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Kansas City Royals Betting – Royals Are Almost There, But Not Quite

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 4/2/2012 2:36:51 PM
kansas city royals betting

Kansas City’s online betting odds are better than they have been in a long time as they feature one of the league’s youngest teams, and there is plenty of talent to go through the lineup. But they still have a lot of questions on their pitching staff, from the starters to the bullpen, and that will keep them down for at least one more season.

Lineup

The Royals were fourth in the majors in batting average in 2011 and 10th in runs scored, but they sacrificed hitting for pitching when they traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez. He’ll be replaced by Lorenzo Cain, who will bat second in the order and the Royals already think he’ll better defensively than his predecessor. Left-fielder Alex Gordon and first baseman Eric Hosmer are the leaders of the offense and will look to build on promising campaigns from last season, and there are some who feel Hosmer could be in line for an All-Star berth. Gordon received a big extension in the offseason, so he’ll have to deal with the pressure of living up to big expectations. Designated hitter Billy Butler can slot in at first if need be, and right-fielder Jeff Francoeur adds a veteran presence to the lineup.

However, the lineup goes south when you get to the bottom third, although the Royals will be able to alternate catchers between Humberto Quintero and Brayan Pena. Quintero is better defensively, so he’ll likely start the season as the Royals try to make their pitchers comfortable.

Pitching

Pitching is what is going to spark the Royals’ MLB betting odds this season, and the potential is there for the rotation, they just have to fulfill it. Bruce Chen gets the nod as the starter, but he doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence among Kansas City fans. Sanchez is known for throwing a no-hitter with the Giants in 2009 and he gets a lot of strikeouts, but he also walks far too many batters and that is usually how he runs up high pitch counts, which keeps his innings down more than they should be. Luke Hochevar has to start living up to his potential sooner than later, although he did have a solid second half to the season. Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza round out the rotation for now, but they can be replaced.

Right now, the major worry in Kansas City is the bullpen as closer Joakim Soria is out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, which leaves the job to Greg Holland, who doesn’t have much experience, and Jonathan Broxton, who is coming off his own elbow surgery. Aaron Crow went to the All-Star game last year, but the Royals need him to get stronger as he faded later in the season. The rest of the bullpen is average at best, and even though the concern coming into the season was the starting pitching, it is the bullpen that may decide Kansas City’s fate.

Intangibles

Manager Ned Yost has been with the Royals since 2010 and will be here through 2013, says his contract, although we all know that can be axed in a hurry. Yost is a defensive-minded manager who is tasked with the progress of the one of the youngest teams in the league, and one that showed a lot of promise in 2011, but now it is a matter of living up to it. Yost has come under fire at times with some of his management strategies in regards to pitching, and that is going to be under the microscope in 2012 as the Royals’ hurlers could damage their MLB betting chances.

Kansas City is tied with Houston with an average age of 26.8, which is the youngest in the major leagues, so there are going to be some growing pains that their fans are used to. The older players, such as Francoeur and Gordon will have to steer the team in the right direction if they want to improve, and the fans will want to see some sort of improvement soon.

How It Will Play Out

The Royals are playing with MLB betting house money as they’re rated at +8000 to win the World Series, and +3300 to take the American League pennant, but they are listed at +900 in the Central, which puts them behind only the favorites from Detroit. They were brutal on the road last season at 31-50, and if they can improve on that by even a few games, that’ll make a huge difference in the standings.

However, the Royals need to sort out their pitching and hope that the bullpen holds up for a year because they won’t be able to get by with just their hitting. The future is bright in Kansas City, but they’re probably one more season away from being a legitimate sports betting contender.

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