FanPost

Where Are They Now?

The 2015 World Series Champions

Based off the Game One Lineup

The run that the Atlanta Braves are having this postseason has gotten me thinking back to the days of 2014 and 2015, when the Kansas City Royals were seemingly on top of the world and were everyone’s favorite underdog. The magic that came from both of those years is something that is not often replicated. This year’s Braves team has done a great job creating a magic of their own ever since the injury to young star, Ronald Acuna jr. Their success, whether they continue it or not, has made me want to look back at the Game One Lineup of our World Series Champs and see what they are up to now.

Batting leadoff was no other than Alcides Escobar, one of the flashiest defensive Shortstops to play for the Royals. In the years following the World Series Ring, Ronald Acuna Jr.’s older cousin Alcides (I know it shocked me too), stayed with the Royals for three more seasons before bouncing around to the Orioles and White Sox on minor league deals. Following a one-month stint in Baltimore (that didn’t include any official games played) and 96 games in AAA for Chicago in 2019, Alcides inked a deal to play for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows where he batted .273 in 104 games. He then made his way to the Omaha Storm Chasers early in 2021 before finding his path back to the majors with the Washington Nationals. He slashed .288/.340/.404 over 75 games after not playing in the big leagues for three years. In terms of SLG, OPS, and OPS+ Alcides just had his best hitting season (albeit less than half of the year played) in his entire career at the age of 34. Hopefully he has revitalized his career and still has much more time in the big leagues left.

Coming in second in the lineup was the super utility, clutch hitting Second Baseman, Ben Zobrist. He joined the 2015 Royals as a one-year rental in return for Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks. Following the Royals World Series win, Ben joined the Chicago Cubs from 2016 through 2019, where he earned the World Series MVP for them in 2016 and finished his career off as a Cub. In his post-Royals career with Chicago, he slashed .269/.362/.411 over 461 games, while also adding in another All-Star nod as well.

Third in the order belonged to Lorenzo Cain, the defensive minded, high average hitting Center Fielder. Post-2015, Cain stuck around with the Royals for two more seasons where he batted .295 over 258 games before signing with the Brewers on a five-year, $80 million deal. In his four seasons in Milwaukee, Cain has battled some injury issues and chose to opt out of the shortened pandemic season only a few games in. However, he has still managed to return to the All-Star game once, win his (somehow) first gold glove, slash .279/.355/.395 over 372 games, and has made the playoffs every year he’s been on the team. I am hoping that he can stay healthy next season and continue to contribute to a winning culture.

At Clean-Up for the 2015 team, the gold-glove First Basemen Eric Hosmer held it down. He stayed with the Royals two more seasons as well, where he made his first (and only) all-star team in 2016, and slashed .318/.385/.498 while playing all 162 games in 2017. Following that offseason, Hosmer signed an 8-year, $144 million deal with the San Diego Padres, where he has slashed .264/.323/.415 over four seasons, with only one playoff appearance, no all-star games, and no gold gloves. It clearly has not been the results that Hosmer or the Padres have wanted in the first half of his contract thus far. This was especially clear with all the lingering trade rumors from this past deadline. Hopefully in the second half of his contract he can turn it around and prove that he was well worth the money.

Kendrys Morales was the fifth batter in the lineup on the 2015 World Series Run. He signed a two-year, $17 million contract with the Royals following the 2014 season when Kansas City had to fill the void at DH left from Billy Butler signing with the Oakland Athletics. In Morales’ two years with Kansas City, he hit 52 homeruns with an .821 OPS. He hit three homeruns in the rollercoaster of an ALDS against the Astros in 2015 and helped propel us to our ring. After his time with the Royals, he spent two seasons in Toronto across 2017 and 2018, and then had some time with the Athletics and the Yankees in 2019 before announcing his retirement in 2020.

Third Basemen, Mike Moustakas took care of the sixth spot in 2015 where he earned his first all-star appearance while producing a .817 OPS in the regular season. In 2017 he made his second all-star game with the Royals and set the Franchise records in Homeruns at the time with 38. He stayed in Kansas City a little bit longer than some of his former teammates until he was traded halfway through the 2018 season to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was with the Brewers through 2019, where he earned his third all-star appearance and was able to be on a competitive team once again with Lorenzo Cain. Prior to 2020, Mike Moustakas signed a four-year, $64 million deal to become a Cincinnati Red. In two seasons, he has only been able to play 106 games for the Reds, due to the pandemic season in 2020 and injury troubles in 2021. In his short time there he has only slashed .217/.304/.413. I am looking for him to stay healthy and have a comeback season next year.

Next up batting seventh, is the now 7x All-Star, WS MVP, 5x Gold Glove, and 3x (Soon 4x) Silver Slugger, Salvador Perez. Miraculously the Royals were able to keep what ended up being the best player long term from the World Series team. Prior to the 2021 season, Salvy signed an extension to stay with the Royals on a four-year, $82 million deal. In his first season since the extension, Salvy has slashed .273/.316/.544 with a .859 OPS while leading the Majors in Homeruns (48) and RBIs (121). He tied Jorge Soler’s record as the Royals Single Season Homerun leader and has been an MVP candidate this past season. He has made an All-Star team every year he has been able to since 2013 and is the clear face of this franchise. The production that Perez has put together this season is something to awe at, as it is likely the most impressive offensive season by a Catcher we have ever seen. Here’s to hoping his success continues into the remaining three years of his contract.

At eighth in the lineup was the defensive specialist Left Fielder, Alex Gordon. The lifetime Royal played five more seasons with the team following the 2015 season before he retired after the 2020 pandemic year. He piled up career slash line of .257/.338/.410 with a .748 OPS, 190 Homeruns, 357 doubles, and 749 RBIs. Over his 14-year career with the Royals, Alex Gordon was a 3x All-Star, WS Champ, 8x Gold Glove, and a 2x Platinum Glove winner. As if all those great stats and accolades still aren’t enough, this fanbase will always love Alex for his homerun in game one of the 2015 World Series. This was one of the biggest Homeruns in Royals history, where he was able to tie up the game in the 9th inning and give us the opportunity to win (which of course we did in 14 innings). He is an amazing person and had an amazing career with the Kansas City Royals. I hope him the best in retirement.

Alex Rios batted ninth in the lineup for the World Champion Kansas City Royals. Although Rios was only on the Royals for one season of his 12-year career, he did his job well and earned his first and only ring. Following the 2015 season, Alex Rios received a $1.5 million buyout from the Royals and entered retirement. Over his entire career, 2015 was the only season where Alex was able to compete on a playoff team. He came up clutch for us in the ALCS against Toronto where he had 7 hits in 19 at-bats, including a homerun. He had a great, long career and was very important to our championship run.

While only one of these nine players is currently with the present Royals team, they will all always be remembered for their roles throughout the 2015 postseason. Even six years later, I always love checking in on the players that made this city’s dream come true.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.