Absolutely. No question that Zack will mesmerize Kansas City this year. The only problem is that he still has a soft swinging offense and haphazard defense. Maybe he gets to 20 wins this year, maybe he doesn't. I still think he at least matches his win total of 17 last year. Obviously the preseason favorite for the 2010 Cy Young.
How will the Royals draw this year?
Obviously being a year removed from a freshly renovated stadium, I think we will see a decently sized drop off, unless this team can stick around .500 through June, which is doubtful. Most likely we will see crowds of less than 20,000 on a regular basis.
Who is going to be the anchor of the lineup?
Billy Butler. No question here. Unless Alex Gordon can bust out in a big way, Butler is going to be the horse in this lineup.
Who is the Royal that will surprise us the most this year?
Call me crazy, but I think it will be Luke Hochevar. Luke showed us some flashes of brilliance last year. I could be very wrong, but he was the first overall pick for a reason. I think most of us would be pleased with a sub 4.50 ERA, which is very possible.
Who is the Royal most likely to be traded this year?
Pick from these three: Alex Gordon, Gil Meche, Jose Guillen. For Gordon: the price must be right. For Meche: He must be healthy. For Guillen: we'll have to eat up to $9 million of his final salary. In a trade for all three, the Royals have to beef up their upper minors.
Is there anyone on this team who can make a run at the club record for home runs (36)?
My first thought is no. But then you look at Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Butler has proven he can hit doubles at a frightening rate and mash homers at a good rate. If some of those doubles can get muscled over the fence in 2010, then I think he has a decent shot. If Gordon can stay healthy and finally improve, then they both have good shots.
Is this Trey Hillman's last year as Royals' manager?
If I am the GM, yes. But I'm not. Dayton is going to give Trey every chance he can. I talked with Angels' TV announcer Terry Smith last year, and he gave Trey a big vote of confidence. Then again, we could never judge Trey until he has talent around him. He just doesn't. You can't fault him for that.
Will Jason Kendall's patience at the plate rub off on the team?
No. Not with this bunch. You have some ok OBP guys on the team like Butler, Gordon, Callaspo and DeJesus, but counter them with Betancourt, Fields, Getz, et al and you have a motley crew of guys who have trouble getting on base.
Of the acquisitions so far, who has the best chance of having the most impact?
Honestly, I'm not sure. If anyone it would be a player who makes the 25-man roster out of spring training. Kila Kai'ihue has a good chance to be an impact player if he can translate his AAA power and OBP to the majors. Chris "Disco" Hayes could be a solid reliever out of the bullpen. I just can't make the assumption that any of these players can make a significant impact.
If the season started tomorrow, where would the Royals finish?
72-90. 4th or 5th place.