Up next for Jays: K.C. Royals

Luke Hochevar will get the start for the Royals on Friday as the Blue Jays visit Kansas City. (DAVE...

Luke Hochevar will get the start for the Royals on Friday as the Blue Jays visit Kansas City. (DAVE KAUP/Reuters file photo)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:24 PM ET

TORONTO - The Kansas City Royals have lost at least 90 games in seven of the last eight seasons. Failure like that is beneficial only at the draft table and the Royals have built a farm system among the best in baseball.

So far, it has not paid off in victories for the big league club but there’s no question that GM Dayton Moore has the franchise on the right track.

When Moore took over as GM in 2006, the sad-sack Royals had only six home-grown players on their 25-man roster. Six years later, the Royals roster is filled with young players who have been drafted, signed and developed in the system.

Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer were all selected with top five picks. Last year, the Royals selected Bubba Starling with the fifth overall pick and they’ve got another No. 5 pick in 2012.

There may not be a more promising young lineup in the American League than the one the Blue Jays will face this weekend. The key word in that statement is young. This is a team not quite ready for prime time but certainly one that will not see 90 losses again for quite some time.

Late in the 2011 season, Royals’ manager Ned Yost was routinely writing in the names of five rookies in the starting lineup. At times, the bullpen featured just two pitchers with more than a year of big league experience.

Waiting in the wings are potential stars Wil Myers, an outfielder expected to join Moustakas and Hosmer in the middle of the lineup, Nicaraguan third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and pitchers Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi.

Until then, the Royals will try to make do with a rotation that features veteran lefty Bruce Chen, Jonathan Sanchez, obtained from the Giants for Melky Cabrera, former No. 1 overall pick Hochevar, top prospect Danny Duffy and Luis Mendoza.

So far, in 2012, it’s been a disaster. The Royals come into this series against Toronto having lost seven in a row.

There is talent all over the diamond. Whether the small-market Royals can ever get to the point where they can compete with the rich Tigers in the Central Division will depend upon whether all that talent reaches its potential.

UP NEXT

Friday’s Pitcher

Hochevar throws two fastballs, a cutter, a curve, a slider, a change and a splitter. Everything works off his 92-94 mph two-seam fastball.

Blue Jays vs Royals

Friday, 8:10 p.m. RHP Kyle Drabek RHP Luke Hochevar

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. TBA RHP Luis Mendoza

Sunday, 2:10 p.m. LHP Ricky Romero LHP Danny Duffy

Monday, 8:10 p.m. RHP Brandon Morrow LHP Bruce Chen

Hot/Not

-DH Billy Butler is slugging .625 and has an OPS of 1.025 as the leader of the KC offence.

-3B Mike Moustakas and 1B Eric Hosmer are the future of the Royals but each is struggling. Moustakas has an OBP of .250, while Hosmer is at .259.

- After his breakout season, Alex Gordon is scuffling with a .149 batting average and an OPS of .479.

- Jonathan Sanchez, in 3 starts with his new club, has lasted just 13 innings and has an ERA of 6.39

- Veteran lefty Bruce Chen has tossed 18 innings in his three starts, with a 2.00 ERA and a .203 batting average against.

Fidlin’s Take

Since the start of the 2005 season, Toronto has won 28 of 50 games against Kansas City. Even though the Royals have been among the worst teams in the league, the Blue Jays have not had a winning record (9-11) against them over the last three years.

While they are off to a very poor start, this year’s edition of the Royals is probably KC’s most talented outfit in years as the many years of high draft choices starts to pay off at the big-league level. Alas for Kansas City, the talent is still young and prone to inconsistency.

Prediction

With Drabek, Romero and Morrow on the mound for Toronto, we’re thinking three wins out of four isn’t an outrageous expectation.


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