My earliest Royals memory is (I think) George Brett retiring. Like so many of you, I suffered the majority of my life as a Royals fan wishing for mediocrity, and being satisfied by competency from so many players. But 2015 wasn’t like that. The Royals won the most games in the American League (95), and had seven (seven!) All Stars*. They went on to have an historic comeback against Houston in game four of the ALDS**, and of course went on to win the World Series handily 4-1.
*Alex Gordon was elected as a starter but replaced due to injury. Johnny Cueto was also in the game but not part of the team until later.
**At the time, no other team had ever come back from a 4 or more run deficit in the 8th inning or later of an elimination game. The Royals did it twice in two seasons. Pretty amazing.
Let’s take a look at where the 2015 Royals All-Stars are now, and what they’re up to.
Cain was... really, really, no like REALLY good when he was with the Royals. He was their best position player from 2013-2017, should have won some Gold Gloves, came third in MVP voting in 2015, and just generally was exceptional. From 2013-2017 he was the 28th-most valuable position player in baseball, by WAR, and during their playoff seasons (2014 and 2015) he was the ninth-most valuable position player in baseball.
He signed with the Brewers prior to the 2018 season for a five-year, $80 million deal and continued to produce. Last year, he put up 5.7 fWAR (his second best season ever), saw his walk rate increase, and was generally the beast of a player we knew and loved. This season however he has fallen hard off the cliff many were worried he would. His defense still seems to be solid, but in 91 games he is batting only .249 with a .311 on base. So far he’s been worth .7 fWAR, posting only a 77 wRC+. I for one am hopeful he’ll rebound and finish his career strong.
Cueto has been out all season due to injury. He is expected to start making rehab starts in August.
The “D” in HDH, Davis was traded to the Cubs for Jorge Soler after the 2016 season, amidst some concerns of injury and decline. He was steller in 2017 with the Cubbies, posting a 2.30 ERA over 59 appearances, but has seen his ERA go up in subsequent years. He is currently posting a 6.04 ERA with the Rockies in the second year of a three-year, $52 million deal he signed prior to the 2018 season.
Oh, Esky, how much I do not miss you but cannot thank you enough for your contributions to this team. Esky stuck around, playing with the Royals through the 2018 season. He’s bounced around since then, but is currently with the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate posting a 92 wRC+ over 85 games.
Herrera was part of the dreaded, triple-headed monster that was “HDH” in 2014 and 2015. He was eventually traded last season to the Nationals that returned three prospects for the Royals, and was signed to the White Sox this season. Despite maintaining near his career K/9 numbers, his BB/9 has risen over a full point this season, and his ERA in 37 games is 7.59. For some context, Brad Boxberger had an ERA a full two runs lower and he was released by the Royals. There were injury issues last season, and perhaps his struggles have been due to this. I’m hopeful he’ll regain his form, and sign with a team not in the AL Central.
Moose was signed by the Royals in 2018 and traded to the Brewers for Brett Phillips and Jorge Lopez at the deadline. He signed with the Brewers last offseason to an absurdly cheap contract of 1 year, $7 million. He’s on his way to posting career numbers this season. His walk rate is slightly up, he’s posting the highest wRC+ of his career (124) and blasted 25 bombs in 91 games leading to a current total of 2.7 fWAR. This is on pace to tie or even better his 2015 season (3.8 fWAR) or his 2017 HR totals (38). He has also split time between second base and third base this season, to mixed results.
I’m not really certain why the market on Moose was so slow this off season. There were rumors he turned down better offers and signed cheap with the Brewers because he wanted to. I hope this is truly the case because his talent is undeniable and he deserves to be happy where he’s playing.
This is just here for technicality. He’s still with the Royals, and recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’ll be back catching far too many games next season I’m sure.