For Pete's Sake

Early predictions for the 2018 Royals aren’t encouraging

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez. jsleezer@kcstar.com

The Houston Astros’ parade isn’t until Friday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to the 2018 baseball season, right?

The Star’s Rustin Dodd has an excellent primer on Royals heading into free agency, and you are probably aware of the number of players who could leave Kansas City, including Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas.

The Royals still have a number of very good players returning, including catcher Salvador Perez, pitcher Danny Duffy and second baseman Whit Merrifield, so who knows what the future holds?

And, obviously, much will be done between now and the start of spring training, which is about 15 weeks away. But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating about the 2018 season.

First, the gaming site Bovada has the Royals as a 50-1 shot to win the World Series. That’s actually not bad. Eight teams have worse odds, including the Minnesota Twins, who are a 66-1 shot, despite having played in this year’s American League Wild Card Game.

The outlook from ESPN’s David Schoenfield isn’t quite as rosy. His “way-too-early 2018 power rankings” have the Royals at No. 29.

“Even with Hosmer and Moustakas having their best seasons, the Royals weren’t very good in 2017, winning 80 games and getting outscored by 89 runs,” Schoenfield wrote. “Without a new pipeline of talent to replace the free agents, it’s going to be a long rebuilding process …”

There is a sliver of good news: the 30th-ranked team on the list is the Detroit Tigers, so if Schoenfield is correct, the Royals won’t finish last in the AL Central.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook odds are also not great for the Royals. They are one of eight teams with an 80-1 shot of winning the World Series. The only team with worse odds is the Detroit Tigers, who have 300-1 odds.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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