Travel with me back in time. Say, oh, six months or so. The government was still doing governmental things. It was a snowy spring, brutish and cold. Our grandmothers hadn’t yet been subjected to the horrors of twerking. It was a simpler time, really.
Baseball season was just blossoming, full of promise and hope springing eternal and whatever and ever amen. I was full of excitement—as I am apt to be before the Royals actually take the field—and expecting big things across the board.
Let’s take a look.
First, I made the bold proclamation that three Royals starting pitchers would finish with double-digit wins. It hadn’t happened since 1996. And, well… that mark stands. In an orgasmic burst of raw optimism, I stated that James Shields, Jeremy Guthrie and—wait for it—LUIS MENDOZA would all win 10+. Guthrie won 15, Shields won 13 and Luis Mendoza is apparently managing a car wash in Tecumseh.
Ohsoclose, but not this time, Lefty.
Next, I moved on to the offense. And boy, did I have high hopes for this not-so-loveable bunch. Channeling my inner Nostradamus, I said, “Four KC Sluggers Will Hit 20 or More Homeruns: I’m looking at you, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon. FURTHERMORE, I think that Jeff Francoeur will have a slight bounce back (really, the only way he could be worse is if he murdered a fan in a spectacularly controversial on-field incident) and hit 15 or more, as will super-amazing-brightspot-on-the-verge-superstar Salvador Perez.”
LOLZ. Jeff. Fucking. Francoeur.
How wrong I was about ALL of this, really. Gordo finished with 20, Hosmer with 17 and Butler with 15. Francoeur was released by the Royals on June 30th, released by the San Francisco Giants on August 22nd, and at last check, was hiding in your bushes waiting to chomp your bones after you fall asleep. He didn’t murder a fan on-field, but he metaphorically murdered the hearts of many.
Third, I decided that SS Alcides Escobar and LF Alex Gordon would both win Gold Gloves. Though they’ve yet to announce it, I still think Gordon will win his third consecutive trophy. Escobar, not so much.
Next, the bullpen. I’ve loved closer Greg Holland from day one, and I expected a gigantic season. I honestly didn’t know HOW gigantic it would be, though. I naively said, “I THINK GEORGE HOLLAN WILL HAVE 40 SAVE” or something like that. Not only did he set the Royals franchise record by saving 47 games, he finished second in the American League behind Baltimore’s Jim Johnson. Holland was nearly unhittable for a majority of this season and will probably win the Rolaids Relief Award, provided it’s still a thing.
But it can’t all be Ripple and Kraft American slices, though, and as a writer who covers the Royals, I’ve always considered it my duty to share the bad with the good.
I had a higher average on my negative predictions, sadly.
The first seemed obvious, but it was also something that had a bigger impact than I anticipated.
“Lorenzo Cain Will Get Injured Again: After a recent history of persistent maladies, it is my sad duty to inform you that the Royals own version of “Mr. Glass” will NOT make it through a full season without getting hurt and, in fact, will probably also end up spending significant time on the disabled list.”
He did, and it sucked. When Cain is in the lineup—and in the field doing all of his run prevention activities—this team is infinitely better. There’s a very real correlation between his health and the success of this team, and unfortunately, he’s a brittle guy. I’ll probably make this prediction next year, and the year after, and every year he spends in KC. The supremely talented athlete who can’t stay healthy is one of life’s cruel jokes, I suppose.
I also rightly predicted that the Royals wouldn’t win the AL Central, suggesting instead that the Detroit Tigers would. I had the Royals pegged for second place, though, which was incorrect. (FUCK YOU, CLEVELAND. NICE GAME AGAINST TAMPA BAY, DORKS.) I knew they’d have a winning record, however, their first since 2003. I was right about that, and I couldn’t be happier about one of my prophecies coming true.
In summation, you should listen to everything I ever say about the Royals, unless it pertains to me predicting cold, hard stats. Or where they’ll finish in the division. And certainly don’t listen to me when I suggest a “bounce-back season for Frenchy!!” because that’s just flat-out ignorant.