Duke Debates: Kansas City Royals

Saúl Berríos-Thomas | Layout Editor

The Kansas City Royals haven’t lost a playoff game since Oct. 23, 1985. They also haven’t returned to the playoffs since then.

The Royals are entering the World Series undefeated in this year’s playoffs. They have the perfect mix of young potential laden with a few veteran leaders. Arguably one of their best hitters is 24 year-old first baseman Eric Hosmer, alongside 24 year-old stud catcher Salvador Perez. The two are just a number of young prospects turned Major League talents on the Kansas City roster.

Their starting rotation is made up of five pitchers who started at least 30 games this season. That stability is what helped them get to the playoffs. They only had three other pitchers start games this year. The young corps is the byproduct of one of the best farm systems baseball has ever seen. While this corps was developing, the Royals acquired some veterans to help establish a culture in Kansas City that would allow them to become this successful.

Hosmer, along with a few other Royals, have been having a fun time during the playoff run and have proved unaffected by the pressure. During a rain delay in Baltimore in the ALCS, the Royals were taking batting practice on the field. Some young Orioles fans were watching and asking for balls.

This is not uncommon, but what happened next is.

A few Royals players would throw balls to these kids and then say “throw it back.” The kids looked shocked and didn’t want to do it, but when they did the Royals players would throw the ball right back.

That’s not all.

In one of the best called shots since the Babe pointed his bat to center field and launched a home run to the same spot, Jarrod Dyson boldly predicted that the ALCS would not return to Baltimore. After the Royals won the second game of the ALCS in Baltimore, a reporter asked Dyson if he thought the series would come back to Baltimore. He responded with an electrifying grin and said, “No, sir, I don’t. And I don’t think they think that way, either.”

Most teams can touch either young kids or fans from their own age group somehow the Royals have managed to do both just this postseason.

So now you know why to cheer for the Royals, but are they good enough to win?

Simply put: yes, but let’s expand on that. The three go-to relievers, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, have given up one run each in the entire playoffs. Having that kind of an advantage heading into the 6th or 7th innings makes them almost unbeatable if they can score jump out to a lead early.

The Royals are not a great offensive team. They are much better at getting on base than they are at hitting for power. In fact they are the only major league team who didn’t eclipse 100 homeruns on the season. I know everyone is getting crazy about all the bunting they do, but it is not as bad as the stat-heads would have you believe. Bunting was a development later in the season. This combined with the bullpen usage shows that Yost realizes that the playoffs are different from the regular season and that the team has to be managed differently to win a smaller sample size of games.

The Royals are an above average pitching team whose hitters got hot at the right time and are playing a style of baseball that perfectly suits their strengths. Across the board they may not be as talented as the Giants but they play a gritty style of baseball that suits a manager with the name Ed Fred “Ned” Yost.