Well, another lost season has come and gone for the Royals. After flirting with 4th place most of the year, they finished with authority and ended the year in the cellar. At 67-95, they had the 5th worst record in baseball. At least they didn’t lose 100.
The 2010 Royals were strange. The first half of the year featured Guillen, Ankiel, Farnsworth, and Podsednik—middling veterans who we knew (hoped?) would not be around in August. The second half showcased…Betemit, Blanco, and Ka’aihue.
Yes, it was an odd year, but at least they didn’t bother getting our hopes up (Ned Yost’s All-Star Break “we’re still in it” comment notwithstanding).
-The Royals leader in home runs was shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt with 16. Yeah. Him. Technically, he was tied for the team lead with Jose Guillen, who was traded in August and only played in 106 games for KC.
Sixteen home runs is tied with the Oakland A’s for the worst team-leading total in baseball this year.
For perspective, Betancourt would have finished NINTH on the Toronto Blue Jays in home runs, behind such luminaries as John Buck.
-Quiz time: Who had the lowest ERA among Royals starters this year? If you said Zack Greinke you are correct. But if you said Bruce Chen, you are also correct – they tied at 4.17. So yes, last year’s Cy Young winner and a career journeyman who throws 86 mph had roughly equivalent seasons. Chen led the Royals with 12 wins.
Speaking of Greinke, he never looked dominant this year. The lack of motivation may have something to do with it, but he never seemed to have any of the electric stuff he showed last year. More alarming, he got absolutely SHELLED a few times. I have no idea what to expect of him next year.
-Joakim Soria is probably the best pick in the history of the Rule 5 draft. The Royals might have the best closer in the game right now, which is about as useful as owning a motorcycle in Alaska.
-Alex Gordon, who is ready to “dominate” next year, batted .215 in a couple hundred at-bats.
I don’t expect much in 2011, and that’s as it should be for a Royals fan. We might see our first glimpses of the future in Montgomery, Moustakas, and Hosmer. But I see another win total in the 60s, while bigger crowds than they really deserve cheer them on between texts and facebook updates.