Rather than go on and on about how bad this season has been, I want to take a few moments to look ahead and see if there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Suppose the Royals stand mostly pat at the deadline (which seems unlikely, but for the sake of argument). Perhaps they jettison a few parts (Hamilton, Duda, Maldonado, a few bullpen pieces) and replace them with similar production from AAA/AAAA players already in the organisation, but maintain the roster otherwise. Is this a squad that could win more games than they lose in a month? And if so, which month?
For starters, I wanted to go back and look at the games they’ve played so far. As of this writing, they have played 71 games, and lost 48. There is some merit to considering strength of schedule, and in those 71 games, the Royals have played teams with a winning record (through June 16th) in 40 of those games. They’re schedule has been pretty heavily weighted towards above average teams thus far.
So it would stand to reason, given that the Royals play every team in the AL, the NL East and the Cardinals that they would have more games against bad teams than good teams remaining. This is mostly true.
The Royals play 91 more games, 42 of those games are against teams with a winning record, 7 against the A’s who are, as of this writing, a .500 team, and 42 games against teams with a losing record.
Looking ahead to July and August, it seems they may have at least a chance of having a .500 record in one of those two months.
In July, their opponents weighted winning % (as of today) for the 26 games they play is .476. In August, over 27 games the weighted winning % is .469. Given that this team has shown an ability to put together good starts (see the stretch of 7 “quality starts” from the staff over the last week or so), score some runs (24th in baseball, sure, but they’ve scored 5 or more runs 27 times this year) and the bullpen being average lately (a 4.53/4.23/4.44 ERA/FIP/xFIP since May, rating 17th, 11th and 14th in baseball, respectively) it’s not hard to imagine how this team, against weaker competition, could go on a run and a decent month.
Of course, if the top brass for the Royals do decide to go ahead and blow it all up, they could trade away some of the key contributors (Soler, Merrifield, Kennedy, Diekman, Duffy) in which case the odds of this happening drop drastically.
Despite the Royals being terrible this year, there is still quite a bit of talent on this team. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities they could have a month in which they win more than they lose, no matter how hard that is to imagine right now.