The Kansas City Royals made two consecutive World Series back in 2014 and 2015, but after that, they faded away from true contention as they lost their stars to other teams.
They haven’t been contending in the last few years, and while they were among the MLB’s best teams in April, they reverted back to their current form and are now 49-63, 17 games behind the American League Central leaders, the Chicago White Sox.
If it weren’t for the Minnesota Twins’ lousy season, the Royals would be last in the division.
However, better days are ahead for the franchise.
How soon, though, can they break onto the scene and return to contention?
It’s tough to say for sure, but even 2022 is a possibility for them if things break right.
Can The Royals Compete In 2022?
For starters, they have managed to develop an impressive group of young pitchers.
Brady Singer is the most obvious example, as he is fourth on the team in pitching Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, with 1.5.
His ERA is not good, at 5.13, but other pitching metrics say he has been better.
For example, his Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, is a much lower 3.83.
The Royals have other three young pitchers who have struggled somewhat results-wise, but remain full of potential for the future.
They should all be contributors in 2022, so there is a pitching base.
Asa Lacy, perhaps the best pitching prospect of the organization, is a little further away and could be looking at a late 2022 or early 2023 debut.
Asa Lacy, 14Ks in 5IP (in 36 seconds). 🔥 pic.twitter.com/W8zPi9PVAV
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 10, 2020
The offense may not be overly exciting as a whole, but there is a lot going on in Kansas City for the future thanks to a name in particular.
The Royals Have Their Hopes On Bobby Witt Jr.’s Shoulders
Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. was invited to this year’s spring training and had a marvelous performance, one that had him as a possibility to make the team out of camp.
He ultimately didn’t, and was assigned to Double-A, where he hit .295/.369/.570 with 16 homers in 61 games.
He was called up to Triple-A, where he is at the moment, and has mashed to the tune of a .294/.355/.647 line with eight dingers in 19 games.
That's five homers in seven games for Bobby Witt Jr. with the @OMAStormChasers.
And he's getting his money's worth. pic.twitter.com/8sMMYnoa27
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 11, 2021
He is a difference-maker, a franchise-altering talent who is clearly ready for The Show, but won’t be rushed by the Royals.
Perhaps he makes a few appearances in September, but his time to shine will come in early 2022.
Adalberto Mondesi, a dynamic talent who has been injured most of the year, still has two more years of team control after 2021.
All in all, the Royals have the pieces in place to be respectable in 2022, and if the young pitchers take a step forward and Witt is as good as advertised, they could surprise a few people and fight for one of the Wild Card spots next season.NEXT: Why Kansas City Royals Should Trade Whit Merrifield