Friday, April 6, 2012

Kansas City Royals 2012 Preview - Twitter Edition

When the 2011 season ended Royals fans everywhere wished they could fast forward time to 2012's opening day. Well after a long offseason, and an up and down spring, that day has finally arrived. Mission 2012, Our Time or whatever you want to call it begins tonight against the California Angels (don't care what they're really called, they'll always be the California Angels to me).

Typically when I do a season preview it's a roundtable with other bloggers, and sometimes members of the mainstream media. This year, though, I handed off preview duties to some of my favorite people on twitter (if you're not on twitter, you should be, because it will change the way you watch a Royals game). Today's participants are all passionate Royals fans (and worthy follows, so follow them) and enthusiastically agreed to answer some questions about the 2012 season. I made it clear they didn't have to adhere to any character limits so they could feel free to go as in-depth as they wanted, some took me up on it, some didn't.

Here is the roundtable cast (do yourself a favor and follow all these people):

1. Which starting pitcher will have the best season? 

@Martin26M - Boy what a loaded question. Based on history alone Chen has been the best/most consistent starter on the staff 3 years in a row. Logic would say another year of that with 12-14 wins at least with a higher 3 - low 4.0 ERA. The true x-factors to this for me is Paulino figuring out his potential and newly acquired Jonathan Sanchez ability to return to his 2010 form. If he finds that magic he should emerge as the ace of the staff with 14+ wins. Until then the safe money has to be Chen. Duffy is too far away from finding his pitching identity and Hoch having his 1 inning meltdowns. Monty like Duffy needs to find their identity, quit trying to be a power guy finessing their way down the lineup. Cut the walks and trust your defense with your strength, I call it the Greinke effect.

@tigerdan4 - Danny Duffy with 16 wins.

@burymearoyalI’ll take Luke Hochevar, who I think really has to take a big step forward in 2012. How much longer can Luke stay in the rotation of an ever-improving Royals squad if he can’t even put up league average numbers for the whole year? Anyway, I’ll be optimistic and say Hoch is the one Ned throws out there for the one-game wildcard playoff against the Angels (ha). 15 wins, 4.20 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 200 IP, 150 Ks.

@NorthMoRoyal -Luke Hochevar will be the Royals best starting pitcher when the All-Star break hits KC, but Danny Duffy will light the AL up come the 2nd half posting a 11-2 record in the 2nd half alone after going 6-6 in the 1st half of the season. Duffy's 1st half era of 4.84 is reduced to 3.25 after a dominating 2nd half of the season making him the best SP for the season. 

@LilFrenchysMom - I think Hochevar will have the best first half of the season but Duffy will have a better second half. I think both pitchers will end up with at least 12 wins each.  Chen will be sporadic and won't pitch as well as the last 2 years.

@5joeclines - Duffman, oh ya.  But I think picking the best SP is like picking our best opening day option at 2nd base. 12 wins 3.16 era (#godovereverything).

2. Who will be the team's best hitter?

@Martin26MAll money is on Hosmer and Gordon as the triple threat leaders. Gordon has the muscle maturity for the power numbers to really emerge. Hos will start to see more doubles become HRs this year. Butler will in the hunt for AVG and RBI race.

@tigerdan4 - Eric Hosmer at .325 with 110 RBIs.

@burymearoyalChris Getz, because he really came into spring training and showed everyone he’s a “totally different offensive player” now that he’s made those much-publicized changes to his batting stance. Nah, seriously, Eric Hosmer is the obvious choice here. I think he’ll make significant progress toward becoming a legit superstar, with a .290 AVG, .340 OBP, and 25 HRs.

@NorthMoRoyal - Billy Butler will lead the team in BA and OBP this season with a .325 BA and a .400 OBP. He will drive the ball a lil less with 14 HR's but still will reach the 40+ doubles that he did last yr. (for the record I also think Billy could hit 25+ HR's and still bat .325 w. a .360+ OBP)

@LilFrenchysMom - Alex Gordon will be the best overall hitter but Eric Hosmer will lead the team in RBI's and home runs.

@5joeclines - Country Breakfast. From base clogger to base clearer, 32 hr bustout.

3. Who will lead the team in home runs? And will Balboni's franchise record 36 home runs finally be broken?

@Martin26MAs before, I see Gordon as the HR leader, again due to muscle maturity, but Hos will be close on his tail. With Frenchy adding for an interesting race…No, Balboni’s record is safe this year, next year is a different story, though.

@tigerdan4 - Eric Hosmer with 32. HR record broken next year by Moustakas.

@burymearoyalBilly Butler. I don’t think he’ll quite break Balboni’s record, but I expect Country Breakfast to finally see a big jump in his power numbers now that he has some decent bats around him.  In the end, I say 10 of those majestic Billy Butler doubles will clear the fence, and he finally will break that 30 home run mark.

@NorthMoRoyal - Eric Hosmer will lead the team in HR's this season with 31 and will also lead the team in RBI's and doubles while hitting a .290. 

@LilFrenchysMom - I predict Hos hitting 32 home runs and Alex Gordon with 28. Billy Butler will have 23 home runs and Frenchy will have 22. Lorenzo Cain will be a powerhouse with 27 home runs. Is this wishful thinking?  Chris Getz will hit 1 home run this year.

@5joeclines - Country Breakfast, not this year but next.

4. Who will represent the Royals in the All Star game?

@Martin26MHosmer and Gordon.

@tigerdan4 - Alex Gordon as a starter, Billy Butler & Eric Hosmer as reserves. Hosmer in the HR Derby.

@burymearoyalI could see Gordon, Hosmer, or Butler making the All Star team, if they have big years. But if I’ve got to choose one, I’ll say @Hos3KC, because I think he’s got the personality to really win the fans over and rack in those votes.

@NorthMoRoyal - Eric Hosmer and Greg Holland will represent the Royals in the All-Star game with Eric being 2nd in the league in RBI's at the break and Holland will have a sub 1 era at the break.

@LilFrenchysMom - Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon, Greg Holland in the bullpen as a closer.  Yes, I am dreaming of 3 Royals All Stars.

@5joeclines - A1, Holland.

                                                  5. Which relief pitcher will lead the team in saves?

@Martin26MBroxton will take the job and never give it up. I was one of a few people calling for Soria to be traded in the offseason while he had great value, that’s forever lost now.

@tigerdan4Jonathan Broxton with 27. Holland will chip in with 15.

@burymearoyalI think Yost will start the season with Broxton as the stopper, but switch to Greg Holland sometime before the All-Star break. Holland will finish the year with ERA, WHIP, and K numbers similar to last year, with 20-25 saves.

@NorthMoRoyal - While I hoped that Broxton would lead the team in Saves for the season because it meant that Holland was used in a "Firemans" role in 6-7-8th innings I think Holland winds up being the closer eventually ending up with 27 saves on the season. 

@LilFrenchysMom - Greg Holland will lead the team in saves. He will get 29 saves and have an ERA of less than 2.00.

@5joeclines - Crow

6. How many games will the Royals win this year and in what place will they finish?

@Martin26M - I will be conservative and call it an 80 win/ .500 season.

@tigerdan4 - 83 wins & 2nd place. Royals will make playoffs as the 2nd Wildcard.

@burymearoyalI’m using every optimistic bone in my body here, but I really can’t see the Royals cracking .500 this year. I think there’s good reason to like the offense and the bullpen, but I just can’t ignore that absolutely horrible starting pitching. We’d need absolute breakthrough years from Duffy, Hochevar, and Paulino to even think about competing in the Central.  But that’s too much to ask for in a single year. In the end, I’ll say 79-83. Third place in the AL Central, behind Detroit and Cleveland.

@NorthMoRoyalBarring any serious injuries(ie; 60 day DL trips) among the core of the lineup I see the Royals being kind of streaky this season, finishing strong in Sept after a rough August and winding up with 86 wins. 

This is completely off the cuff and just a guess of course. I don't have an analytical mind nor the patience to review numbers and tendencies. This is just for fun of course and I hope that you all can agree..Royals baseball is a gift. Lets enjoy it! Go Royals! #BuryMeARoyal

@LilFrenchysMom - The Royals will finish in 2nd place with a record of 82-80. 

@5joeclines - 78 wins, 2nd place.

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