Kansas City is known as a Midwestern, work hard, get the job done kind of town. There’s not a lot of flash, but the substance of the people is what makes Kansas City unique. They Royals reflect that mentality. The team is put together with a bunch of men who know their role in the team. None of them is expected to be the savior, and none of them are sure-fire hall of famers. They just play together and win.
Ned Yost – The Head Honcho – Much-maligned throughout his managerial career, Ned Yost has guided this group of men to a team that is confident and has no fear. He doesn’t make rash decisions, and some of his in-game decisions might be questionable, but his critics must concede that he led a team to the playoffs. There are 20 managers that wish they were in his position right now.
James Shields – The Workhorse – The leader of the pitching staff. He was brought in by Dayton Moore to anchor a young pitching staff and change the mindset of pitchers in Kansas City. He’ll pitch in the wild card game for Kansas City on Tuesday.
Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura – The Phenoms –These two have solidified themselves as the #2 and #3 starters on the Royals staff. Ventura brings the heat, topping 100 mph from the right side. Duffy isn’t short on velocity, especially considering his southpaw delivery.
Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie – The Veterans – These two veterans have provided a steady hand and some strong innings for the Royals. Ned Yost has a tough decision to make when he decides who will start the 4th playoff game. Vargas has better overall numbers, but he’s struggled quite a bit in his last few starts.
Greg Holland – The Closer – He’s the true head of the Royals’ three-headed dragon in the bullpen. It’s hard to believe, but his numbers this year (1.44 ERA, .914 WHIP, 13.0 K/9) were slightly down from his numbers last year. It didn’t stop him from saving 46 Royal victories.
Wade Davis – The Set-Up Man – As the second head of the Royals three-headed dragon, Wade Davis was perhaps the most dominating pitcher in Major League Baseball this year. Opposing hitters has on OPS of just .408 against Davis this year.
Kelvin Herrera – The Other Set-Up Man – Herrera is the third head of the dragon. If the Royals needed to protect a lead in the 7th inning, Herrera took care of business. His post All-Star break ERA was a mere 0.58.
Brandon Finnegan – The New Guy – Three months ago, Finnegan was leading TCU to the College World Series. Now, he’s Ned Yost’s best left-handed reliever in the bullpen. With nerves of steel and bulldog demeanor, Finnegan has excelled in his short time in the big leagues.
Jason Frasor, Aaron Crow, Louis Coleman, Francisely Bueno, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs – The Other Guys – It’s not known yet how Ned Yost will set up his post-season roster. One one or two of these guys might make the post-season roster. They’ve all had their ups and downs.
The Starting Nine
Salvador Perez – The Team Leader – Salvy is the undisputed cheerleader of the team. He’s an anchor behind the plate, and though he has struggled offensively in the 2nd half of the year, his bat has the potential to win a game.
Eric Hosmer – The WunderKid – According most experts, Hosmer has yet to reach his potential. His batting mechanics need some work, but when things are going right for him, he has the capability to carry the team.
Omar Infante – The Steady Hand – Infante was brought in the past offseason in a 4-year deal to give stability to a position that had been in flux. He’s the quintessential veteran influence on the infield. He does all the little things right.
Mike Moustakas - The Enigma – Offensively, Moose has had a disappointing season. Defensively, until recently, he’s been great. The Royals are still waiting for his power to manifest itself regularly. Though he’s been batting at the bottom of the order lately, his power potential can’t be ignored.
Alcides Escobar – The Magician – Escobar’s defensive plays are regular entries in the daily web gems. Since Ned Yost moved him to the top of the lineup, Escobar has responded with an OPS of .841.
Alex Gordon – The Mr. Incredible – Alex Gordon does a little bit of everything, but he does best is defends left field. The former third basemen is on his way to his 4th straight gold glove award. He can also hit the ball a little bit. He leads the team in home runs, runs, RBIs, and OPS.
Lorenzo Cain – The Minister of Defense – Compared to most men in the major leagues, Cain doesn’t have the experience they do. He didn’t play baseball until he was in high school. Now, he’s one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. He can also hit a little bit, he leads the team with a .301 batting average.
Nori Aoki – Aoki Dokey – Aoki plays the game of baseball in his own unique style. For the first half of the year, that style didn’t work. Since the all-star break, he’s batted .317. Since recently being moved to the 2nd spot in the batting order, his OPS 1.020.
Jarrod Dyson – The Speed Merchant – Dyson is fast, and he can do back flips. He also plays great defense and is a terror on the base paths. He leads the team that leads the league in stolen bases. And his phrase, “That’s What Speed Do,” has become a fan favorite.
Billy Butler – The Big Guy – Butler’s offensive season mirrors that of the Royals team. He hasn’t performed up to expectations. Across the board, his numbers have declined. But there are times that Billy Butler, and the Royals offense in general, just happens to hit its inconsistent stride. He’s one of the few men whose bat can carry the entire Royal team.
The Other Guys
Terrence Gore – Gore might be the fastest guy in the major leagues. The only question is how did he get caught stealing 7 times in the minors. He can’t hit a lick, but his speed can change a game.
Raul Ibanez – One of the nicest guys in baseball. He plays the game the right way; he always has.Josh Willingham – Acquired recently from Minnesota, his right-handed bat could play a key role as a late-inning pinch hitter.