Headed into this season the line for optimistic Royals fans went something like this: the Royals will become respectable -- either in terms of wins or the overall shape of the roster -- in 2011 and will be positioned to compete in the weak AL Central in 2012.
Obviously, the wins haven't come. The Royals are unlikely to finish 2011 around .500 and are in fact a good bet to have one of the worst records in baseball. Whether or not the roster is being transformed into a 2012 contender is a broader and more difficult question to answer. Some good things have happened in 2011: the Royals have some workable pieces developing in the bullpen, Alex Gordon has had a comeback season, Alcides Escobar has worked his way up to being average, Eric Hosmer has acquitted himself well as a rookie and... Mike Moustakas has played.
Unfortunately, nearly the entire starting rotation remains a mess, contributors like Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur might not be around in 2012, and many of the team's top prospects have had somewhat meh campaigns this year.
I'm curious as to where you guys are with regards to 2012.