VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
Optimism abounds after Royals finish 86-76

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Their best record in more than two decades. Several breakout stars. A hungry bunch of young players who have finally played September games that matter.

Advertisement
There's a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to the Kansas City Royals. There are also plenty of questions remaining as they point toward next season.

Will manager Ned Yost be back? Will they find a big bat for right field? Will they retain or replace right-hander Ervin Santana? Will some of the young pitchers develop into starters? Will they take the final step needed to make the postseason?

``We like our bullpen, we like our starting pitching and we think that our offensive unit is going to continue to grow and trend upward,'' said Yost, whose contract expired after this season but who's also received a vote of confidence from general manager Dayton Moore. ``We think we're sitting in a pretty good spot to come in next year and compete.''

The Royals finished 86-76 for their best record since 1989, and a 14-win improvement over last season. They were just five games back of the AL's wild card and in contention until the penultimate series of the season.

``Everyone in here realized how much fun winning was in that second half was for us,'' first baseman Eric Hosmer said. ``The fans were great in Kansas City, showing up every day and filling it out for us and really making it a tough place to play for teams coming in.''

Indeed, the fervor of late-season baseball was back in the old Midwestern cattle town for the first time since George Brett - who made a cameo as the Royals' hitting coach midway through the season - was plying his trade at third base in the 1970s and `80s.

Kauffman Stadium was filled to the brim for the Royals' final home series against Texas, and the team even managed to push the Chiefs off the front page late in the season.

``A lot of us realized how good of a baseball city Kansas City is,'' Hosmer said, ``and especially when you're winning how fun it can be.''

The Royals still haven't been to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, and never did pull into a postseason slot despite a stellar second half. They still have not risen to the level of the American League's elite franchises, even if they're trending that way.

For the most part, the Royals spent the entire season chasing those teams.

They got off to a miserable start capped by a disastrous May in which they were just 8-20, and they were already being written off again. But they steadied the ship in June and then went on a tear after the All-Star break, putting together a 43-27 finishing kick.

``We just need to keep that kind of mentality where we go out there and play hard and have fun and just let that happen,'' outfielder Alex Gordon said. ``We had a good energy in the clubhouse and a good mentality, kind of feeling. It paid off with the wins we had.''

The clubhouse will remain largely intact next season. Hosmer and young starters such as shortstop Alcides Escobar and center Salvador Perez are under club control or already have long-term deals, and even ace James Shields remains signed through next season. Santana is the biggest loss looming - he may have priced himself out of Kansas City by going 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA.

The Royals will make a qualifying offer to Santana, but they also have a bevy of youngsters led by Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer waiting in the wings if he gets away in free agency. All-Star closer Greg Holland, who saved 47 games with a 1.21 ERA, will be back to anchor one of the major's best bullpens. Holland had just one blown save in his last 41 chances.

The biggest question becomes who will manage them.

Owner David Glass intends to leave that decision up to Moore, who has been in Yost's corner all season. Yost also has said he'd like to be back, especially with the franchise finally contending for the first time in decades.

``When you have something good you need to stick with it,'' Gordon said, ``and I think that's what we have. We have a good manager that gels well with the guys on this team and we all have a good relationship. It's kind of hard to start over again with someone new, so it'd be nice to have him back and we're hoping that he comes back.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Nelson: Top Contender Concerns
Orioles outlast Astros, avoid sweep
Kluber, Indians blow out Blue Jays
Odor homers twice, Rangers top Rays
Phillies knock off Brewers, 6-3
Athletics edge Mets, 'under' hits
Reds avoid sweep, top Marlins
Yankees put 2B Castro back on DL
Astros 3B Colin Moran placed on DL
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
9-1 +939 L3 Days, 8-2 +579 GPlays
13-6 +1,138 L4 Days, +5,153 TY
14-2 +1,280 G-Plays, 21-11 L9 Days
16-8 L24, +2,750 Totals TY
6-2, +419 L8 MLB Guarantees
3-1 +200 Y'day, 7-1 L8 Totals
8-3, +482 Last 11 Guarantees
2-0, +220 Record Yesterday
4-1, +329 L5 MLB Guarantees
+1,554 Net Profits This Year
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks
2017 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 5153
Stephen Nover + 1554
ASA + 863
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1952
Gary Bart + 1851
Marc Lawrence + 1434
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2750
Micah Roberts + 874
Kyle Hunter + 728
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1089
ASA + 639
John Fisher + 607
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 1147
Scott Rickenbach + 940
Gary Bart + 633
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 1735
Dave Cokin + 1472
Stephen Nover + 863
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership