You might remember this much-maligned post that tried to take a very early stab at how the Royals might do next season. At the time, I estimated that the Royals offense would cumulatively be about 46 runs above average, and people basically thought I was some combination of crazy, stupid, and blindly optimistic.
Well, today the Bill James projections were posted on Fangraphs, and if you add up the wRAA of the 9 projected starters (Perez, Butler, Hosmer, Gio, Escobar, Moose, Frenchy, Cain, Gordon), you get a whopping 96.3 runs above average. Check out the projections for free on the players' Fangraphs pages. Items like Hosmer's projected .293/.362/.494 are pretty fun.
I'm not a paying subscriber, so I can't download the spreadsheet to see how this ranks in the AL, but last year, 96.3 wRAA would have been just 5 runs behind the Tigers offense, good for 5th in the Majors. It would also represent a 50 run improvement over the 2011 Royals offensive output, despite significant projected regression from Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur.
It should be noted that the Bill James projections have a reputation for being more optimistic than other leading projections systems, but I don't have the data as to how warranted that reputation really is.
Once the roster settles and more of the projections are published, it will be easier to get a handle on where the Royals stand for next season. But this first data point lends support to my expectation that the projections will look rosier than many in the Royals Review community are currently expecting.