Warning: tons of unbridled optimism and possibly irrational enthusiasm follows.
By "popular demand," I mean one person -- reader Matt asked to see some predictions, and he also called me the Royals' number one female blogger, so here I am. At times, I feel like I just want to be a regular fan and watch the games to figure out how 2008 will go, but this is much more fun.
Team predictions - individual player predictions will come in Part II:
I think that, when a ballclub is in a rebuilding phase, it's only realistic to expect a 4-5 game improvement over the previous season's W-L record, so the safe prediction to make would be 74-88. But I don't want to be safe. This is my blog, so I can make wild predictions if I want to.
With the addition of Trey Hillman, and all the other things you've already read 100 times this off-season, I don't see why the Royals can't have a bit of a runaway season. I'm not saying they'll contend, but I'm saying I'd be disgusted with another last-place finish, and not entirely surprised with a 3rd place finish.
(Side note: Wooo! The Huskers just beat Oklahoma thanks to a walk-off home run by Craig Corriston. Incidentally, I just learned in this post of Rany's that the phrase "walk-off" was popularized because of the Royals.)
So if I want a 3rd-place finish, I suppose the Royals would have to win about 80 games, so I'll go with 80-82 as my official prediction.
----****A lot of time elapsed here, when the rest of my family arrived, and we had supper, basketball, church, and Wii time. I'm back.****-----
Well, I have officially drunk the Trey Hillman Kool-Aid. (That happened the day he was hired. It was delicious.) Well, that, and I am a fan of OBP anyway, and not at all a member of the "Home runs or bust!" mentality shared by a lot of other young fans. I dig long at-bats, and can sit patiently while Tony Pena, Jr. draws a walk. Okay, make that...I could sit patiently if that happened. I'm going to look for a team OBP of around .340.
Yuck, I don't want to do this in the slightest. I can't imagine it changing too much from last year, given all the questions surrounding our 4-5 spots and what will happen to the bullpen vacancies created by Riske's departure and Greinke's return to the rotation. As a staff, KC put up a 4.48 ERA last year, and while I hope it doesn't go up, I can't see it going too far down. Let's go with a 4.40.
Complete games thrown by KC pitchers: Four.
Different pitchers used in the 4-5 slots: Eleven
Number of lineups used: 123
Representative in the All-Star Game: Billy Butler and/or Zack Greinke. Why not two?
Better at home or away: Home, but not by much
Better before or after the Break: After
Number of former Royals pitchers to earn wins or saves against KC: Five? (Ed. note to self: What the heck kind of question was that?)
I'm preemptively labeling this post "eating my words," because I pulled a lot of it out of thin air, and everything I've ever guessed is wrong (see: Madness, March. More awful predictions coming...soon. Expect some starry-eyed projections for B&OT favorite Brian MANnister, and at what dates I think certain Omahans will be called up. Also probably something about Matt Wright, just because I can.
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