The Royals likely won’t be that good next season but that doesn’t mean the season can’t be a successful one. I’m going to give you some of my predictions for the 2020 season. They tend to be optimistic but none I believe are out of reach by any means. Enjoy!
1. Adalberto Mondesi has a breakout season.
Mondesi has all the potential in the world with his elite speed and good defense with solid power and contact ability he just has to stay healthy. I truly believe Mondesi can have a 20+ HR with 60 SB season. When he is on base he is always a threat but he strikes out far too much and basically refuses to walk. I believe his eye at the plate will improve with age. If Mondesi can have a .315+ OBP he could be a monster. His health has always been the thing questioned never his talent if he is on the field for at least 140 games I can see him opening up some eyes.
2. The outfield sees lots of change throughout the season.
This is no outfield position that is locked in for 2020, will Whit Merrifield be in centerfield almost every day and will Dozier play right most days? Not to mention Brett Phillips or Bubba Starling where will they play? Will Alex Gordon come back for one more season and if so what happens with Starling/Phillips. Later on, in the season, we will likely see speedster Nick Heath and even top prospect Khalil Lee. There are so many questions that will need to be answered during Spring Training. I have a feeling there will be lots of changes to this Royals outfield.
3. Former Florida Gators take over KC.
Brady Singer impressed in his 1st full season of pro ball with a 2.85 ERA between Wilmington (A+) and Northwest Arkansas (AA). His college roommate Jackson Kowar didn’t do too shabby either with a 3.52 ERA also between Wilmington (A+) and Northwest Arkansas (AA). Both are expected to make their MLB debuts sometime in 2020. Singer could even make the team out of Spring Training. A major part of next season will be young prospects debuting and I believe Kowar and Singer will bring some hope that KC hasn’t really had since 2015. I predict one will be in the top 5 for AL ROY. Particularly Singer whose bulldog mentality could really help the Royals.
4. Whit Merrifield gets traded at the deadline.
Whit Merrifield trade rumors have been swirling around baseball for the last couple years now, but the Royals have stayed put in their views that they will not trade him. Whit is a great player who I love to watch play but he needs to be traded for both sides benefit. Merrifield is a utility player that can hit and defend something every team covets. I think we could get quite a haul for him too. Teams like the Padres, Cubs, and Phillies have been listed as teams that could possibly trade for Merrifield. You can just tell that Whit does not like to lose it would be the best for the Royals to trade Merrifield to a contender that will give us the proper package. A move like this also helps accelerate the rebuild so it not like we’d be getting fleeced in a trade.
5. Jorge Soler gets extended.
Jorge Soler demolished the previous franchise record for HR’s set by Mike Moustakas in 2017. Soler hit 48 bombs and finally proved why GMDM traded Wade Davis for him. Soler struggled a bit with strikeouts but he makes up for that with his ability to draw walks at a good rate. Soler is arbitration-eligible this offseason and I have a hard time believing that the Royals aren’t looking to extend the slugger. A possible offer could look like a 5 year 55 million dollar extension. Will that number may be low I bet Soler would accept something in that range. That would take Soler through his age 32 season in 2025. Royals should be looking to do it now because if he has another monster season that number could skyrocket.
6. Jakob Junis gets moved to the bullpen.
There has been some talk within the organization about moving Jakob Junis. While I don’t think this move will be in place at the start of the season. I’d be willing to bet Junis starts off the season as a starter but as more and more prospects debut I see the Royals placing Junis in the bullpen. I believe he could be even better than Kennedy as a bullpen arm. I think that his slider would be absolutely deadly as a reliever. It could also help the Royals improve that horrid bullpen. If Junis starts off good as a starter he should definitely stay in the rotation but if he is average or below average it should be a no brainer to send Junis to the ‘pen.
7. We start seeing the future of the Royals bullpen.
During the Royals, deep playoffs run the bullpen was so dominant HDH days were some of my best memories. But in 2019 Royals bullpen was absolute atrocious they blew so many games and it was a revolving door of bad relievers last season. The Royals bullpen was the 2nd worst in the AL which isn’t ideal. There are some pieces there like Tim Hill and Ian Kennedy both names have been swirling around in trade talks recently. Scott Barlow looked dominant at times even striking out 6 batters in a row other times he was like every other bad Royals reliever. But future pieces like Daniel Tillo and Tyler Zuber will debut and help the bullpen improve. Richard Lovelady, Josh Staumont, and Kyle Zimmer will look to improve from their 2019 campaigns. Lovelady especially has lots of potential to become a good reliever. Both Chances Adams and Trevor Rosenthal have the ability to be solid relievers. Rosenthal saved 48 games in 2015 and will be united with Matheny who he had his best seasons under. Rule 5 pick Stephen Woods Jr. will also have the opportunity to prove himself. The Royals bullpen could really not be worse and I believe it will show signs of optimism in 2020.
8. Kyle Isbel starts knocking on the door to the majors.
Kyle Isbel is one of my favorite prospects that doesn’t get lots of love. In a recent Royals Farm Report podcast with Blue Rocks announcer, Cory Nidoh he said he believed that Isbel could have been in AA by May had he not gotten injured he was absolutely raking. But he struggled with a hamate bone and hamstring injuries. When he came back he struggled but wasn’t horrible. I believe Isbel will start out in AA and he was will mash then be promoted to AAA Omaha in late July. He will start showing that he should be considered a good prospect up with Khalil Lee and he will start knocking on the door to the majors. If he has a great season he could possibly be a Septemeber call-up. I’m definitely a big Kyle Isbel fan.
9. AA will be stacked with talent.
Last year NW Arkansas had Khalil Lee, Brady Singer, and Jackson Kowar. This upcoming season the rotation could look like Singer, Kowar, Lynch, Bubic, Bowlan that is an absolutely stacked rotation with the “worst” pitcher being #16 prospect Jonathan Bowlan who threw a no-hitter last year. Not to mention they will likely see Kyle Isbel, Brewer Hicklen, MJ Melendez, Nick Pratto, and even Seuly Matias. If all these players are on the same team around the same time it will be insanely lethal. Don’t forget about the ‘pen either that would feature Daniel Tillo, Tyler Zuber, Tad Ratliff, and Holden Capps. I doubt all these players will be on the Naturals at the same time due to promotions and injuries but seeing a team like this give me a lot more confidence in the talent in the upper level of the minors.
10. Royals fans will see A LOT of debuts.
The Royals had 13 players debut last season none of which were all that impressive. But in 2020 we will also see lots of debuts but this time those players that debut will be top prospects that will have a big effect on the team. We will likely see players like Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Khalil Lee, and Nick Heath among others. Other than Nicky Lopez no real exciting prospects debuted like I said things will be different this season. We will start seeing players like Tyler Zuber and Daniel Tillo. As well as the small players like a Humberto Arteaga from this past season. It will definitely get to see some future pieces debut and progress. We may even see more debuts in 2021 but this is a prediction for 2020 article.
Coming up, Mondesi was highly regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball. At just 20 years old, he got the nod to make his MLB debut in the 2015 World Series. In 2016, he underperformed hitting just .185 with a .231 OBP in ... Read more
Jorge Soler gets a new deal. Today slugger Jorge Soler signed a 1-year 7.3 million to avoid arbitration. This deal also includes a $50K bonus for the All-Star game and a $100K bonus for a Hank Aaron award. Soler was originally going to get $4 ... Read more