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Kansas City Royals: 5 Players Who Need to Step Up in 2014

Last year, the Kansas City Royals were playoff contenders for much of the season.

After winning 86 games during the 2013 campaign, KC is looking to build on that in 2014.

In order to get there, the Royals will need several players to step up and play at a higher level this season.

Here are five players the Royals need big contributions from this year.

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Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer and 5 Key Players for the 2012 Season

The Kansas City Royals 2012 season will be upon us in just a matter of months.

There is a lot of hope and promise with this team, and in order for them to reach their goal of having a winning season for the first time in nine years, they will need solid contributions from many guys on the team.

Here are five key players for KC in 2012.

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MLB Draft 2011: Kansas City Royals Should Go with Bubba Starling in First Round

Every June, optimism spreads among MLB teams as the draft approaches.

It’s the time of the year when teams and fans can take a closer glimpse of their future through the draft.

This is no different for the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals have placed more emphasis in the draft process in recent years under current GM Dayton Moore, as he has beefed up his staff with more scouts in all areas, and it is already starting to pay dividends for the franchise.

Earlier this year, Baseball America dubbed the Royals’ farm system as the best unit in all of baseball.

Much of the recent praise of the Royals’ minor league system stems from a series of solid drafts, netting players such as current Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer, Royals’ starting pitcher Danny Duffy and emerging-star 3B Mike Moustakas.

In this year’s draft, the Royals will have the fifth overall pick, one that could potentially give the team another important piece to their future.

This is where local product Bubba Starling enters the discussion.

Starling, the former Gardner-Edgerton star, is considered by many as a rare five-tool prospect and could still be on the board when the Royals make their pick in the first round on Monday night.

He stands at 6’5″, 200 pounds and has the ability to either pitch or play outfield at the major-league level.

He is starting to draw comparisons to former AL MVP Josh Hamilton, and it’s easy to see why.

Starling has speed, power and the arm strength to blow away any scout who watches him play the game.

However, there could be a risk if the Royals were to draft Bubba with their first pick: Starling already has plans to enroll at Nebraska.

Although this might be the case, many think a large signing bonus and the chance to play in the majors in a couple years will persuade the talented slugger to go the pro baseball route.

The Royals simply can’t let another talented prospect from their own backyard get away from them.

Remember the former Fort Osage and Maple Woods CC star the Royals didn’t even seem to know about in the 2001 MLB Draft?

You might know him today as Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in the game.

Kansas City can’t afford for Starling to become the next Pujols—the home-grown star who got away.

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Kansas City Royals Prospect Watch: Clint Robinson

If you’re a Kansas City Royals fan and haven’t heard the name Clint Robinson, it’s time to start taking notice of what this powerful first base/DH prospect has been doing in the minor leagues.

No, his name isn’t Hosmer, Moustakas or Myers, but some say he has the potential to become a good hitter in the big leagues.

Robinson is well put-together, standing at 6’5″ and 235 pounds, he already has the makeup of a power-hitter in the majors.

Last season, he displayed this power by hitting 29 homers and driving in 98 runs for the Royals’ Double-A affiliate Northwest Arkansas.

He also showed his ability to hit for average and get on base as well, with a .335 batting average and a .410 OBP for the ’10 season.

The Jefferson City, Missouri native has continued his dominance of minor league pitching into this season, with three homers and five runs driven in through just five games played.

If Robinson continues to hit like this, the Royals will have no choice but to call him up to the big league club, especially if current 1B/DH Kila Ka’aihue continues to struggle like he has at the start of this ’11 campaign.

There’s always going to be a fan that points out that he’s already 26 years old and has only just made it to Triple-A—having never played a game at the big league level for a reason.

Nevertheless, Robinson’s path to the big leagues will be difficult, considering his teammate and one of the organization’s top prospects, Eric Hosmer, will likely be on the major league team by next season, which should force 1B/DH Billy Butler into more of a full-time DH role.

All the same, here’s hoping that Clint Robinson can continue to have a solid season at Omaha and one day make an impact for the Kansas City Royals.

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MLB Power Rankings: Top 10 Moments in Baseball History

There have been many great moments throughout the course of baseball history.

From national league sluggers battling it out in a home-run chase, to a Dodgers player becoming one of the first black players to play in the league, we have experienced a lot in the past 142 years of major league baseball.

The following is my take on the best 10 moments during this time. Enjoy.

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Kansas City Royals: Young Bullpen Off To Fast Start in 2011

The Kansas City Royals knew that they were getting some talented arms when they left camp with rookie relievers Aaron Crow, Tim Collins and Nate Adcock.

But there was no way of telling that the trio would be this dominant in their few games in the big leagues.

In the team’s recently completed season-opening series against the Angels, the threesome combined to pitch eight shutout innings while giving up six hits and striking out 11 in the process.

Although Adcock showed poise under pressure in his first appearance on opening day, it really has been the play of Aaron Crow and Tim Collins that has had people talking around Kansas City.

Crow, the former University of Missouri star, has looked like a man on a mission both times that he has taken the hill so far this season.

In his first outing, he struck out Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells back-to-back, not bad for a guy who was making his major league debut in the same game.

His stuff has been filthy, from back-bending to nearly unhittable sliders, as he has looked every bit like the player that the Royals envisioned when they drafted him nearly two years ago.

As for Tim Collins, he has been just as good, if not better than Crow in his two appearances.

Collins, the left-handed pitching prospect that has been seemingly passed up by two previous organizations, is starting to show what they missed out on by not retaining him in the past.

In the series finale against the Angels, Collins pitched three crucial innings to close out the game and made the Angels potent lineup look like a collection of amateurs.

Without the performances of these two outstanding rookies, KC could have easily lost another game or two against the Angels over the weekend.

The next test for the Royals and their talented, young ‘pen will be a two-game set against the White Sox that will start at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday night.

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MLB Predictions 2011: Billy Butler and Joakim Soria Will Be All-Stars

This is something that the Royals haven’t had for awhile: two All-Stars in the same season.

However, it could very well be a reality this year for KC, with a strong possibility of their two best players making the cut.

If you really think about this, it starts to make some sense.

On one hand, you have a two-time All-Star closer in Joakim Soria, and on the other hand, you have an emerging, young hitter in Billy Butler who has really improved in many areas throughout his short big league career.

Soria is one of the best closers in the game, and if you didn’t know his background, you might be surprised that he is a former Rule 5 draft pick that was actually traded from the Padres’ organization.

He could have been a dentist, as he has two siblings that do this, but he chose baseball in the end.

Needless to say, the Royals are very happy that he made that decision, as its hard to imagine where the back end of their bullpen would be today without him.

As for Butler, he is one of those guys that you really want to root for.

He was drafted out of high school in 2004, after being named to four different All-State teams for Wolfson High in Jacksonville, Florida.

He got his start with the Royals during the ’07 season after Mike Sweeney went down due to injury.

Butler had an rocky start to his ML career, but over the last couple of seasons, he has started to put it together.

From ’09 to ’10, Butler increased his average 17 points from .301 to .318, all while upping his OBP 26 points as well.

Billy is developing a better eye for opposing pitching, and all he needs is to get more power in his swing, which many Royal officials believe will happen soon.

Both of these guys are capable of having huge seasons, and in ’11, they appear to be ready to lead this team in more ways than one.

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MLB Predictions 2011: Why Mike Moustakas Will Be AL Rookie of the Year

When the Kansas City Royals selected Chatsworth High star Mike Moustakas in the first round of the ’07 amateur draft, they knew that they were getting a special player in return.

Kansas City GM Dayton Moore raved about the kid’s talent, saying that he will be a key part of the Royals’ future.

After two average to above-average seasons in the minors, many were beginning to question Moore’s past comments about the young slugger.

Then, the 2010 baseball season came and it quickly became clear that it was going to be Moustakas’ year.

The “Moose” got off to a blistering start, forcing a promotion to Triple-A Omaha mid-season after hitting .347 with 21 homers and 76 RBI in just 66 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

After he got to Omaha, he didn’t stop there. Moustakas batted .293 with 15 homers and 48 runs driven in while playing in just 62 games to finish out the season.

This season, Moustakas was invited to spring training as a non-roster invitee, and he hit .227 with a homer and six RBI in limited at-bats.

The team recently sent him down to Omaha, and he will begin the season there so he can work more on the defensive part of his game.

Many predict that he will be up by mid-season, and that is when the AL Rookie of the Year award will come into play.

He has a great shot to win this award for a multitude of reasons.

First, he has enormous power and has the ability to hit 30 homers and drive in 100-plus runs in a given year. This was displayed by his 24 homers in his senior year of high school and also his 74 career minor league home runs in three-plus seasons playing there.

Second, he knows how to get on base. Last season, Moustakas had a combined OBP of .369 as he only struck out 67 times in 118 games for the year.

Third, he is a natural born leader. It has been well documented that “Moose” is a take charge kind of guy, and this will only help him when he makes the transition to the big leagues this season.

Also, the competition for rookies this season looks really wide open right now with no presumed phenom, such as a Jason Heyward or a Bryce Harper set to take the field this year in the AL.

Moustakas has my vote for AL Rookie of the Year award, but does he have yours?

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Kansas City Royals: Five Players to Watch for in 2011

Opening Day is just over a week away, and it is time to look at what this season holds for the Kansas City Royals.

With many new players being added to the team over the past year, many will be looking for players that have been on the team in the past to step up their game and take charge this season.

The following is my guide to five players that will be very crucial to the club’s success in 2011.

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Kansas City Royals: 2011 Season Preview

With one week of spring training games in the books and just over three weeks to go before the start of the 2011 MLB regular season, it’s time to look forward to this year and take a look an early look at the 2011 version of the Kansas City Royals.

First of all, the lineup will see some notable changes in 2011. Free agent outfielders Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur were acquired in the offseason, and they are projected to be the starting center fielder and right fielder, respectively.

The shortstop position will also feature a new face in Alcides Escobar, who was one of the four players the Royals received in the Zack Greinke deal in December.

As of right now, Cabrera, Francoeur and Escobar appear to be the only new starters for KC to start the season, but that could change depending on the development of many of the Royals’ highly touted prospects such as Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.

This is how I see the lineup stacking up for KC when they kick off the season against the Los Angeles Angels on March 31st:

3B Mike Aviles

CF Melky Cabrera

1B Billy Butler

DH Kila Ka’aihue

RF Jeff Francoeur

LF Alex Gordon

SS Alcides Escobar

C Jason Kendall

2B Chris Getz

As for the offense, it will be a work in progress once again with many question marks heading into the season. Defensively, the Royals should be solid as they have upgraded their outfield and the left side of their infield defense since last season.

Pitching wise, the team will be relying mainly on younger guys like Vin Mazarro, Tim Collins and Louis Coleman to get the job done.

Here are the pitchers I believe the Royals will break camp with to begin the ’11 season: Luke Hochevar, Vin Mazzaro, Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Blaine Hardy, Jesse Chavez, Robinson Tejeda, Blake Wood and Joakim Soria

It should be another interesting season for the Royals, as we wait patiently for many of the prospects from their top-rated farm system to arrive in Kansas City in the coming years.

2011 Royals record prediction: 70-92, fifth place in AL Central

I see this year’s team finishing a few games better than the ’10 team but still not anywhere close to a winning squad overall. They are still in the process of building for the future, and maybe next season they can be competitive. Just not this soon.

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