Kansas City Royals

Manager: Ned Yost
Stadium: Kauffman Stadium
2008 Record: 75-87 (4th in AL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

08: Batting | Runs (12th in AL)
PLAYER B POS
Coco Crisp B CF
Mike Aviles R SS
David DeJesus L LF
Jose Guillen R RF
Mike Jacobs L 1B
Billy Butler R DH
Alex Gordon L 3B
Miguel Olivo R C
Alberto Callaspo B 2B
OFF THE BENCH
Mark Teahen L INF/OF
Willie Bloomquist R INF

PITCHING

08: Pitching | ERA (12th in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Gil Meche R SP1
Zack Greinke R SP2
Kyle Davies R SP3
Brian Bannister R SP4
Luke Hochevar R SP5
BULLPEN
Juan Cruz R Setup
Kyle Farnsworth R Setup
Joakim Soria R Closer
 
The Royals don't have a lot of rules, but KC players must live by these two: First, no sunglasses on the bill of your hat, obscuring the team logo. "That's from Bobby Cox," says GM Dayton Moore, a former Braves exec. Second, no raggedy duds in the clubhouse, only Royals gear. "It sounds like really small stuff," says Zack Greinke, "and maybe some guys don't like it, but I do." The 25-year-old pitcher thinks the dress code gets everybody pulling in the same direction. In Trey Hillman's first year as manager, the Royals climbed out of the AL Central cellar for the first time since 2003. Now it's up to the young trio of Greinke, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to make them contenders. Greinke, who had 13 wins and a 3.47 ERA in 2008, is doing his part, but the 25-year-old Gordon and 22-year-old Butler have yet to hit for the power they showed in the minors. KC hasn't had a 30-homer hitter since Jermaine Dye, in 2000. "We're the guys who have to make it happen," Greinke says. If they do, the Royals won't be the same old raggedy team, no matter what they wear.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Royals preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Kila Ka'aihue could have provided whatever the Royals think they're going to get from Mike Jacobs for about 15 percent of the cost.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Oft-injured Carlos Rosa might resurface as a reliever, where his fastball-slider combo should play up and allow him to move ahead of the Kyle Farnsworths in their bullpen.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

How many games will the Royals win in 2009? Is Zack Greinke among the top starting pitchers in the American League? Will Joakim Soria continue to shine as the Royals' closer? Register your vote.

AL poll page

Featured Comment

With Greinke and Meche you have two starters who can win 15+ games apiece.


andymilligan3

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Is it possible for a Royals pitcher to win 20 games? We think so. Striking out more than eight hitters per nine innings, Gil Meche is not only the Kansas City ace, but a fantasy one as well.

BUST

They brought Mike Jacobs in to hit 30 home runs at first base. However, we aren't convinced he'll hit better than .200 against lefties, and if that's the case, a platoon surely will come quickly.
--AJ Mass

INJURY TO WATCH

John Bale will be useful to the Royals in middle relief … once he can join the team. Bale is recovering from thyroid surgery, not something you see every day on the injury list, and will start the season on the disabled list. Bale has had a long list of injuries in the last few years, including a self-inflicted hand injury last year that sidelined him for a long time. The positive note here is that Bale's recovery from the thyroid surgery should be fairly straightforward. Unlike soft-tissue problems that continue to recur, this should no longer present an issue for him. Once he gets his strength and his spring work in, Bale should be ready to go.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: How much will Billy Butler improve?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 21 overall
    (5th in
    AL Central)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 22 overall
    (5th in
    AL Central)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 13 overall
    (4th in
    AL Central)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 21 overall
    (5th in
    AL Central)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 23 overall
    (4th in
    AL Central)