We’re on the eve of the season, and while most prognosticators have the Royals winning 70-74 games, with a plucky young team they could surprise people. Our writers have already given their predictions on where teams may finish, but what about individual performances?
Sportsbetting.ag has over 1,000 prop bets for individual player statistics this season. Let’s see what they think about some Royals players.
Whit Merrifield over or under on 16.5 home runs
Whit isn’t a power hitter, but he can muscle one out now and then. He hit 19 home runs in his first full season in 2017, fell back to 12 in 2018, then hit 16 in 2019. Last year he was on a pace to hit a career-high 24 had they played a full season.
There is also an over/under that seems like easy money – will Whit have a .279 batting average? His career low is .283, and he’s a lifetime .295 hitter, seems fairly likely he’ll go over .279.
Adalberto Mondesi over or under on 49.5 stolen bases
Nobody in baseball has stolen as many as 50 bases since 2017, so Mondesi would be bucking the trend by going for 50 this year. His career per-162 games average is 59, but the big challenge is keeping him on the field for a full season.
Jorge Soler over or under on 87 RBI
RBI are still a thing! Soler hit 117 in 2019, and should have more opportunities to drive runners home if he has guys like Andrew Benintendi and Carlos Santana hitting in front of him. Again, this seems like a question of health – can Soler stay on the field? He has been pretty healthy the last two seasons, but he hit the Injured List a lot early in his career. If he is reasonably healthy, he seems like a good bet to hit this mark.
Salvador Perez over or under on 25.5 home runs
Catchers aren’t supposed to hit well after Tommy John surgery, and they definitely aren’t supposed to have career seasons and win the Silver Slugger Award like Salvy did in 2020. Salvy smacked 11 home runs in just 37 games, and hit 27 home runs in each of the two seasons before his injury, so by those trendlines, he seems like a decent bet to top 25 homers. Still, he is 30 years old now and you never know quite how the new “deadened ball” will react.
Brady Singer over or under on 8 wins
Pitcher wins are still a thing! Singer won four games in just 12 starts last year. We don’t know exactly how the Royals will handle pitchers coming off a shortened season like this, and they have talked about a six-man rotation, but Mike Matheny has also talked about not pampering his pitchers, and having them ready to log a lot of innings. So a young pitcher like Singer could get a decent amount of innings, which presents a lot of opportunities for wins. But can the offense score enough runs? Can the bullpen hold his leads?
Mike Minor over or under on 153.5 strikeouts
Mike Minor doesn’t bring big-time velocity, but he is pretty good at missing bats. In 2019, he struck out 200 hitters (although he needed some shenanigans to reach that number), good for tenth in the American League. But again, we don’t know how many innings pitchers will get this year, and a 33-year old with a history of injuries like Minor may not be a good bet to go over, despite his strikeout track record.
Greg Holland over or under on 18.5 saves
Matheny hasn’t really tabbed an official closer, and he may not have a set ninth inning guy this year. He seemed to mix and match guys based on the hot hand and matchups last year. Greg Holland has 151 career saves with the Royals, including six last year, but it is not clear how many ninth inning opportunities he’ll get. Expect Josh Staumont, Kyle Zimmer, Jesse Hahn, and Scott Barlow to also get some save opportunities this season.