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Predictions, redux

The envelope please

LIFE-GUNSHOT-SURVIVOR-BLOODDRIVES-4-KC Tammy Ljungblad/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

I was digging around in my archives a few weeks ago and found this piece from November of 2021, when I made ten predictions for the 2022 Royals and the Kansas City sports scene. Usually, a writer tries to forget about those predictions, but I tend to look back now and then and here’s how the prognostications fared.

The predictions I got right.

The Chiefs will make the playoffs

This seems obvious now, but remember after ten games in 2021, the Chiefs were just 6 and 4 and had been struggling. Orlando Brown was getting turnstiled on a regular basis and Patrick Mahomes was spending most of every game running for his life. They did turn it around and make the playoffs, which will long be remembered for the miraculous win over Buffalo. The run ended with a loss to Cincinnati in overtime. Of course, that pain was erased with the 2022-23 Super Bowl championship.

Bobby Witt, Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez will all make their debut in 2022

This also seems obvious in the rearview mirror but recall that Carlos Santana (and Hunter Dozier) was still entrenched as the Royals first baseman at the time, blocking Nick Pratto (and another rookie – Vinnie Pasquantino). All three rookies did make their debut (along with several others) and they acquitted themselves well.

John Sherman will get serious about building a downtown ballpark

This train has left the station. There has even been speculation about buildings and land being cleared on the east side of downtown. Stay tuned. No matter how much we love the K, this move is going to happen.

The Royals will miss another chance to honor George Spriggs

I’ve been something of a one-man band advocating that the team honor it’s only Negro League alumni. I’ll keep beating the drum for the Spriggs family. Considering that Kansas City is home to the Negro Leagues Museum, not having some type of mention of their one and only alumnus is shameful. Spriggs had a short and undistinguished career as a Royal, but his story was a fascinating one and he deserves some type of recognition.

The Royals will not resign Andrew Benintendi

Not only did they not resign him, but Dayton Moore wisely traded him to the Yankees for three young pitchers, Chandler Champlain, T.J. Sikkema and Beck Way. Now we wait to see if one or more of those young arms develop.

Buck O’Neil finally gets the call from the Hall of Fame

After a long and tortuous wait, Buck did get the call and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s a shame that it didn’t happen while he was alive.

A predication that I kind of got right:

Sal Perez will have a good, but not great season

Perez was fantastic in 2021. He struggled through an injury plagued 2022, hitting .254 with 23 dingers and 76 RBI in just 114 games. My prediction was .265 with 31 bombs and 105 RBI. I was right that he had a good, but not great, season, just off a little on the numbers.

The predictions I missed:

Dayton Moore will trade one of the young arms for a toolsy outfielder

Moore made a few trades and did bring in some outfield help (Drew Waters) while managing to hold onto all of his 2018 draft class of pitchers.

The Royals will win 79 games in 2022

Wow. I really blew this one. 79 wins? What was I smoking? They thudded to a 65-97 finish. Maybe that’s why 2022 seemed so disappointing. We were all expecting more.

Adalberto Mondesi will play in 58 games

Talk about way off. The oft injured one played in 15 games before something broke. He did get 54 plate appearances. Now he’s a Red Sox. He’ll probably turn into an MVP candidate.

What are my predictions for 2023? I’d made up my mind that I wasn’t going to make any. This team has delivered too much disappointment to me and other fans since the magical 2015 title run so I’d planned to take a step back and just try to enjoy the summer without an emotional investment in this team. Then PECOTA came out with a prediction of…62 wins. Seriously? Just 62? I will make one prediction for 2023. The Royals will win more than 62 games. My prediction is 74 wins. The rookies have another year of experience. I believe the pitching staff, under the tutelage of new coaches, will surprise some people. They won’t come close to making the playoffs, but I believe the summer of 2023 will give us a better idea of how close, or far away, they are.

Opening day is approaching and spring is just around the corner. The days are getting a little bit warmer and longer. The pitchers and catchers reported last week and opening day is rapidly approaching. Enjoy the spring and the baseball season.