Excitement is building as each day brings us closer to spring training and the start of Kansas City Royals baseball in 2012.
We are in the quiet stages of the baseball off season. Many of the marque free agents have signed with various teams and baseball fans are just sitting idle and waiting for spring training and the 2012 season to arrive.
In passing the time, we as fans look back at what happened in 2011, combine it with what we have seen the Kansas City Royals do during the offseason and try to put together our expectations for the 2011 season. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of 40 things that I believe will happen during 2012. Many of these are to be taken as tongue in cheek and are more speculations than anything, so with that warning, let's get started.
1. Kansas City will finish will finish with an 80-82 record. The Royals will be sitting at 80-81 entering October 3rd and have a chance to finish .500, but the Detroit Tigers defeat the Royals 5-2, as the Tigers cruise to another American League Central Division Title.
2. However, the Royals do finish second behind the Tigers in the division, as the Cleveland Indians regress by two games and finish the year at 78-84. The Minnesota Twins back bounce, but still struggle to a fourth place finish. The Chicago White Sox bring up the rear in the division.
3. The Royals open up the season on ESPN April 6th, falling on the road to the Albert Pujols lead
Anaheim Los Angeles Angels, 7-3. Luke Hochevar starts solid, but like last season struggles to get through the sixth inning.
4. In a modest upset for those of you scoring at home, Mike Moustakas hits the first home run of the season for the boys in blue during his return home to Southern California.
5. Kansas City goes 6-4 on the first home stand, as they take three of the four home games in the home finale against the Toronto Blue Jays. For extra credit, Jose Bautista hits two home runs in the series against Kansas City.
6. The Royals are 13-10 after the first month of the season, and optimism is certainly showing as attendance is up.
7. The first rain out is May 2nd in Detroit, as the Royals have an off day during the middle of the week before heading home to take on the New York Yankees.
8. Kansas City struggles at home against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox going just 2-5 during the homestand which is May 3rd through the 9th. Many cars are seen in the parking lots of Kauffman Stadium with local Missouri and Kansas plates sporting Yankees and Red Sox stickers. Royals fans shake their heads.
10. It's May 25th, and Royals fans shake their heads wondering why Chris Getz is on the team.
11. The calender turns to June 1st, and a Friday evening Mike Montgomery is on the mound for his major league debut. Mike Moustakas has two RBI's and Eric Hosmer goes deep as Kansas City defeat the Oakland Athletics 6-2. Another part of the future is here.
12. Yuniesky Betancourt hits a grand slam against the Athletics on June 3rd. Royals fans shake their heads.
13. Zack Greinke makes his return to The K on June 14th as the Milwaukee Brewers are in town. The reception is mostly positive, but the results are good for Royals fans as Zack looks like he had too much Chipotle that afternoon.
14. Lorenzo Cain celebrates his first two-home run game on a steamy evening in Houston June 19th.
15. Carlos Beltran returns to Kansas City as the Royals do battle in an emotion filled series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Beltran gets a standing ovation following by flying out to Alex Gordon in his first at-bat.
17. Luke Hochevar flirts with a no-no on June 30th in Minnesota. Twins fans shake their heads. Some Royals fans shake their heads as well.
18. Mike Montgomery is sent down after the 4th of July much like Danny Duffy was near the All-Star break last season. This shows how young this team still is.
19. July 10th. All-Star Game. A magical day in Kansas City, though the show is Kansas City the city, not the Royals players on this night.
21. The Royals ride the momentum of hosting the All-Star break into a sweep of the Chicago White Sox at home after the break.
22. It may end up being the best homestand of the season, as the Royals go 8-2 on the 10-game homestand after the break.
23. While the Royals are on the road in Seattle the last week of July, someone is moved in a trade that may surprise you. However the Royals also bring in someone you may not expect.
24. Kansas City makes a random trade with the Atlanta Braves
25. Mitch Maeir is no longer on the team by this point either.
26. August 3rd. Ned Yost waxes poetic about the versatility of Chris Getz in a post-game press conference in Texas. Royals fans shake their heads.
27. The Royals combine to hit five home runs in a 16-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles on August 9th. This is the biggest win margin of the season.
28. Kansas City promptly loses to the Orioles the next evening.
29. Chris Getz goes on the DL in August and fans rejoice everywhere. Ned Yost shakes his head.
Ok, now that we've had some fun with random predictions, let's key in on some of the individual play this season and look at how some of the players do in 2012.
30. Gordon continues to become the player we all thought he'd be, hitting .304/.369/.500 with 22 home runs and 99 RBI.
31. Eric Hosmer breaks out as well all expect, hitting .307/.371/.502 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI.
32. Billy Butler quietly hit 50 doubles, to go with 22 home runs and 87 RBI.
33. Yuiesnky Betancourt hits two grand slams this season.
34. Alcides Escobar continues to be all-everything with the glove and improves the bat to .265/.311/.359.
35. Jonathan Sanchez is 12-10 in his first season with the Royals, and lowers his ERA below 4.
36. Hochevar finally leads the team in victories as he is 15-11 after the season, with a 4.26 ERA.
37. Holland is an absolute stud out of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.01 ERA over 72 innings. His strikeout rate falls however to only 10.29.
38. Jeff Francoeur regresses to a .265 batting average, being hot and cold over the season. He does hit 17 home runs and finish with 79 RBI.
39. Wil Myers debuts in September.
40. After nearing .500, fans are turning their attention what 2013 brings. Playoffs?