Here come the projections.
On Sunday,Clay Davenport
revealed his outlook for the 2014 division races in baseball, and it was not pretty for Royals fans.
The Royals were projected to finish 77-85, which would be a fourth-place finish in the AL Central behind the Tigers (91-71), Indians (85-77) and White Sox (79-83).
The good news? The Royals were predicted to score 680 runs, a slight increase from 648 a year ago. The bad news? The Royals were projected to give up 712, a huge jump from last season, when they allowed 601.
Last week, Dan Szymborski of Fangraphs released the Royals ZiPS projections, and they were dissected nicely by a couple of local blogs —Pine Tar Press and Royals Review
A few thoughts on the ZiPS projections:
• Billy Butler is projected to steal a base. That’s kind of bold.
• New right fielder Norichika Aoki’s numbers weren’t what you’d hope for. Last year, his slash line was .286/.356/.370, and he’s projected to be .279/.336/.362 this year.
• New second baseman Omar Infante’s numbers also were expected to take a dive. His projected slash line: .279/.309/.416 and last year’s: .318/.345/.450.
• Good news comes from a predicted uptick from third baseman Mike Moustakas. The projected slash line of .255/.305/.416 won’t set the world on fire, but it’s much better than a year ago: .233/.287/.364.
• Four Royals are projected to have an OPS+ over 100: Eric Hosmer (121), Billy Butler (120), Alex Gordon (110) and Salvador Perez (104). Good news comes on the back end, where the Royals had two starters with an OPS+ of 55 or less (Chris Getz and Alcides Escobar). The lowest projection is for Escobar at 74, which is an improvement.
• Last year, the Royals had three starters with an ERA+ over 100 (James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana). The projections have just one (Shields, 114). Danny Duffy checks in at 100, but his innings pitched are at 94. Not so good. Yordano Ventura (98), Guthrie (90), Jason Vargas (87) and Wade Davis (90) are among the others.