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2023 MLB season preview: AL Central

5. Kansas City Royals

The Royals’ 2015 World Series title feels like ages ago, as the team has been in the cellar of the AL Central since 2018. While Kansas City still is in rebuild mode, it has some nice pieces to work around. The Royals also brought in some notable names this offseason, including pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Jordan Lyles, as well as outfielders Franmil Reyes and Jackie Bradley Jr.

The latter two players will provide depth to a lineup that features Bobby Witt Jr., who had a 20-home run, 30-stolen base season in his rookie year, and first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who had a solid second half of the year after being promoted from the minors. MJ Melendez was also a good bat for the Royals last year, and the team returns longtime fan-favorite catcher Salvador Perez.

While the lineup could quietly be good, it’s the pitching staff that might do Kansas City in. Zack Greinke being back in Kansas City has been a nice story, but the 39-year-old isn’t close to what he once was. Lyles figures to slot into one of the top spots in the rotation, which will also include some lesser-known names like Brady Singer, Ryan Yarbrough and Brad Keller. The Royals’ bullpen may also be a weakness, though the addition of Chapman is intriguing.

J.J. Picollo will have his hands full as he begins his first full season as President of Baseball Operations for the Royals. A 70-win season feels like it’ll be a win for this team, and does feel realistic with the young talent Kansas City has in place.

Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City Royals AL Central MLB 2023 season preview
Bobby Witt Jr. will look to build on a strong rookie season in 2023. (Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
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