I know it is hard to believe, but the Kansas City Royals have actually been a very competitive team for the last month and a half. Since starting 3-14 they’ve gone 19-15, against a much tougher stretch of competition than they’re preparing to face. Even at that pace they’d finish the season with 84 victories at the end of the year. In theory, if they do continue playing the same level of baseball, they’ll win many more than 84 games. Why? Take a look at the winning percentages for the Royals past and future opponents:
Last 34 games (19-15 stretch): .521
Rest of June: .457
That’s a huge difference in quality of opponent. Even after another disastrous start by Luke Hochevar against the worst offense in the American League, the Royals still find themselves in prime position to climb back to .500 by the end of June. Their next 10 games are against teams with losing records, before they face the fading Cardinals on back-to-back weekends. The opponent in between those weekend match ups is none other than the Houston Astros, picked by many to be the worst team in baseball in 2012. In fact, the only formidable opponents the Royals face in June are the Tampa Bay Rays, and they get three against the hapless Twins right after that. All told that leaves 25 games remaining in June, with 22 against teams you could argue the Royals are equal with or better than. Now of course, that only puts the club at .500, does that really even matter?
Yes, when you consider…
– Salvador Perez is playing in extended spring training games and expected to be back with the club in the next month
– Jonathan Sanchez is dominating at AAA, looking like his DL stint may have actually helped
– Wil Myers continues to force the Royals hand, and could be playing center field in Kansas City by the beginning of July
– Their July schedule is not much tougher as their July opponents currently have a .466 winning percentage
The only good thing about all of the Royals injuries is that they will have a mid season injection of talent without having to trade any of their best prospects. Perez makes this team considerably better, so does Sanchez if he can harness 2010. Does this team look like a contender with those two? Not even close, unless Eric Hosmer wakes up and Wil Myers comes up and mashes. That is the thing about this club, as young as they are, for many of them we are just waiting for the light bulb to switch on. Hosmer could put together a June that almost completely erases April and May. In fact against the teams he is about to face, I would almost be more surprised if he didn’t.
Okay, I’ll pause the hyperbole and get back to math. If the Royals win at a .558 clip against opponents with a .521 winning %, they should in theory play .625 (17-10) ball based on the winning % of their June opponents and .619 (16-9) in July. That would put the Royals at 55-48 on August 1. From August 1st through the end of the year, the Royals play 29 games against the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox. At the very least they would control their own destiny; they may even be in the driver’s seat.
As Royals fans we’ve been promised a competitive team “in the future” since before the Allard Baird era, and for the most part, the club has failed to deliver. In my opinion, that future starts right now…in June…it’s our time.