Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Royals have been the best team in baseball for a while now

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Johnny Cueto shut out the Detroit Tigers in his most recent start. The Royals are banking on Cueto being a Game 1 starter in the postseason.
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Johnny Cueto shut out the Detroit Tigers in his most recent start. The Royals are banking on Cueto being a Game 1 starter in the postseason. AP

On July 23 of last season, the Kansas City Royals were plodding along at 50-50. Their fans were growing restless and relatively few of them were showing up at Kauffman Stadium.

Another season’s promise was spinning its wheels and the Royals appeared destined to miss another postseason.

Then somebody dropped a match in a gas tank.

Nothing has been the same since. The Royals, of course, went on the win an American League wild card playoff spot and proceeded to zip through the playoffs, winning their first eight games before finally being stopped by the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series with the tying run at third base.

And Kansas City has picked up where it left off, playing the best baseball in the American League for most of the 2015 season. This team jelled behind great defense, timely hitting and a lock-down bullpen.

If anything, the Royals are better than the team that blitzed Oakland, the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore in the AL playoffs last season. Their hitting has been more consistent and trade-deadline acquisitions Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist have filled the holes the Royals might have had.

Since July 23, 2014, Kansas City has the best record in baseball, just ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Royals look like the team to beat in the American League, although that club in Toronto is making some folks nervous.

It’s interesting to see how other teams in MLB have fared since July 23 of last season, especially those who are battling the Royals in the American League Central. Here’s a ranking of the 30 teams from best to worst, including the 2014 postseason.

1. Kansas City Royals 118-71 .624

2. St. Louis Cardinals 110-69 .615

3. Los Angeles Dodgers 102-74 .580

4. Pittsburgh Pirates 99-73 .576

5. Washington Nationals 100-79 .559

6. Baltimore Orioles 101-80 .558

7. Los Angeles Angels 97-80 .548

8. Chicago Cubs 95-79 .546

9. New York Yankees 93-80 .538

10. San Francisco Giants 98-86 .533

11. Toronto Blue Jays 92-82 .529

11. New York Mets 92-82 .529

13. Houston Astros 89-86 .509

14. Cleveland Indians 86-86 .500

15. Seattle Mariners 87-88 .497

16. San Diego Padres 87-89 .494

17. Tampa Bay Rays 85-88 .491

18. Detroit Tigers 88-92 .489

19. Texas Rangers 82-90 .477

20. Minnesota Twins 80-94 .460

21. Chicago White Sox 78-93 .456

22. Arizona Diamondbacks 76-96 .442

23. Oakland Athetlics 77-100 .435

24. Atlanta Braves 75-99 .431

25. Cincinnati Reds 74-98 .430

26. Miami Marlins 75-100 .429

26. Philadelphia Phillies 75-100 .429

28. Boston Red Sox 74-100 .425

29. Colorado Rockies 72-99 .421

30. Milwaukee Brewers 73-101 .420

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