Odds are against the Royals going back to the World Series in 2016, much less winning it. But there is reason to believe they could do it again...against all odds. If you want, go ahead and count the Royals out because they seem to feed off of that and find a way to win. As for me, I think they could win it all again in 2016. Here's why:
2014 Hurt More than You Realize
After the Royals' 2014 run to 90 feet away from tying the World Series in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 7, I took my son to The 'K' for the rally to celebrate a 2014 season that Kansas City had not seen for 29 years. It was just a day or two after they had lost Game 7. I was hoping my son would get to see his favorite players one more time before the arduous winter stretch to Opening Day. We were disappointed. Gordon? Not there. Hosmer? Not there. Moustakas? Not there. Billy Butler was there, but most of the team found little reason to celebrate. That loss hurt more than we realize.
After this year's win and raucous parade and celebration with 800,000 Kansas Citians, I heard an interview with Ned Yost (listen here at 8:05 mark, until the 8:25 mark: http://media.610sports.com/a/110789847/11-06-9a-ned-yost.htm?pageid=491426). His remarks are surprising. Even after winning the World Series, he said that he expected the feeling of victory to be greater than the agony of defeat, but it just wasn't. To come so close the year before and lose was devastating. This may not motivate the Royals for long, but it is crazy to think about. Now, in 2016, the Royals really have a chance to make huge baseball history.
Core Group Is Back
Barring injuries the core of the team will be back. Both the 2014 and 2015 ALCS MVPs, Cain & Escobar, are back for 2016. The 2015 World Series MVP, Salvador Perez, will be back. Six out of seven 2015 All Stars will be back, and the one we don't know about yet, Gordon, could still possibly return. Most of these guys are just starting their best years as ball players. They should continue to trend up and get closer to their full potential. I expect Moustakas and Hosmer to shine even brighter in 2016. They have not yet reached their full potential. This Royals team will be back, and better than ever in 2016.
Wade (fil-in your expletive here) Davis. I see no reason why he would fall off. Barring injury, he looks to continue to be great for a long time to come. Then, there's Kelvin Herrera, the setup man that could be a closer on other teams. I admit, there was a time in both 2014 and 2015 that I was not impressed with him. It seemed like he could be depended on to let guys get on base, and/or let guys score. But then, he added a pitch to his repertoire. Now he has fastball, changeup, and slider. Here's an explanation: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article39865947.html. Herrera will continue to be a dominant force to be reckoned with. Let's not forget Luke Hochevar who was impressive this post season. Even with Greg Holland out due to Tommy John surgery, the Royals bullpen looks impressive for 2016.
There's still some pieces the Royals need to get to have a strong rotation. As far as we know, Johnny Cueto won't be back, but Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy will be. Volquez seemed to be the most consistent this 2015 season, but Ventura was pretty impressive when it mattered most. They stood toe to toe with the Mets starters, arguably the best rotation in baseball (they did sweep the Cubs in the NLCS). Duffy spent the postseason in the bullpen, but I think he is trending up, not down. The Royals have shown they will believe in a player and give them a chance, and I think they will continue that with Duffy as long as they can. I expect Duffy to have his best season yet in 2016. For the other two spots in the rotation? Well, both Chris Young and Chris Medlen had starts in 2015. My guess is we will see Medlen in the 2016 rotation for a while. I doubt they will put Young in the rotation for very long. He's just not capable of that many innings, and you saw that in 2015 where they rested him a lot in the second half, and he was ready when they needed him most.
They Said They Would
Sure, it was probably over-zealous celebratory fever, but multiple Royals players have committed to winning it all again in 2016. Most memorable for me was Edinson Volquez on stage at the rally at Union Station after the World Series parade. The players are promising Kansas City another world championship, and I wouldn't count them out. In fact, if you do count them out, they might just do it to prove you wrong. This team is not a fluke. This is not a flash in the pan of a couple years. Dayton Moore has turned this organization around. The losing is over. They will consistently compete, and they are hungry for more. They won't be able to be the underdog any more. They won't be unexpected. But I bet no one will pick them to win. Why? Because that just doesn't happen in baseball. Well, as someone who's been watching the royals closely the last few years, the Royals are kings of things that don't happen in baseball. Just when you think the Royals are done, they find a way to win. They will find a way again in 2016.
I am so glad to have winning baseball back in KC!
I am a Software Developer, a career shift made in 2018. So far, I have experience with C# .Net and Angular. I continue to let curiosity lead me into learning new technologies. I plan to share what I learn along the way about technology and personal/career life. Previously, my vocation was United Methodist pastor. So in addition to coding, I'll share about theology, the Church and The Bible. I also enjoy running, music, and I'm a deeply committed father and husband. Maybe my experiences will help you. I know it helps me to share.