Mike Moustakas is just one bat in the Royals lineup that will need to have a big season. (Image Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

2013 MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals

For all of the fan bases that have dealt with perpetual suffering, few seem to give credit to those faithful to the Kansas City Royals. The organization’s last postseason berth came back in 1985. They’ve been under .500 for the past decade. All around, 2012 wasn’t a bad season. The organization started to see the emergence of some of their younger stars – including Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, and Billy Butler. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas both struggled, but the team’s offense was strong enough to make up for an inconsistent pitching staff. The Royals finished the season at 72-90, good enough for 3rd place in the AL Central, but still well behind the division leaders.

With the start of the 2013 Regular Season upon us, it seemed like the ideal time to check in with each of our team sites here at FanSided MLB and check out what our experts have to say on the upcoming season. Let’s check in with Senior Editor Michael Engel of Kings of Kauffman, and see what he had to say about the team’s best and worst case scenarios, as well as what’s most likely to happen.

Best Case Scenario

James Shields pitches like the ace the Royals felt he was when they traded Wil Myers. Meanwhile, the rest of the rotation is strong and healthy. Eric Hosmer rebounds from a sophomore slump and Mike Moustakas stays hot all year. Add similar production from Billy Butler and Alex Gordon and 2013 could be very interesting.

Worst Case Scenario

Shields is hurt or looks like his 2010 season. Hosmer continues to struggle. Injuries jump up and finally hit Butler or resurface as problems for Salvador Perez or Gordon.

Most Likely to Happen

Shields should be good enough, but one or more of the others in the rotation don’t pull their weight. The Royals get some help from the offense, but Hosmer still isn’t quite the phenom many expected. The Royals look better, probably even break .500, but are still a year or two away.

Suddenly KC has become the fashionable choice to pick when it comes to bold predictions for the upcoming season (just ask some of the writers at FOX Sports), but there are still questions that the Royals will need to overcome before they can truly be viewed as a competitor within the division. Hosmer and Moustakas need to bounce back at the plate. Perez needs to remain healthy. Gordon, Escobar, and the rest of the lineup will need to contribute as well. The pressure, and attention, will be on how the pitching staff improves as that could be the next step in getting this team back to the postseason. Big Game James Shields is going to carry a great deal of the pressure for this staff, something he’s never truly done solo before. New addition Ervin Santana will need to put up good numbers, as well. One step towards preventing Luke Hochevar from imploding in the rotation has been secured, as he’s been pushed to the bullpen, but there’s no telling whether that move is a solution or simple procrastination of the inevitable.

Kansas City could surprise and stick in the fight in 2013, but they likely don’t have enough in place just yet to overtake some of their divisional heavyweights. Don’t forget to keep up with all things Royals throughout the season over at Kings of Kauffman.

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