Does everybody remember April? When the Kansas City Royals were sitting in second place and had dreams of reaching the playoffs this season? What a fond, distant memory that is.
I mean, Kansas City could still fight their way back in the division standings, but I can't imagine that anyone who has followed the Royals in the past two decades likes their chances of recovering from the adversity.
Thanks to a completely abysmal month of May, the Royals now sit in last place in the division. Below is a table which presents the AL Central standings, along with runs scored, runs allowed, and playoff odds from ESPN and Baseball Prospectus:
|CENTRAL||W||L||PCT||GB||RS||RA||POFF - ESPN||POFF - BP|
Some quick thoughts on the standings:
- The Royals are probably not the worst team in the division. Their run differential is much smaller than the White Sox and the Twins run differentials, suggesting that they are probably a little better than those two teams. Then again, the Royals have been outscored by 21 runs since I published the first edition of this article, so May was pretty much as bad as you think it was.
- Chicago actually managed to claw their way back to .500 before losing their last five games. They easily have the worst offense in the Central, which is impressive since they share a division with Kansas City.
- Joe Mauer is almost single-handidly keeping the Twins from being a complete dumpster fire; the catcher has 2.4 fWAR, which is 1.3 more fWAR than the next player on the team. Glen Perkins has been excellent for the team in close games, helping Minnesota out-perform their run expectancy.
- Cleveland should really consider trading for a starting pitcher this off-season if they continue to hang around Detroit. Their offense has nearly equaled the Tigers firepower, but their pitcher have allowed 30 more runs. Justin Masterson has their only pitcher you would want taking the mound for your team in a playoff game.
- The Tigers have scored the most runs in the division while allowing the fewest. They should continue to put some distance between themselves and everyone else in the summer.
It's a good thing that the Tigers have yet to really run away with this thing, as a 6 1/2 game lead isn't insurmountable by any means. If the Royals played in the NL Central, they would be 13 games behind the St. Luis Cardinals.
There is still time to make some games up, but both ESPN and Baseball Prospectus give the Royals less than a 10% chance of reaching the playoffs at the end of the season. Barring something miraculous, this team looks destined to avoid postseason play for a 28th straight year.