The Kansas City Royals have had an eventful spring. For the first time in recent memory, the team is feeling the stress of a team that is expected to win.
Winning brings its share of scrutiny, and The Royals have certainly found themselves in the spotlight. Some players have excelled and been a pleasant surprise for the team. Some have fizzled under the pressure and face uncertain futures. Others have found themselves injured, either seriously or mildly, and have many questioning the team’s depth.
Some teams simply hope for a quiet spring to prepare for the long season. If that was the goal for the Royals, it may be a difficult road ahead.
Mike Moustakas Leads a Group of Positive Surprises
The surprises of the spring start with the production of a young man that the team desperately needs to perform well this season. Mike Moustakas, a player that the team has been anticipating to be a big part of the offense for multiple years, has seemingly arrived with the chip on his shoulder that the team wants him to have.
Moustakas leads, or is tied for the lead, with all regulars this spring in hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and batting average. He is slugging an amazing .921 and is second on the team with six walks. His offensive performance this spring has the team very hopeful that he can be a breakout star in the regular season.
Moustakas is not the only surprise this spring, however. On the mound, Yordano Ventura came in to camp ready to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation. The electricity that flowed through this young man when he took the mound this spring was something very few people could have predicted.
Ventura proceeded to pitch just over 15 innings to date, striking out 15 hitters while only walking one. He has held opposing batters to a .185 batting average, and he has posted a 0.72 WHIP. Ventura, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com among others, has been named to the team's starting rotation after his dominance in spring training.