Thanks to some sublime baseball in the fall of 2015, the Kansas City Royals were able to capture their second World Series in franchise history (and first since 1985) by defeating the New York Mets in five games.
Many baseball bettors will wonder if there is any real value in backing the Royals to win the 2016 World Series. Well, they are presently +1400 at online shop Sportsbook so that seems to be a pretty decent price for the defending champs. At the beginning of March last season, the Royals could be had at +2800 in World Series futures, but as we all know, repeating is rare.
Not since the turn-of-the-century New York Yankees has a team repeated as World Series Champions (Jeter and Co. won three straight from 1998-2000) so the Royals have that going against them.
The roster has undergone a bit of a change. Gone are Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. In is, well, Ian Kennedy, but not much else.
The lineup basically remains the same; only Alex Rios gets replaced in the outfield (by one of Jarrod Dyson or Paulo Orlando, probably) and, of course, the aforementioned Zobrist. That opens the door for Omar Infante, he of the .220/.234/.552 slash line last season, to move into the second base role. That said, the lineup is peppered with contact hitters up and down the order such as Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, et al.
While the bullpen remains a dominant force, the starting rotation could be a point of concern in K.C. They didn’t quite fill the void that Cueto leaves, though Kennedy did post good numbers in 2014 and many expect a bounce-back season from him following a rough 2015, and the backend (Duffy, Young) leaves a little to be desired.
The Royals may even be a tough sell to win the American League Central. They are presently tabbed as +110 favorites, but there is plenty of good value in the Cleveland Indians (+250), Detroit Tigers (+400) and Chicago White Sox (+600) behind them. Repeating as Central champs has been a popular trend, however, as the Twins repeated in 2009 and 2010 and the Tigers won four-straight crowns from 2011 through 2014, so it is certainly not an uncommon trend if you are considering them in DIvision Futures markets.
Following a 95-win season in 2015, the Royals are tabbed with 85.5 wins this season. That’s a mark they have topped in each of the previous three campaigns following their 72-win season in 2012.
The Royals were the best money team in the game last season - both at home and on the road - but maybe, in the wake of their World Series win and some potentially inflated lines as a byproduct, they could be a fade candidate in 2016.
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|American League Pennant||+600|
|American League Central||+160|
Odds as of April 1 at Sportsbook