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Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

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Old 02-09-2019, 11:55 AM   #297
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

BOSTON @ KANSAS CITY (GAME 3, ALCS)
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:03 PM   #298
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

10/15/2019: CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORES
NLCS Game 2: Chi. Cubs 1, NY Mets 9
W: Dallas Keuchel L: Jon Lester S: None

10/16/2018: CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORES
ALCS Game 3: Kansas City 4, Boston 1
W: Trevor Oaks L: Eduardo Rodriguez S: Corey Knebel
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:26 PM   #299
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

BOSTON @ KANSAS CITY (GAME 4, ALCS)
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:13 PM   #300
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

10/17/2019: CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORES
NLCS Game 3: NY Mets 7, Chi. Cubs 5
W: Robert Gsellman L: Andrew Miller S: Liam Hendriks

ALCS Game 4: Kansas City 8, Boston 9
W: Archie Bradley L: Corey Knebel S: None
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:26 PM   #301
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

BOSTON @ KANSAS CITY (GAME 5, ALCS)
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:30 PM   #302
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

10/18/2019: CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORES
NLCS Game 4: NY Mets 7, Chi. Cubs 5
W: Felix Hernandez L: Kyle Hendricks S: None

ALCS Game 5: Kansas City 0, Boston 6
W: Chris Sale L: Danny Duffy S: None
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:46 PM   #303
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

2019: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD
Kansas City looks to build off exciting 2019

By artoodeetoo
10/19/2019


PROLOGUE

Admittedly, I began writing this article when the Royals went down two games to zero at home against Boston, only to briefly get some confidence back once they won Game 3. However, that was fleeting as the Red Sox shut the door in Games 4 and 5; and will move on to the World Series against the team the Royals vanquished in 2015, the New York Mets.

They were competitive in all but the final game; where they just looked listless at the plate against Chris Sale, who ate his lunch, and then the Royals' lunch in his two starts. They had just five hits, and Peter Alonso had three of them.

"They're the defending champions for a reason," mused manager Ned Yost. "We didn't quit and battled to the end, but it's not going to work out every time."

WHAT WENT RIGHT

The Royals outpaced all expectations this year, blowing away last year's 72-90 mark with an AL Central title and trip to the ALCS. They had a winning record in the final four months of the season; and produced not one, but two Rookie of the Year candidates in Peter Alonso and Nicky Lopez, with Alonso putting together one of the all-time great rookie seasons in MLB history.

Alonso led all AL rookies in RBI (110), finished sixth in hits (143), second in homeruns (31), and second in doubles (33). He would have lapped the field in batting average (.343) had he not fell just short of the plate appearances needed to qualify for the batting title. The .343 also would have ranked him fourth in the AL batting race, and his 5.4 WAR ranked in the top ten in the AL.

The only negative surrounding Alonso may have been the time it took the Royals to bring him up, as he didn't arrive in the majors until late May. What might have been had he stuck around a whole season? We'll never know.

The other rookie phenom, Lopez, may have cemented himself as the Royals' leadoff hitter for the next half-decade. While he hit just two homeruns all season, he was an extra-base hit machine, smacking twenty-one doubles, eleven triples, and stole twenty-one bases.

The most amazing stat? He drew eighty-four walks and struck out just forty-one times. Yes, you read that right -- a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 84:41 or just over 2:1. That's unheard of for even the most seasoned of veterans, let alone a 24-year-old rookie. As the league comes around to him, that stat probably won't look so wonky in the future, but that's incredible strike zone knowledge at such an early stage.

The best story, however, might have been the reclamation project of Cheslor Cuthbert. Nearly left for the scrap heap after 2017, Cuthbert looked to make his mark in 2018 only to get injured a month into a hot start in 2018. He came back late, and finished with a .264/.304/.464 line in 138 plate appearances that year.

A year later, he's earned an All-Star bid, and put together a phenomenal year. He hit .299/.356/.470, with forty doubles, twenty-two homeruns, and 118 RBI. The next question is whether or not the Royals decide to keep him around long-term. He is still controlled through 2021, but at just twenty-seven years of age, the Royals could potentially let a home-grown star get away in the prime of his career at a premium position at just twenty-nine.

Contract negotiations were reportedly underway shortly after the All-Star break, but halted when it became pretty apparent that the Royals would make the playoffs in some fashion, whether by virtue of winning the division or the second Wild Card spot. With the season now over, expect more news on that front.

Pitching-wise, the Royals' staff ranked in the top four American League-wide in ERA (4th), starters' ERA (3rd), and improved from 14th to 11th in strikeouts over 2018. Trevor Oaks was the staff's breakout star, posting a 13-7 record with a 3.41 ERA over 206 innings of work, fanning 129 while walking just forty.

Luis Cessa was also another big surprise after being claimed on waivers early in the season. He made thirty-one appearances (twenty-nine starts), with a 3.76 ERA that covered 179 innings of work. In fact, all five of the Royals' starting rotation should return next season, including trade acquisition Jimmy Nelson, who was a playoff standout.

WHAT WENT WRONG

A season like the Royals just had will have more right than wrong, but there was little to quibble with in 2019. The biggest disappointment of the season was catcher Salvador Perez, who posted a 69 OPS+ with twenty-one homeruns and a .213 BA. He also OBP'ed just .258, and a career-low SLG of .380, beating last year's .396.

The Royals have been thinking of ways to lengthen Perez's career behind the plate, and they played him in sixteen games (fourteen starts) at first base, with marginal success. He still caught the most innings of his career since 2015, mainly thanks to playing in some games where they had scheduled time off for him. He also had to catch more games, thanks to an injury to Cam Gallagher early in the season.

Perez, who will still only be twenty-nine when the Royals open up next season, is at the mercy of a team option that essentially guarantees him $13M in 2020 and 2021 each. Dayton Moore signed that contract with the intent to keep him around through those seasons, but his decline has been quicker than anticipated. They also have a young switch-hitting catching prodigy advancing through the minors (Adley Rutschman), who they just drafted in the first round this past June, and a few other catching prospects.

It appears unlikely that the Royals will exercise that option, and with twenty-one homeruns, Perez still has some pop in his bat, especially against lefties. My instinct is the Royals would like to keep him around, but not at $13M for each of the next two seasons. Outfielders Alex Gordon ($23M) and Billy Hamilton ($3.25M) also have team options forthcoming.

Some way, some how, the Royals still have another season of Ian Kennedy to deal with. He made just nine starts (45 IP), striking out just sixteen with fourteen walks. He allowed fourteen homeruns, and his already-compromised velocity dropped into the mid to high-80's. He was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in May, and after surgery, landed on the disabled list. He's not expected to return until late May or early June of next year, but even then, it's hard to fathom a role for Kennedy going forward in his final contract year.

Also, the deadline deals the Royals made were a mixed bag. Corey Knebel and Jimmy Nelson worked out fantastically; while David Peralta, while solid, didn't do much of anything noteworthy after the Royals surrendered three players to Arizona for him. He hit just .267/.325/.390 with an OPS+ of 86 in 163 plate appearances with the Royals, a far cry from his numbers with Arizona (.306/.384/.465, 127 OPS+). Peralta is under arbitration for one more year this offseason, and it wouldn't be shocking to see him traded; if not go to arbitration with the team.

Lastly, the Royals also need to find a way to deepen their bench. They went much of the second half of the season without a real backup for either Adalberto Mondesi or Nicky Lopez after trading Jose Iglesias in May. Former first-round pick Hunter Dozier had a lackluster second season, and will be out of options in 2020. Kelvin Gutierrez, whom they acquired in the Kelvin Herrera deal in 2018, is also coming off the 60-day disabled list soon.

LOOKING AHEAD

Barring a major deal, the starting rotation that was in place at season's end are all under control and will be back for 2020. In the bullpen, however, there may be some major upheaval as both Tony Cingrani and Josh Fields are free-agents-to-be, and the aforementioned Knebel, Nathan Karns, Blake Treinen are all up for arbitration. There are some lower-cost alternatives in the minor leagues, as Drew Smith impressed after shifting from the rotation to the bullpen. Jorge Lopez also had a solid season after the same transition, and there are other wildcards like Heath Fillmyer and Josh Staumont, both of whom battled injury for much of 2019.

If it comes down to it, replacing franchise luminaries like Gordon and Perez will be tough tasks, not just for their production, but their leadership. It seems to be a certainty that the Royals won't pick Gordon's option up, but has expressed interest in returning on a lesser deal, as has Perez.

Some young players to watch in 2020 -- the Royals should hope for increased production from Brett Phillips and Adalberto Mondesi. Mondesi tailed off at the end of the season, but showed some tremendous power potential with thirteen homeruns during the season, even hitting a couple of impressive-looking homeruns in the postseason. He was third on the team in RBI with seventy-four, and gives the Royals solid production at a non-premium offensive position.

Phillips struggled early on in 2019 before hurting his back, and spending roughly three weeks in Omaha on a rehab assignment. He was torrid in July, helping the Royals enter the playoff race after a slow start. However, he struggled over the final two months, hitting just .206 (26-of-126) while also spending a few weeks on the disabled list with a wrist issue.

Last edited by artoodeetoo; 02-11-2019 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:53 AM   #304
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Re: Royal Rebuild [OOTP 19]

WORLD SERIES SCORES
Game 1 (10/24/2019): Boston 1, NY Mets 2
W: Noah Syndergaard L: Chris Sale S: Anthony Swarzak

Game 2 (10/25/2019): Boston 3, NY Mets 1
W: Matt Barnes L: Anthony Swarzak S: Grant Dayton

Game 3 (10/27/2019): NY Mets 5, Boston 6 (F/10)
W: Archie Bradley L: Robert Gsellman S: None

Game 4 (10/28/2019): NY Mets 6, Boston 4 (F/10)
W: Jamie Callahan L: Matt Barnes S: None

Game 5 (10/29/2019): NY Mets 6, Boston 1
W: Noah Syndergaard L: Chris Sale S: None

Game 6 (10/31/2019): Boston 0, NY Mets 10
W: Jacob deGrom L: Eduardo Rodriguez S: None


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