1. Alex Gordon will have a 20/20 season.
After putting up 23/17 in 2011, I think 20/20 is fully within Gordo’s reach. Especially if he spends most of 2012 at the top of the order.
2. Jonathan Broxton will not finish the season in a Royals uniform.
A one-year free agent deal, coming off an injury riddled season, and pitching in the 7th/8th inning… All recipes for a former closer looking to re-establish his value. Title contenders with closer needs will be all over Broxton come the trade deadline. Now I’m not saying the Royals won’t be in contention though. This will be a crowded bullpen coming out of ST, and this trade will alleviate the roster a bit to give a chance to someone like Kelvin Herrera.
3. Mike Montgomery will make his big league debut before June.
This is probably the biggest guarantee of the predictions. Monty is the Royals’ top pitching prospect, going into his second season at Triple-A Omaha. The Royals rotation stayed remarkably healthy last season, so Mike never really got a shot to move up. Early season injuries or struggles by Paulino or Duffy will undoubtedly lead to his call-up.
4. Billy Butler will finally realize his power potential, hitting at least 25 HRs and driving in at least 100 runs.
Billy Butler and the enigma of the homerun… When a guy is deemed the full-time DH, you expect him to hit along the lines of .275/25/100. Billy will easily hit well over .275, just as he does every season. But he will finally eclipse the 25 HR/100 RBI mark. His power came to life in the second half of 2011, hitting 13 HR an driving in 57 RBI. He’ll continue that hotstreak in 2012.
5. Wil Myers will be a September call-up.
Wil Myers will be 2012’s Lorenzo Cain. He’ll perform very well in Omaha, as will the rest of the team. But the Royals major league OFers will keep him there until September where he’ll get a few AB’s here and there, priming questions of whether or not he’ll replace Frenchy in RF in 2013.
6. Joakim Soria will return to his old self.
He’s ditched the cutter, which he claims he tried to use way too much. Without that cutter, Jack should and will return to his old form as one of the top closers in the league.
7. Salvador Perez will contend for a Gold Glove.
Fresh off his new contract, Sal Perez will have an inspiring season. He’s always been known for his defense, and in his first full season in KC, he’ll show everyone why the Royals locked him up.
8. Lorenzo Cain will move into the leadoff spot at some point during the season.
Cain will start the season somewhere in the 7-8-9 slots in the lineup. But at some point in 2012, Ned Yost will decide that Gordon’s bat truly belongs in the middle of his order. Lorenzo, to me, is the only other logical option for that spot. He’s prototypical: hits for average and occasional power, can work a walk, and will steal 20 or so bases.
9. Ned Yost will be the AL Manager of the Year.
Just like he twice in Milwaukee (2005 and 2007), Ned Yost will win the AL Manager of the Year award. The Royals will be markedly better than they were in previous seasons, thus earning Ned the distinction.
10. The Royals will be in the Wild Card race through September.
Call me crazy, but I really do believe this one is going to happen. The Royals have a top 10 offense, defense, running game, and bullpen. All that’s missing from that list is the starting pitching. If the rotation can come through, there aren’t any reasons to believe KC can’t compete all the way through the season.
What say you, Royals Nation?