2015 AL Central Preview: Kansas City Royals

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Oct 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon hits a single and advances to third on an error against the San Francisco Giants in the 9th inning during game seven of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Southside Showdown will be previewing each team of the AL Central this week, before the start of the 2015 MLB season. The third preview of this series will be the Kansas City Royals.

Last season: 89-73, 2nd in the AL Central (Wild Card, AL Champions)

Notable players lost: SP James Shields, OF Nori Aoki, DH Billy Butler

Notable players added: OF Alex Rios, 1B Kendrys Morales, SP Edinson Volquez, SP Kris Medlin, SP Chris Young

The Kansas City Royals were the surprise team of 2014 making the playoffs as a Wild Card and reaching the World Series as the American League champions. Their formula to do so was speed on the bases and in the field and a lights out bullpen.

This season if they want to return to the postseason, they will have to do so without their ace, James Shields and key lineup cogs, Billy Butler and Nori Aoki.

General manager Dayton Moore did what he could on a limited budget to replace those three players, but their success in 2015 will be more about their cornerstone players improving and less about what their new acquisitions bring to the table.

Here is a closer look at the Royals for the upcoming 2015 season.

Next: Royals: 2015 Projected Lineup