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Revisiting the Royals Review mid-season roundtable

With half a season in the mirror, Royals Review attempted to make more accurate predictions.

MLB: All-Star Game
Salvy didn’t get the week off, so neither did we.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star Break has always provided the opportunity to see some of the best players in baseball all on the field together at the same time. It’s also a great opportunity for people who think, write, and talk about baseball to take a moment and re-evaluate where they think the rest of the season will go now that they have some actual results to pair with their gut feelings and pre-season projections.

Here at Royals Review, of course, we are no different. We always want to improve and taking the opportunity to re-evaluate where we’ve been and see if we can use it to better predict what comes next is a part of that. So, of course, we had a mid-season prediction/analysis round table. And now I’m here to tell you who got it right and who continued to be terribly, horribly wrong.

Who was the biggest pleasant surprise in the first half? Biggest disappointment?

This question asked more for analysis than predictions but that doesn’t mean everyone got it right. Jason Vargas was easily the biggest surprise of the first half but the answer was so obvious that everyone was trying to find some other pleasant surprise to talk about. All of that was wrong - looking at you Hokius, Max Rieper, and Matthew LaMar - but Josh Ward is closest when he suggests that Jorge Bonifacio is probably a runner up. He had dropped off of all of the prospect lists only to earn a promotion with regular playing time and a fair bit of success when Paulo Orlando continued his transformation from the back half of 2016 into a pumpkin by turning into a Stranger Things-esque rotten pumpkin.

It was unanimously agreed that Alex Gordon was the biggest disappointment. But was he? Yes, he was terrible, and continued to be terrible for the rest of the year. However, he was terrible in 2016, too. He was only a disappointment because of the wishful thinking that led people to expect him to rebound. No one listed Alcides Escobar, who was even worse, because everyone expects him to be bad and so it should have been with Gordon. The true biggest disappointment of the first half was Kelvin Herrera. No one imagined he’d be anything less than above average and it just did not work out that way at all. Ward was the only one who thought to name him and even he still had him as a runner-up to Gordon.

Should the Royals sell?

In an interesting turn-around everyone more or less agreed that the Royals shouldn’t or at least wouldn’t sell. Before the season started a lot of the writers thought they should, even if they looked competitive at this point. As it turns out this change of heart was very very wrong; the Royals absolutely should have sold. The only caveat would be if they had followed Matthew’s plan; things might have turned out differently if they had acquired Zack Cozart, Matt Kemp, and Jarrod Dyson instead of the players they ended up with.

What needs to happen for Royals to make the playoffs?

Everyone had different answers here, but they were all right. Because the Royals accomplished none of those things and didn’t make the playoffs. Here’s a list, in no particular order of the things the Royals needed to do in order to make the playoffs:

  • Re-order the lineup to put the best hitters at the top.
  • Keep winning games like they had been leading up the All-Star Break.
  • Beat the Twins
  • Hope Cleveland keeps playing worse than their talent level.
  • Stabilize the starting rotation.
  • Get lucky.

What will the Royals do at the deadline?

Most everyone figured the Royals would get a mid-tier reliever. Which they did! Hokius also guessed a bench bat and while the Royals started Melky Cabrera pretty much every day he only hit about as well as a bench bat. Max guessed they’d get a #4 or #5 starter and they tried but failed spectacularly on that front. No one really expected them to sell.

What’s your revised prediction for the Royals’ record?

Shaun Newkirk wins the grand prize here for correctly revising his pre-season prediction to the record the Royals actually finished with, 80-82. Everyone else chose to stay pat, more or less, and that means they were all still wrong as no one correctly guessed the final record in the pre-season prediction thread - something we can discuss in more depth once the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year awards are announced.

From the comments

  • old_dog_new_tricks noted that the team had too many holes in the lineup and bullpen to overcome. They were right.
  • theroyalblues saw through our deception that we have a roundtable discussion when the table is actually square and not a discussion.
  • pete_clarf stood pat on their pre-season prediction of 86-76 and a wild card loss in Arlington. Absolutely none of those things came to pass. Better luck, next time, pete!


How much money would you bet on your ability to predict baseball better than the Royals Review staff?

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