After winning their first World Series in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals went into spring training at +1400 to defend their title. Are they a bargain? We’ll get a sense of what’s in store for 2016 when the Royals “host” the Arizona Diamondbacks this Friday (3:05 PM ET) in Cactus League play.
The Royals (4-6 preseason) bring back most of their top position players and relief pitchers from last year, but the starting rotation is suspect with Jason Vargas on the shelf following Tommy John surgery, and Johnny Cueto defecting to the San Francisco Giants. Their farm system is also depleted after back-to-back runs at the World Series; that shouldn’t be too problematic during the regular season, but it limits what the Royals can do this spring.
Arizona (5-3 preseason, +2500 to win the title) upgraded its rotation by adding Zach Greinke and Shelby Miller, and Patrick Corbin should be back to 100% this year after his own recovery from Tommy John surgery. The Snakes have a strong batting order, but their mediocre bullpen could cap their progress, and the farm system is also suspect. There should still be plenty of betting value in the desert this year.