There is a lot to be excited about with this Royals team in the upcoming season. Let’s get the most obvious pieces out of the way first. The Zack Greinke reunion season is of course a fairy tale ending for us Royals fans and the suspense and excitement coming from all of the prospects on the cusp of the bigs has us all on the edge of our seats. Without mentioning Zack Greinke, Bobby Witt Jr, MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, and Vinnie Pasquantino, what are you most excited for this season?
I’ll go ahead and start to answer my own question here while you think about it. For starters, I am cautiously hopeful for what is to come from Adalberto Mondesi in 2022. He seemingly (and surprisingly) has the shortstop position on lock and also appears to be healthy. If he can keep it together for 100+ games this season, it should be very exciting to see what he can produce. If Mondesi puts together a stat line to the tune of .265/.295/.440 with 18 home runs and 35 steals in 100 games at short, I think that would make everyone involved in the organization happy. The team would then have some serious decisions to make regarding the structure of the future infield.
Next up, Whit Merrifield, will he continue his “slight regression” that many seem to enjoy pointing out, or will he keep up his all-star caliber play at a new position? You also can’t mention Whit without addressing the everlasting trade rumors surrounding him. With him still being on this team going into 2022, I don’t think Whit is going anywhere. I also believe he will excel right field. Many question his arm strength out there and still do not fully support his relocation but I have hope for him out there. Having two Gold Glovers sharing the outfield with Whit, along with Bobby, Mondi, and Nicky in the infield should not leave any room for worry defensively. The only real reason fans deserve to be upset about Whit’s relocation is my next point.
Kyle Isbel. I was and am very excited to see how Isbel can make a name for himself this season after his hot finish to 2021. The only problem now is that another two years of Michael A Taylor along with Whit now in the outfield leaves a lot less plate appearances for Kyle Isbel. I am hoping that Isbel can make space on this team as the fourth outfielder and can platoon at-bats with Taylor. The team needs to find him big league plate appearances no matter what it takes.
Everyone has to be curious about the encore performances coming up in 2022. I am of course referring to Salvador Perez and Nicky Lopez’s follow-up seasons. I am very eager to see if they can come close to matching up to their respective displays last year. Will Salvy hit 35+ home runs again? Will he hit in 90+ runs again? Will Nicky hit above .285 again? Will he finally get his deserving gold glove? I am definitely hoping so, and if this team wants to make another step forward, they will desperately need Salvy and Nicky’s production once again.
Finally, the most exciting part about this season (aside from the first paragraph's contents) to me is the battle that the starting pitchers are going to be putting up. After surviving the dog days of summer last year the young guns seemed to bounce back very well and there were plenty of great flashes from Kris Bubic, Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch, Brad Keller, and Carlos Hernández to name a few. I am thrilled to see how each of these players improves and how they make the leaps in their careers to help this team compete going forward.
What else are you excited for?
This poll is closed
Whit’s adjustments and production
Isbel’s playing time and performance
Salvy and Nicky’s Encore
The young starters
Something else (comment below)