The Royals hit fewer home runs than anyone in baseball last year. Their leadoff hitter has a .299 on-base percentage, and their No. 3 hitter had five home runs last year. They employ three closers — four, if Luke Hochevar gets back to his 2013, pre-surgery self — and three Gold Glove winners and at least two more who could.
There are many ways for a baseball team to win, and the Royals seemed determined to prove that over and over last year, leading manager Ned Yost to drop this terrific Successful Ned line:
“There’s nothing traditional about our lineup. But we’re American League champions.”
This year is about following up a season that changed baseball in Kansas City, and you can find any number of predictions about how this will go. I tend to think the Royals will hit the over on their Vegas number — I’ve seen as low as 76 1/2 — but you can see where the skepticism comes from.
I think the Royals have a good and flawed team in a division full of good and flawed teams. I think the Tigers are about to get old, the White Sox aren’t quite there, and the Indians will win the division. I think the Royals have a decent shot at the playoffs.
I also think none of us know nuthin’.
Anyway, this is all on my mind because we’re about to do The Totally Official DKTM 2015 Royals Over-Under Challenge. I believe this is the ninth year we’ve done this silly little exercise, either here or when I was doing baseball at the late Ball Star blog, god rest its soul, which, jeez, I’m old.
Holy crap, you guys. I just looked this up and I am older than everybody on the Royals’ roster except for Jason Frasor. All of this is a very rambling, stream-of-conscience way of saying PLEASE DAYTON, KEEP JASON FRASOR ON YOUR TEAM FOREVER.
Oof. Sorry for the outburst there. Let’s just get to it.
The brilliant Grant over at Challenge Builder has once again helped out here. Copious thanks to him. The process and rules here are the same as always, but quick review:
After you put in your guesses, you’ll need to login with an email address, or a Facebook or Google account (if you don’t have a Google account, it’s very easy and very free). You’ll be able to make changes right up to the deadline — 3:10 p.m. Central, when Yordano Ventura will throw the first pitch of the Royals’ season, probably a 98 mph fastball.
At least for our purposes, over and under is literal. So with the Royals’ rank in runs scored, for instance, an “over” guess means they’ll be ninth or worse. An “under” guess means they’ll be eighth or better.
Attendance will only be used as the tiebreaker, if needed, and this isn’t Price Is Right, so you can go over. Closest wins. Also, the system won’t take any commas there. So, for instance, type in “2081943,” and not “2,081,943.”
All disputes (even my own mistakes) will be settled by me. I am harsh but fair.
Winner gets a gift card to Oklahoma Joe’s (I’ll never call it Joe’s Kansas City), unless I try this Slap’s place and it’s as good as everyone says and, oh, hell, who am I kidding? Winner gets a gift card from wherever they want.
Enough with the intros. Good luck to you all.