A Revisiting of our 10 Bold Predictions for the 2019 Royals season.
The Kansas City Royals have hit the midway point of their season, and through 81 games the team is on a slightly better pace than they were a season ago at 28-53. Their record only tells part of the story, though, as multiple players are having great seasons, shining a bright light on the future.
In February, we put out a list of 10 Bold Predictions for the 2019 Kansas City Royals, and below we are going to check in on those predictions to see how spot on, or far off, we are at the halfway point of this season.
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Prediction 1: Jakob Junis will lead the Royals in wins
At the midway point of the season, Junis has not had the breakout season he was hoping for. Junis is 4-7 with a 5.23 ERA through 17 starts at the midway point, but he currently sits second on the team in wins, just three wins behind Homer Bailey for the team lead. It may not be the prettiest stat-line ever, but our prediction has a chance to hold true if Junis has a strong second half.
Prediction 2: Adalberto Mondesi will become the fourth player in Major League history to record a 20-home run & 60 stolen base season
Adalberto Mondesi has been everything you could have hoped for and more for the Royals this season. His power numbers are down slightly from his pace in 2018, but he leads the league in triples and stolen bases at the midway point. Unfortunately, he was placed on the IL with a groin injury on June 19, meaning he played in just 71 of the team’s first 81 games. Mondesi is on pace to hit around .270 with 12 home runs and have 54 stolen bases, though he was pacing for 21 homers and 65 stolen bases before the injury. It seems as though the groin injury could throw this prediction off the rails, but if Mondesi comes back healthy he’s a player that can hit for power and steal plenty of bases. Stay tuned on this one.
Prediction 3: The Royals will lead Major League Baseball in stolen bases
Adelberto Mondesi (27) leads the league in steals by a big margin, while Billy Hamilton (16) and Whit Merrifield (11) both find themselves in the top 20 in the majors, respectively. As a team, the Royals lead the majors with 78 stolen bases, 13 more than the Texas Rangers, who have 65. As we said previously, this was like predicting water is wet.
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Prediction 4: Danny Duffy will top 180 innings pitched for the first time in his career
This prediction was made before Duffy missed the whole first month of the season due to injury, but it was still lofty. To date, Duffy has made 11 starts, and has thrown 62.1 innings. If Duffy makes his 16 remaining starts, he would have to average more than seven innings per start to reach 180 innings. We all love Duffy, but this one seems like it is not going to happen this season.
Prediction 5: Nicky Lopez will be the everyday second baseman by September 1st
Nicky Lopez was called up to the Royals on May 14th, and made his Major League Debut on May 15th. The young prospect tore up Omaha to the tune of a .353 batting average with 10 extra base hits and 13 RBIs through 31 games, earning himself a call up to the big club. Since his call up, Lopez is batting .237 with a home run and 8 RBIs while sporting an above average glove at second base. The Royals have no reason to send Lopez back down at this point.
Prediction 6: Ryan O’Hearn will lead the Royals in home runs
Well, it was bound to happen. When getting 3 out of 10 in baseball is considered elite, you knew we would have at least one prediction that was way off. While O’Hearn was solid down the stretch in 2018, blasting 12 homers in 44 games, he has struggled thus far with the Royals this season. O’Hearn is batting just .188 with six home runs through the first half of the 2019 campaign, putting him in a tie for fifth for total home runs on the Royals this season. Jorge Soler leads the team with 21 home runs.
Prediction 7: Whit Merrifield will join Salvador Perez on the AL All-Star Team
Our prediction release went out about two days before the Royals announced that six-time all-star Salvador Perez would miss the 2019 season due to injury, so it’s hard to fault us there. Merrifield, on the other hand, has been one of the best players on the Royals this season, though his unselfishness hurt him in all-star voting. He started the season as the team’s second baseman but agreed to move to the outfield to make room for the arrival of Nicky Lopez. Merrifield did not make the final three on the ballot, so we know he won’t be starting in the All Star game.
Merrifield is 100% an all-star caliber player, and he’s now proved it for 2.5 seasons. Through the team’s first 81 games, Merrifield is batting .303 with a league-leading 103 hits. He is also first in the American League with 171 total bases. Merrifield has a great chance to be chosen as an AL All-Star reserve when the team’s are announced on Sunday.
Prediction 8: Jorge Soler will hit 20+ home runs
Jorge Soler has been fantastic this season for the Royals at the plate. The Cuban slugger is finally having that breakout season that the Royals expected when they brought Soler to KC in exchange for Wade Davis a couple years ago. Soler led the team in home runs (21) and RBIs (53) and is third on the team in doubles (17). His 21 home runs have already shattered his previous career-high of 12 in 2016, and he has also already set a new career mark for RBIs. We can’t wait to see what the second half has in store for Soler, who is on pace to break Mike Moustakas’s (Man, do we miss Moose…) team record of 38 home runs set in 2017.
Prediction 9: Whit Merrifield will record 200-hit season
As we stated before, Merrifield has once again been extremely consistent this season as he continues to be one of the top players in the American League. Merrifield currently leads the Royals with 103 hits on the season, including a team-best 21 doubles to go with seven triples and 11 home runs. His 103 hits are the most in all of baseball, and he is currently on pace for 206 hits on the year, meaning 200+ is well within reach.
Prediction 10: Alex Gordon will hit a regular season home run in Omaha
Here’s one prediction that I think we can all agree would have been fun to see, but unfortunately it was not meant to be as Gordon missed the game in Omaha due to an injury. The Royals and the Tigers battled in Omaha on June 14th to kick off the College World Series, and it was all set up to be a homecoming of sorts for Gordon, who played collegiately at Nebraska. Sadly, Gordon was forced to miss the game after getting hit by a pitch the night before, causing a nerve in his back/neck to flare up.
Overall, we still have a good amount of predictions still alive and well to go with a couple that were total duds. Stay tuned and check back in to royalsticketsforless.com for more content on the Royals, and check in at the end of the season to see where we landed on our bold prediction list.
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