offensively guys like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez really set a foundation for the Royals. They aren’t your big name guys but they still get the job done. Gordon does a great job in the outfield as well. He has made two great throws in the last two weeks to throw guys out at the plate to save the Royals season for one more day. If the Royals front office could add one big name to this lineup, they could give the Tigers and Indians a run for the money in the division next season.
Ned Yost deserves a lot of credit for what he has done for this club. With less than a week to play, the Royals have won 11 more games than they did in 2012. It doesn’t seem like much, but in a tight division it means everything. Having a guy like James Shields helps that but he still has to make the right moves to give his team the best chance to win. Great job Ned Yost, you should get some votes for American League Manager of the Year when things are all set and done.