Best-case projections for each Royal would produce a playoff team on paper

03/30/2014 12:00 AM

03/28/2014 12:59 PM

Well, we know they have it in them.

If you’re a person who peruses predictions for the upcoming season, then it’s been a depressing winter.

Clay Davenport’s updated projections have the Royals winning 79 games this season, which is the same number Baseball Prospectus predicted. Better news from FanGraphs, which calculated the number would be 80.

Not very inspiring, particularly for a team that won 86 games last year and one that fans hope will make the playoffs for the first time since “Take On Me” by a-ha was the top hit on Casey Kasem’s countdown.

However, The Star asked Baseball Prospectus to crunch the numbers if each Royal, from top to bottom, had the the best seasons of his career.

Every player has a range of expected statistics he could produce for a given season. Baseball Prospectus used the 90th percentile for each Royal. Would that be enough to make the playoffs?

The answer is yes and then some.

“We went ahead and used the 90th percentiles for everyone we’ve projected playing time for, not just the frontline players,” Rob McQuown wrote in an email. “With all of the regular players except (Alcides) Escobar adding around two (2) wins apiece above their expected seasons, and Big Game James Shields adding 2.4 wins to his lowly projection, the 90th-percentile Royals end up winning 105 games.”

Yep, 105! That not only would be good enough for the playoffs, but likely would be the top spot in the American League. Playoff baseball would return to Kauffman Stadium.

Sure, it’s unlikely that every player on the roster would play to the upper end of his projections. And, yes, this doesn’t take into account injuries. But, hey, the season hasn’t started yet, so this is a time to believe anything is possible.

Why not dream big? Royals: 105-57.

Has a nice ring to it, no?

Here are the top seasons each Royals player has had in his career (projected lineup, rotation and closer):

Norichika Aoki (2012): .288, 81 runs, 37 2Bs, 10 HRs, 50 RBIs, 30 SBs

Omar Infante (2013): .318, 54 runs, 24 2Bs, 10 HRs, 51 RBIs

Alex Gordon (2011): .303, 101 runs, 45 2Bs, 23 HRs, 87 RBIs

Billy Butler (2012): .313, 72 runs, 32 2Bs, 29 HRs, 107 RBIs

Eric Hosmer (2013): .302, 86 runs, 34 2Bs, 17 HRs, 79 RBIs

Salvy Perez (2013): .292, 48 runs, 25 2Bs, 13 HRs, 79 RBIs

Mike Moustakas (2012): .242, 69 runs, 34 2Bs, 20 HRs, 73 RBIs

Lorenzo Cain (2013): .251, 54 runs, 21 2Bs, 4 HRs, 46 RBIs

Alcides Escobar (2012): .293, 68 runs, 30 2Bs, 5 HRs, 52 RBIs, 35 SBs

James Shields (2011): 16-12, 2.82 ERA, 249 1/3 IP, 195 H, 65 BB, 225 SO

Jason Vargas (2010): 9-12, 3.78 ERA, 192 2/3 IP, 187 H, 54 BB, 116 SO

Jeremy Guthrie (2007): 7-5, 3.70, 175 1/3 IP, 165 H, 47 BB, 123 SO

Bruce Chen (2000): 7-4, 3.29 ERA, 134 IP, 116 H, 46 BB, 112 SO

Yordano Ventura (2013*): 8-6, 3.14 ERA, 134 2/3 IP, 119 H, 53 BB, 155 SO

Greg Holland (2013): 47 saves, 1.21 ERA, 67 IP, 40 H, 18 BB, 103 SO

*Minor-league totals

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