If the 2012 Royals played against a team of currently active former Royals, who do you think would win?
Before I get into batting orders and defensive alignments, I'll start with a positional breakdown to establish who exactly is in this talented crop of major leaguers that we get to pick from.
I've always waffled on which catcher I liked more of the Olivo/Buck duo, because each infuriated me in their own special way. I'm going with Buck, but if you want Miggy I wouldn't blame you.
First Base: Kila Kaaihue
Welp. There you have it. The long list of active former Royals that would play first base. Hawaiian Punch is definitely a weakness in this lineup, as he's only logged 421 plate appearances in the majors and doesn't appear to be setting the world on fire.
Keppinger has managed to bounce around the league in the last few years, and has made a minimal major league dent. Callaspo was probably never as good as I like to remember him, but he was a solid contributor and I was always pretty comfortable with him up to bat.
Third Base: Wilson Betemit
I almost included Mark Teahen on this list, but he hasn't logged time in the majors this season. He's still in the Washington farm system, but the nod here clearly goes to Betemit, who is playing great for Baltimore right now and has had a pretty ok career for himself.
Tough competition here, as The Spork was always a fan favorite and seemed to play every position but pitcher, but Aviles isn't bad enough on defense to start Willie in front of him. I'm pretty iffy on this pick, and you could make a valid argument for Wee Willie Bloomquist here, but I'm going with Aviles.
This is always a fun one, as the best talent is in this bunch. Joey Bats is interesting because he's the one that Royals fans remember the least, and yet he has probably made the biggest splash, leading the majors in homers since 2010. He's gotta get the nod to start, along with my two other picks, Melky Cabrera and David DeJesus, with Carlos Beltran playing DH. Damon is a few years too old, Crisp is kind of a joke, and Dick Ankiel is definitely not an option. Ibanez is having a nice comeback this year with the Yankees and would be a great 4th outfield option.
Suppan is back! Padres baseball, gotta love it. Greinke is the obvious choice to start the game, but Suppan and Humber are the only other guys that even qualify. Frankly, this is a sad list, and one of the many reasons for the clinical depression that is Royals fandom.
Sweet. Look at this crowd. RamRam and Affeldt can still get major league hitters out, but good luck with the rest of that bunch. Yeesh. Nunez, Farnsworth, and Howell aren't bad at the back end, but we're talking about all of the relievers in 2012 that have ever played for the Royals. You've gotta be able to come up with a better list than that, right? Maybe not. I just know it doesn't strike a lot of fear into anyone's batting order. I'd probably go with Nunez to close, but Howell right behind him. Farnsworth never. Leave him on the bus.
This exercise is more about nostalgia for me than it is about the actual logistics of the game being played, but let's go ahead and set a batting order. Should I do it like Ned, or like a major league manager? Hmmmmmmm.
So, after all of that, now the question: Are these Ex-Royals better than the 2012 Royals? Obviously some guys (Duffy, Cain, Perez, Soria) are missing from this year's squad, which will factor in to your decision. The Ex-Royals look like they can put some runs on the board but their bullpen is garbage and after Greinke there is literally nobody to start. One of the ugliest things I found when scouring for former Royals was just how awful the starters have been. If you start a game for the Royals, chances are you ain't starting for anyone else after that.