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The Royals Final Month Gives Hope For 2011 Line-Up

Let's be honest for a minute: there were very few bright spots in 2010 for a Kansas City Royals team that deserves, after such a drought of success, many more. As we begin to break down the Royals 2010 season and what went right and wrong, one thing that sticks out is how the bats came alive at the end of the season and what that might mean as the power prospects begin to arrive in 2011.

Closing out the season, September became the month that produced the best results in the 2010 season. They hit more home runs (29), more RBI (125), more doubles (55), more walks (99) and the second most hits (278) than any other month in the season. In the end, the month produced a much higher average (.278) than the previous month of August (.251), allowing the Royals to end the season on such a high note. Their overall OPS over the month was .779 and gives hope that some of the offensive momentum might carry into the next season.

Players like Wilson Betemit came alive in the second half of the season, giving hope that the Royals might have finally unearthed a once promising gem who ended up hitting. 297 on the season with a .904 OPS while manning the hot corner. Meanwhile Kila Ka'aihue came alive in September and rewarded Ned Yost's confidence in giving him regular at-bats. After a horrific August in which he Ka'aihue hit .167 at the plate, he recorded a .274 in equal at-bats (84) both months. Specifically his OPS of .908 in the last month alongside six home runs and good plate discipline gives the Royals hope they might actually have in-house candidates at the infield corners.

The same can be said about the middle of the infield. Mike Aviles hit .357 in the final month and that came after an impressive August as well (.305). Aviles also hit six homers in the last month showing signs of possible power from an unexpected source. And of course, Billy Butler continued his torrid pace with a .361 average and .989 OPS in yet another fine overall season for the Royals best overall hitter.

Of course, not every area is bright. Alex Gordon still couldn't put it together at the ML level even though he had half a season of at-bats. Yuniesky Betancourt continued to be a black hole at the plate despite his teammates resurgence. The catcher position is also abysmal with the bat since the strategy of waiting and hoping that Jason Kendall returns on time wasn't a good strategy in 2000, let alone 2010. At the same time, the Royals have a good idea of the signs of life they can count on heading into next season and where they'll need some definite help. And the last month of the season brings more hope than they might have believed heading into season's end.