It’s the best day of the year, folks. Christmas in March.
The Royals play baseball today. They enter today’s game with a 5% chance of making the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight, worse odds than all but three teams in baseball, but for now, they’re in a five-way tie for first place in the division.
If you want some hope for this season, you could find it in the standard deviation between win projections. Aside from the Dodgers, no team has a higher standard deviation than the Royals. That’s the good news. Someone thinks Kansas City will win more games! The bad news is the high watermark of these projections is 73 wins.
But that doesn’t matter. Projections are for nerds. The Royals are *in it, baby.
Here are some more good Royals Review Opening Day reads for you:
- Royals Review Predictions Thread
- Royals Review Opening Day Roundtable
- Royals Review Season Preview
- How it all goes right for the 2023 Royals
Other Royals reads:
- One reason for each MLB team to be optimistic (The Athletic)
- Predicting every MLB Team Record for the 2023 Season (Sports Illustrated)
- Fangraphs 2023 Staff Predictions (Fangraphs)
- 2023 ZiPS Projections: Kansas City Royals (Fangraphs)
With all that said, let’s get to it.
For the second consecutive season, Zack Greinke is on the mound to open the season for Kansas City.
Zack Greinke leads a rotation alongside Brady Singer that includes Jordan Lyles, Brad Keller, and a bit surprisingly, Kris Bubic. However, that could change when Daniel Lynch returns from his strained left shoulder.
The Royals roster looks about what we expected, without any significant surprises. Well, that was until the Royals traded Richard Lovelady to the Braves, opening up the last roster spot needed.
The #Royals traded Richard Lovelady to the Braves for cash considerations. Opens a spot on the 40-man roster.— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) March 30, 2023
Minnesota travels to Kansas City to open up the season, marking the first time the two teams have played each other on Opening Day since 2013. The last time the Royals hosted their Twin City rivals on opening day was 2002.
The Twins are a slight AL Central favorite according to Fangraphs, a slight underdog to the Guardians according to FiveThirtyEight, and an ever so slight favorite according to PECOTA. They will send 27-year-old right-hander Pablo Lopez to the mound for his first career Opening Day start. Lopez is coming off his first full season as a starter, starting 32 games and posting a career-high 2.8 fWAR.
Minnesota has Carlos Correa hitting 2nd, something that seems innocuous enough, but that comes after being signed by two other teams this offseason. They also added Christian Vazquez and Joey Gallo to the roster, along with old friend Michael A. Taylor via trade.
On the Royals side, Bobby Witt Jr. leads off and MJ Melendez bats 2nd, opening up his season in right field. Salvy hits 3rd and Vinnie Pasquantino cleans things up. Newcomer Franmil Reyes opens the season as the DH and Michael Massey starts at 2nd base over Nicky Lopez. Hunter Dozier, Kyle Isbel, and Edward Olivares round out the lineup.
Here are your official lineups.