Well we've got 18 days left until Opening Day, which means it's season preview time. We'll be running it down team by team, with an added new wrinkle this time around: the beer of choice for fans of the team to enjoy whilst watching their team take the field! Nothing like that to help get you through a baseball season, especially if you're from Pittsburgh. Up next: the Kansas City Royals.
Lineup: Billy Butler and average-to-poor hitters. Not a catchy band name, and not a good recipe for an MLB lineup, either. Alex Gordon might still have some talent that he's not shown, Alberto Callaspo might have decent OBP for a second baseman and David DeJesus could be worse, but there is nothing here after that. NL pitchers figured out Rick Ankiel to the tune of a sub-.300 OBP. Jason Kendall hasn't been a viable catcher since 2004. Scott Podsednik had a fluky 2009 that saw him post a career-high OBP, but we doubt that he repeats it. Josh Fields has shown nothing in his time in the majors, and Yuniesky Betancourt is, literally, the worst hitter (non-pitching category, though we'd take Micah Owings, Dontrelle Willis, and Carlos Zambrano over him in a heartbeat) in baseball. Good times!
Rotation: Zack Greinke is probably the odds-on favorite to repeat the AL Cy Young because of how utterly dominant he was last season. After that, you have what's left of Gil Meche after arm and back injuries, the no-strikeout-plenty-walk Kyle Davies, the wildly inconsistent Luke Hochevar, and sabersphere fave Brian Bannister - preferred more for his approach than his actual results. On the bright side, they might make Kyle Farnsworth a starter, which is reason enough for us to buy MLB.tv right there. Because we like making fun of Kyle Farnsworth.
Bullpen: There are two good arms here. Well, one great one and one very good one, to be fair. Joakim Soria - the Mexicutioner - is one of the best in baseball at what he does, and Juan Cruz can miss bats with the best of them. Beyond that...detritus. Phil Humber was a prospect for the Mets once upon a time, but he's not even a sure bet to break camp. Who else would you trust to throw plenty of innings here, Matt Herges? Roman Colon? Bryan Bullington? Josh Rupe? The corpse of Jorge Campillo? No thanks.
Overall: The bright spots - Billy Butler, Zack Greinke, maybe Alex Gordon and David DeJesus, plus prospects Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas - are definitely pieces to build around...but Dayton Moore has surrounded this fondation with trash. They can't hit, they can't field, they can't pitch, they can't run bases...but they sure can finish in last place!
Predicted Record: 62-100, 5th place AL Central
Beer: Negra Modelo. A dunkel, the dark-yet-caramel flavor pairs nicely with barbecue. And considering the state of the Royals, it may be best to watch them over a plate of KC BBQ at a bar than in person. That way you get some enjoyment out of it. Except on days when Kyle Farnsworth is pitching. Get bleacher seats for those fiestas!