Perhaps we can use political precedent to glean evidence on how our Royals will perform in 2012. Here's a look back at the Royals' performance in Presidential election years, going back to 1992.
2008 (Barack Obama elected with 365 EVs): The Royals went 75-87, which was considered good contextually. The Royals won 56 games in 2005, then 62 in '06, then 69 in '07. Unstoppable! Mike Aviles was probably the team's position player MVP. Team Cy Young? Zack Greinke, though Gil Meche was also pretty good. The high point of the season was probably being 9-6 after 15 games. Ryan Shealy's last season as a Royal. Brandon Duckworth's last year as a Royal or as a Major Leaguer. The next year, the Mike Jacobs year, the Royals fell back to their really bad losing ways, winning just 65 games.
- 2004 (George Bush elected with 286 EVs): This was one of the worst Royals teams ever. The Royals went 58-104, just one year after shocking the world with 83 wins. This was the first year I blogged about the Royals. Wow. Really a fascinating team that deserves to written about in full at some point. Best position player? Carlos Beltran, prior to his being traded. Overall, perhaps Joe Randa. Best pitcher? Zack Greinke.
- 2000 (George Bush elected with 271 EVs): Like 2008, another relative high point, as the Royals went 77-85. The Royals had a good offense back in 2000 (5th in the AL in runs scored), as Mike Sweeney, Johnny Damon, and Jermaine Dye all had big seasons. Mark Quinn and Joe Randa were also near league average. The pitching, however, was awful, as the Royals were second worst in the AL in runs allowed. Position player MVP? Probably Dye. Best pitcher? I guess Mac Suzuki. I guess
- 1996 (Bill Clinton elected with 379 EVs): The Royals went 75-86, their best win total until 1999. The team's best position player was Mike Macfarlane, who slugged .499 as a catcher. Nevertheless, the Royals finished dead last in the AL in runs scored. The run prevention, however, was fairly good, at 3rd best in the league. (So basically the inverse of what the team would be in the late 1990s and early 2000s.) Many Royal hurlers had very good years, and the best was probably Jose Rosado (156 ERA+). Tim Belcher (I always forget he was a Royal) was also good, Mark Gubicza was league average one last time, and Kevin Appier was near his peak. This pitching staff, with the 2000 lineup, could have won a World Series.
- 1992 (Bill Clinton elected with 370 EVs): The Royals struggled in 1992, perhaps deeply bummed out by Paul Tsongas's failure to capture the Democratic nomination. The '92 squad won just 72 games, a downturn sandwiched between two over .500 seasons in '91 and '93. The Royals had an extremely balanced lineup that season, with six players posting an OPS between .727 and .776. Alas, they were balanced, just not very good, finishing 12th in the AL in runs scored. Although it was 1992, it was a very 80s lineup, with Brett, Wally Joyner, Kevin McReynolds, Gregggg Jefferies and Jim Eisenreich all playing heavily. The team's best position player, as in 1996, was probably Mike Macfarlane. The team's top hurler was Kevin Appier, who had one of his peak level seasons, posting a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts thanks to a I'm-not-walking-anyone approach.