For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Salvador Perez - Age 21
First Base: Eric Hosmer - Age 22
Second Base: Johnny Giavotella - Age 24
Third Base: Mike Moustakas - Age 23
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar - Age 25
Left Field: Alex Gordon - Age 28
Center Field: Melky Cabrera - Age 27
Right Field: Jeff Francoeur - Age 28
Designated Hitter: Billy Butler - Age 26 (as of 4/18/12)
1. CF Cabrera 2. LF Gordon 3. DH Butler 4. 1B Hosmer 5. RF Francoeur 6. 3B Moustakas 7. C Perez 8. 2B Giavotella 9. SS Escobar
1. RHP Luke Hochevar - Age 28
2. RHP Felipe Paulino - Age 28
3. LHP Danny Duffy - Age 23
4. RHP Aaron Crow - Age 25
5. RHP Vin Mazzaro - Age 25
Closer: RHP Joakim Soria - Age 27
Some Quick Thoughts
- A very, very young lineup, but one that could be quite productive. Gordon broke out as a star-quality player in 2011. Butler or Hosmer could do the same in 2012, and either way they both project as above-average hitters. The Royals had a good offense in 2011, and they should have another good one in 2012.
- The outfield could get a little messy, as the team's ridiculously good 2011 outfield will likely be retained for next season and Lorenzo Cain is pounding on the door. The Royals probably should have just let Francoeur go, but now that he's re-signed they'll either have to trade Cabrera or stick Cain back in Triple-A or on the bench.
- Beyond the listed outfielders, the Royals also have Mitch Maier, Jarrod Dyson, David Lough, Derrick Robinson and Tim Smith in the upper minors. Don't be surprised if some teams target a few of the Royals outfielders at some point this winter.
- The rotation is going to stink. Hopefully they can get a breakout season or two from the likes of Duffy, Crow and the other young pitchers. The Royals are going to score runs. Unfortunately, they're probably going to give up a lot more than they score.
- Relief pitching may actually be a strength for the Royals, though. We all know about Soria, but Holland and Collins emerged as effective relievers this season, too. Toss in Herrera, one of the game's better relief prospects, and the Royals should be able to keep most of the leads that they build up. Don't expect a ton of them, though.