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The Royals early season schedule is tough...maybe

If teams play up to expectation the first month will be hard

Chicago White Sox v Kansas City Royals Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

The Royals are not known for getting out to fast starts on their season. Last year they won seven and lost twelve in April after the lockout delayed the start of the season. Since the 2015 World Series win, they have been over .500 twice exiting April, in 2021 and in 2016. The other years they have been dreadful to open the season. Combining 2017, ‘18, ‘19, and ‘22 they went 30-69 for a .303 winning percentage. When you are on pace to lose 90 games by the end of the first month in two out of every three years, it is really hard to be optimistic heading into any given season.

This year’s early schedule is not going to do the young Royals any favors:

First Month Schedule

Team Games 2022 Fangraphs 2023 Pecota 2023
Team Games 2022 Fangraphs 2023 Pecota 2023
Twins 7 0.481 0.51 0.542
Blue Jays 4 0.568 0.545 0.553
Giants 3 0.5 0.512 0.499
Rangers 3 0.42 0.511 0.486
Angels 3 0.451 0.514 0.535
Diamondbacks 3 0.457 0.474 0.456
Weighted Win% 0.484 0.512 0.519

Last year this group of teams would not have been very formidable as they posted a weighted (by number of games in the first month to come) average win rate of just .484, but the Rangers, Angels, and Twins have made additions since then that make their projections expect a lot more in 2023. Both the Fangraphs and PECOTA projections like those three teams and the Blue Jays, while only the Fangraphs projection really likes the Giants.

Projections are never perfect, so it is no guarantee that this will be a tough month for the boys in blue. Minnesota was expected to contend for the central by many before getting off to a terrible start in 2022, and if they repeat that, the Royals get to play them a lot in the early schedule. The Angels have many injury concerns and young starting pitchers that they are relying on heavily for this year to avoid getting to a weak bullpen. Texas has an entire starting pitching rotation that gets injured regularly, though if they are all healthy it is a very dangerous group. San Francisco looks like a very middling team, so Toronto is really the only team I would be shocked at seeing below .500 come the end of April.

There is enough variance in baseball that you can always hope for a little luck too. If I were drawing up a first month, it would have been nice to see Detroit, Oakland, Washington, or a couple other teams that will likely not be very good, but you play the cards you are dealt, and you play all 162 regardless of the order.