2015 AL Central Preview: Kansas City Royals

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2015 Projected lineup

Mar 27, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain (6) at bat during a spring training game against the Seattle Mariners at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
C Salvador Perez
DH Kendrys Morales
RF Alex Rios
3B Mike Moustakas
2B Omar Infante

When Alcides Escobar was inserted into the leadoff spot towards the end of the season, everything fell into place for the Royals.

Escobar, Aoki, Cain and Gordon combined to steal 88 bases and when the speedy Jarrod Dyson came in for pinch run situations the Royals got another 36 steals. During the postseason, the world took notice of just how dangerous the speed of the Royals can be as everyone in the world knew when they were running and they did it anyway with success.

The weakness of their offense was a lack of pop. No player on the team hit 20 home runs and only Gordon (19), Salvador Perez (17) and Mike Moustakas (15) hit double digits. It shouldn’t be expected for their totals to increase but where the Royals need power production is from Eric Hosmer.

As a rookie, Hosmer hit 19 homers in 128 games and the belief around baseball was that in a full season, that number would only go up. Instead he has never reached that amount again and was only able to muster nine last season.

The two new bats in the lineup in Kendrys Morals and Alex Rios have had reputations for power in the past. However, Morales is coming off of his worst season as a pro (.218 average with eight homers) and while Rios is still a solid hitter, he hit just four home runs last season.

Next: Royals: Projected Rotation has new look