The Baker Orange

Kansas City Royals’ farm teams bring hope

Story by Chris Duderstadt

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While March Madness is the focus of the sports world right now, it seems hard to believe the Major League Baseball season starts Thursday.

My favorite team, the Kansas City Royals, is predicted to have yet another losing season. That is not anything new to me, or any other Royals fan. With a starting rotation of Luke Hochevar, Jeff Francis, Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen and Vin Mazzaro, this season could be another one with 100 losses, or more.

One very encouraging sign, though, is that, as of Wednesday, the Royals had the third best spring training record in the American League at 14-10. The team’s record in spring training won’t likely reflect how it will do this season, but it does shed light for how good the Royals could be in a few years.

A number of the players who are performing well in spring training will be sent to Double-A or Triple-A, and will likely not play in the majors until September, when teams can expand their rosters to 40 players.

Many fans will be frustrated when star prospects like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Aaron Crow, Mike Montgomery and others are lighting up the minor leagues this season and not being called up to the majors.

What fans must realize is that once the players are called up, their time of big league service begins, regardless of if they are sent back and forth to the minors. Once a player has completed five years of major league service, he becomes a free agent. Those prospects will put up much bigger numbers five years from now, as opposed to if they play right away.

The Royals have had top-rated prospects before that have turned out to be complete busts, but several young players in their farm system right now seem like they can become very good major league players.

I sincerely hope that many of them will be good enough to put the Royals in playoff contention a few years from now, even though the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or any other high-market team will probably throw everything but the kitchen sink to acquire them.

If the Royals are going to have any chance at competing this year, they will have to take advantage of playing 41 of their first 63 games at home.

Regardless of how the team plays, it is fun to go out to the “K” on T-shirt Tuesday, Buck Night, College Night or Fireworks Friday. It probably won’t be a pretty season, but anything can happen, and the future is bright.