Remember that year? Magical. So I got to thinking, was that 2003 team better than what we will put on the field in 2010? I put the two head to head to see what came out of it. This is purely based "on-paper", I only used simple baseball stats like ERA, Batting average, Home Runs and RBIs in my comparisons. I also used the 25 man roster that the Royals currently have on their website as my basis for the 2010 roster.
2003: Darrel May, Chris George, Runelvys Hernandez, Kyle Snyder, Jose Lima
2010: Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies
Edge: 2010. Two words. One name. Zack Greinke.
2003: Ken Harvey
2010: Billy Butler
Edge: 2010. Butler has joined hall of famers with the stats he put up last year as a 23 year old. He is the top offensive player on the team and his ceiling is nearly unlimited. Harvey had two solid years for the Royals, but after his All-Star appearance in 2004, he started regressing...violently.
2003: Desi Relaford
2010: Alberto Callaspo
Edge: 2010. AC had one of the best offensive seasons for a second baseman in Royals history, but struggled on the defensive side of the ball. Relaford was a journeyman who had a career year in KC, but didn't put up the offensive numbers to best Callaspo.
2003: Angel Berroa
2010: Yuniesky Betancourt
Edge: 2003. Berroa came from nowhere and became a fan favorite in his Rookie of the Year season, while Betancourt has become a running joke amongst Royals fans.
2003: Joe Randa
2010: Alex Gordon
Edge: 2003. Randa gets the nod over Gordon because Randa stayed healthy and played top notch defense at the hot corner.
2003: Aaron Guiel
2010: David DeJesus
Edge: 2010. DeJesus is a good player, year in and year out. Guiel lacked consistency and was often injured.
2003: Carlos Beltran
2010: Rick Ankiel
Edge: 2003. Beltran is a 5-tool all star. Ankiel is good at a few things, but can't match up with Beltran in any category.
2003: Raul Ibanez
2010: Scott Podsednik
Edge: 2003. Raul had a career resurgence in KC and became one of the best hitters in baseball in the last decade. Podsednik has been knocked around the league and never established any consistency.
2003: Brent Mayne
2010: Jason Kendall
Edge: 2010. Basically a contest between two monkeys flinging poop at each other. Kendall has the better track record than Mayne.
2003: Mike Sweeney
2010: Jose Guillen
Edge: 2003. Sweeney was just two years removed from setting the club record for RBIs with 144 when he started breaking down in 2002. Guillen has one thing in common with Sweeney in the fact that he can't stay healthy.
2003: Michael Tucker, Mike DiFelice, Carlos Febles, Dee Brown
2010: Josh Fields, Willie Bloomquist, Brayan Pena, Chris Getz
Edge: 2010. The defensive versatility of Bloomquist and Getz, coupled with the offensive potential of Fields and Pena gives 2010 a slightly better outlook than the soft hitting bench of the 2003 team.
2003: Jeremy Affeldt, D.J. Carrasco, Kris Wilson, Jason Grimsley, Al Levine, Curtis Leskanic, Miguel Ascencio, Sean Lowe
2010: Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, Robinson Tejeda, Matt Herges, Edgar Osuna, Carlos Rosa, Anthony Lerew, Roman Colon
Edge: 2003. Once again, another poop flinging contest. '03 gets the edge because of the solid help that was provided by Curtis Leskanic and Al Levine late in the season. Also Jeremy Affeldt has turned into a decent reliever in the NL.
2003: Mike MacDougal
2010: Joakim Soria
Edge: 2010. Both former All-Stars, yet the Mexicutioner beats out Mac based on the fact that Soria is a dominant pitcher, whereas MacDougal was more lucky than good in 2003.
2003: Tony Pena
2010: Trey Hillman
Edge: 2003. Tony Pena won manager of the year after taking a team full of replacement players and a merry-go-round of starting pitchers to the brink of a division title. Trey Hillman has failed to inspire his players the same way that Pena did in 2003.
Edge: 2003. The '03 team had so much talent offensively, yet zero starting pitching and little help out of the bullpen. It is my belief that that team could have competed for and possibly won the division if it had a more solid and consistent rotation. The defense was about as good as we have seen this decade with Beltran, Randa and Ibanez. This 2010 team is filled with holes and it is hard to see Trey Hillman doing what Tony Pena did in 2003 with essentially a polar opposite roster. Pena had a team loaded with offensive talent, yet no starting pitching and a bullpen that routinely gave up leads. Hillman has a pretty good starting rotation, yet very little help on the offensive side of the diamond. With an All-Star caliber closer, Cy Young winner and a first baseman that has put up comparable numbers to hall of famers, Hillman has yet to prove that he can inspire a team to win on a consistent basis.