The Kansas City Royals entered the 2021 season with lowly expectations.
They were widely viewed as one of the worst teams in not only their division, but all of Major League Baseball.
Now, just over a quarter of the way through the season, the Royals sit in third place with a 22-23 record.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 23, 2021
This is much better than what was expected of them, as they have a chance to make a push in the division.
While it may be a long shot for them to take the American League Central title, they could be an underdog to watch.
Here are three reasons why.
3. Underrated Royals Lineup
This season, the Royals have quietly put together a solid and deep lineup.
SALVADOR PEREZ FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/KcxAWt8vNt
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) April 18, 2021
However, both of them have contributed greatly early in the year, hitting .257 and .290 respectively.
Beyond them, the lineup has been held down by solid performances by most of their hitters.
A majority of the players have posted averages around .250.
His power numbers have been absent so far, as he has only slugged four home runs this year.
He could be a name to watch moving forward, especially if he can heat up later in the season.
2. A Dominant Bullpen
It would be hard to find a team in MLB with a better bullpen than the Royals.
They have a wide range of dominant arms that have all stood out this season.
Josh Staumont, elevated 99mph ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/aOgi9UNBAk
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 26, 2021
Each have given solid innings in both roles.
However, their team bullpen ERA ranks low due to some inflated numbers.
Because of that, this aspect of the Royals game is going underrated.
It could certainly give them a major boost moving forward this year.
1. Royals Rotation is Underperforming
The Royals starting rotation has been very bad this season.
Danny Duffy has carried the load on the mount so far, with a 4-3 record and an outstanding 1.94 ERA.
Danny Duffy, 92mph Fastball (called strike) and 78mph Curveball (swinging K), Overlay/Slow
Why you might swing at a curveball in the dirt. pic.twitter.com/J85eFRVbuB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2021
Second-year pitcher Brady Singer has also shown promise, posting a 4.00 ERA in 45 innings.
However, beyond these two arms, the Royals starters have had very rough seasons so far.
The good news is that the numbers look like they will naturally move back towards average by the end of the season.
This means that they are due for a hot streak, which would give the team a major boost.
If this rotation would be able to keep runs off the board, they would give the offense a good chance to get leads early in games.
This would greatly improve the Royals’ chances to make a move in the weaker AL Central.
While it would be surprising, the Royals have a chance to put it together and make a run for the playoffs.
These three aspects of their game, if they all click at the same time, could be enough to push them far enough forward.