Are the Royals among the most improved teams?

I’m not trying to ignite another sabermetric battle, but c’mon.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark on Thursday looked at which teams had improved the most so far during the offseason. In one segment, he asked a colleague to use a projection system to determine which teams had done the most to help themselves.

That system looked at the projected 2013 win totals for all 30 teams at the start of the offseason, based on their rosters at the time. The projections were run again this week with the retooled rosters.

I have no qualm with the Blue Jays jumping up 15 victories. But the top five teams were listed and the Reds were fifth, going from 84 victories to 87. That’s a plus-three, and I have a hard time believing the Royals didn’t improve by three games after trading for James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana. (I’m not sure about Jeremy Guthrie, as he declared for free agency after the season).

OK, that’s my nitpick. From a Royals’ perspective, the best part of the piece (which you can read


) was the thoughts of one National League executive.

"What was their rotation last year, and what is it now?" that executive asked. "That says it all for me."

He went on to say: “Their pitching's better. And their offense should be better with the maturation of the guys at the corners (Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas). But no matter how you look at it, you can't tell me the Kansas City Royals aren't better than they were a year ago. No way you can say that."

If nothing else, reading Stark’s piece will make Royals fans happy they are not mentioned in the five least-improved teams.