10 Predictions for the 2012 Royals Organization

What is in store for the Royals in 2012? Well, here are 10 predictions I’m making while trying to remain a realist and not an overly optimistic fan.

10. Mike Montgomery Makes His MLB Debut in July

For better or worse, I think this is inevitable. Personally, I think Monty needs another full season of AAA, but I don’t make the decisions. Maybe I’m wrong and Mike Montgomery will dominate AAA and make a smooth transition to the bigs, but much like Danny Duffy last year, I think he moves up early and struggles. I didn’t think Duffy was quite ready and his results bore that out last year.

9. Wil Myers Rebounds

With a stellar fall in the rearview mirror, I predict Wil Myers will tear up AA pitching and earn a midseason promotion to AAA. What he does there is anyone’s guess. He could continue and blow through AAA and be making his MLB debut in September, but I’m not thinking that. I’d be more inclined to say he will start next season at AAA and force his promotion sometime in 2013 much like Hosmer did in 2011.

8. Bubba Makes an Impact

I’m going to go out and predict that Bubba Starling will make a big impact in the minors, making his way to high A ball this season. The Royals may suddenly realize his timetable might be a little quicker than originally planned. Sorry, Lorenzo Cain, no extension for you. The Bubba show starts in 2015, set your DVRs!

7. Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez, Kings of Inconsistency

This is the year. This is the year we finally start to see the real Luke Hochevar on a more consistent basis. He will lead the team with 14 wins and be the most consistent pitcher on the staff. Sanchez on the other hand, will lead the team in strikeouts. He will also have at least five starts where fans will wonder what the Giants were thinking and at least five where we see exactly what they were thinking.

6. Greg Holland, Closer of the Future?

My prediction is that Greg Holland, not Jonathan Broxton, will lead the team in saves. Although I’m of the personal opinion that Kelvin Herrera, Luis Coleman or Aaron Crow actually have better closer “stuff” I think the ball will be Holland’s more often than not. I also don’t think Yost commits to any one guy in that role all year long. Broxton may get it early as the team works to maximize his trade value at the deadline, but in the end, it’s Holland’s job to lose heading into 2013.

5. Lorenzo Cain, an improvement over Melky Cabrera

I’m not basing this on Lorenzo Cain’s torrid spring. Just a gut feeling that the Royals won’t miss Melky Cabrera’s bat as much as you might think. I’m projecting Cain for 50 XBH to go along with a .730 OPS, that and a big defensive upgrade will exceed Cabrera in value from last season (2.9 WAR). He is going to play himself into being a big tradeable chip by the time Bubba comes around.

4. The Royals, Offensive Force?

That’s right, the Royals. Yes, those Royals. The same ones that were third in the league in hits, sixth in XBH, sixth in runs scored, second in doubles and first in triples. The Royals will meet or beat most of those stats this year. The true question will be if it will translate into more runs? How do they do this? Well, that is a bigger question, more than worthy of its own post. Stay tuned to Crown Crazed for that.

3. Billy Butler begins to blossom as a Power Hitter

Yes, that is my story and I’m sticking to it. My projection for Billy Butler is .285/.370/.490 with 25 HR and 105 RBI. A quick look shows Butler has gotten between 672 and 678 plate appearances over the last three years. 2011 was his worst year in terms of AVG, SLUG and OPS. I think most of that is attributed to big stride Butler took in getting the ball in the air last year. After his first four years, his Ground Ball to Fly Ball ratio hovered between .97 and .93 (league AVG is .80). Last year, it plummeted to .84. That is a pretty large improvement and explains the dip in AVG as the fly balls tend to lead to more outs. His HR to FB ratio was 7.5% last year, right in line with league averages, although below his year of 2009 when it was 8.8% and he hit 21 HR’s. So with the increase in fly balls and a slight uptick in HR/FB ratio, Butler will be a 25 HR guy for the first time.

2. The Royals will have multiple representatives at the All-Star Game

Say What???? Since 1990, the Royals have had multiple representatives only twice. In 2003, Mike MacDougal and Mike Sweeney repped the Royals. In 2000, it was Sweeney and Jermaine Dye. Past that, you have to go back to 1989 with Mark Gubicza and Bo Jackson (he was MVP if you remember, I know I do). My best guess? I’ll say Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Don’t screw me over here Ron Washington!

1. The Royals will win just 77 games

Sorry to end on a downer, but this is where I peg the team for this year. The injury to Salvador Perez was more damaging than the Soria injury, IMO. I just don’t see this team hitting their stride collectively until after the ASB, when they will play +.500 ball the rest of the way. Of all the predictions, let’s hope I’m wrong (in a good way) about this one.

Added Bonus: My full Predictions for MLB

Standings, in order

AL WEST: Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Athletics

AL CENTRAL: Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Royals, Twins

AL EAST: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles

WILD CARDS: Rays and Red Sox

AL CHAMPION: Tigers over Yankees

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

AL CY YOUNG: Felix Hernandez, Mariners

AL ROY: Matt Moore, Rays

NL WEST: Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers

NL CENTRAL: Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs, Astros

NL EAST: Nationals, Braves, Marlins, Phillies, Mets

WILD CARDS: Braves and Diamondbacks

NL CHAMPIONSHIP: Reds over Giants

NL MVP: Melky Cabrera… ha. Just Kidding. Joey Votto, Reds (sorry, I don’t think MVP’s come from last place teams Mr. Kemp)

NL CY YOUNG: Tim Lincecum, Giants

NL ROY: God I hope it’s not Bryce Harper, Nationals, but it probably will be.

WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Reds in SIX.

Feel free to come back and laugh at these anytime during the season!

4 Comments Say Something
  • I agree with all your predictions accept, number 6 Greg Holland, becoming the closer. I just can’t see it, but other than that great article.

  • The way I see it, it will go one of two ways:

    Scenario 1: Broxton has regained his stuff and closes out maybe 15-18 games for KC in the first half of the season. Holland has 3-4 saves. Broxton is then traded at the deadline, Holland becomes closer.

    Scenario 2: Broxton bombs, Holland is closer. Francouer takes Broxton on another hunting trip and loses him, Sopranos’ style.

    Then again, all this could be different if Kelvin Herrera gets the opportunity.

  • I think the closer role is Broxton’s to lose. That being said, if the Royals are not in contention at the deadline, he is definitely gone.

    Butler to hit 25HRs? Doubt it. I know this isn’t popular, but I think the Royals would be a better team if they never resigned Billy Butler. He has reached his ceiling, and that ceiling is not too great all-around. Especially being a complete liability on the basepaths.
    I’ve been watching Sanchez for years, and that’s just it… He and Hochevar are a lot alike. One game they look like the best pitcher in the league, then the next, they leave you wondering how the hell they even have a job in a MLB rotation.
    I agree, I don’t see the Royals contending in 2012.
  • I think Butler gets a bad rap. He’s a solid player, just not a great one. But then again, he is only entering his age-26 season. I really think we will see more from him, starting this year. Butler (in my mind) compares to Mike Sweeney in a lot of regards. Sweeney hit more HR simply because he was more of a flyball hitter than Butler has ever been. Sweeney was also a tick better with plate discipline and overall probably a tick better. Sweeney should also be the example/warning when it comes to Butler’s next contract. The Royals forked over 11M per year for Sweeney’s Age 29-33 seasons. Butler’s salary will be 8M per year for his age 26-28 years with a team option of 12.5M for age 29. Personally, I think by then, the Royals will decline because Moose will be moving to DH and Cuthbert will man the hot corner.In reality, I don’t mind what we pay Butler, it’s not extreme, not it a world where Clint Barmes is making 5.5M a year or Jason Kendall was given 3M. Or team decide to commit 20-25M a year to sluggers AFTER they turn 32 (See Pujols, Fielder, Votto)

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