The Totally Official 2013 DKTM Royals Over-Under Challenge
The Kansas City Star
SURPRISE, Ariz. — We’re all guessing, of course. That’s part of the fun of sports. This guy’s going to break out, that other guy will fade, and that third guy’s gonna get hurt. Throw it all together and we come up with a prediction.
You shouldn’t care, but my Royals’ prediction has been all over the map the last few months. After the Shields trade, I thought 84 or 85 wins.
Then I thought more about it, Hosmer’s struggles last year, Francoeur without a safety net in right, Lorenzo Cain’s injury history, really only two position players — Gordon and Butler — you could be reasonably sure on. James Shields is the Royals’ best pitcher since Greinke, but other teams have good starters too, and Ervin Santana was terrible last year and just turned 30. The Royals were 10th in runs and 12th in ERA last year. Gross. All of a sudden, the Vegas number of 79 looked optimistic. I was down to 77 or 78.
Then I came down here, twice now, and saw that the list of things the Royals need to be over .500 just aren’t big reaches: career average years from their starting pitchers, the bullpen to be what most expect, Hosmer and Francoeur not to be as bad as they were last year, and normal progressions from most everyone else. I also have a sports writer friend who says, “Never underestimate how (crappy) the other team is.” What he means is, the more you watch a particular team the more that team’s specific flaws can jump out at you. But there are no perfect teams, and the Royals have a lot — youth, talent, athleticism — going for them. So now I’m back to expecting them above .500.
Anyway, I bring all this up because it’s time again for the annual Royals Over-Under Challenge.
We’re doing it a little different this year. Last year, a wonderful reader named Drew volunteered to do the legwork so we kept the entries to 100. This year, another wonderful reader named Grant built a website that can handle many more.
You’ll have to log on through Facebook, and the website can be found here.
The rules are roughly the same as always, so quick review:
at least for our purposes, over and under is literal. So with James Shields’ ERA, for instance, “under” means you think his ERA will be less than 3.62, and that Mike Moustakas will hit 22 or fewer home runs.
the attendance will be used as the tiebreaker, if needed, and this isn’t Price Is Right, so you can go over. Closest wins.
all disputes (even my own mistakes) will be settled by me. Good thing is, I’m not an a-hole. Not usually, anyway.
deadline for entries is set at 3 p.m. on April 1, so just before first pitch on Opening Day.
winner gets a gift card to Oklahoma Joe’s or, if they are communist, a different restaurant of their choice.
There are a few twists in the categories, but here they are:
Games within first place: 12.5
Mike Moustakas home runs: 22.5
Royals selected as All Stars: 1.5
James Shields ERA: 3.62
Lorenzo Cain starts: 110
Eric Hosmer OPS: .790
Everett Teaford, Nate Adcock, and Louis Coleman combined trips between Kansas City and Omaha: 5.5
Alex Gordon doubles + outfield assists: 59.5
Sal Perez pickoffs + caught stealing: 34.5
Jeff Francoeur OBP: .310
Billy Butler extra-base hits: 63.5
Yordano Ventura innings: 0.5
Ned Yost ejections: 2.5
Danny Duffy starts: 6.5
Ervin Santana home runs surrendered: 28.5
Wil Myers home runs (in the majors): 17.5
AL rank in runs scored: 8.5
AL rank in ERA: 7.5
Tiebreaker: attendance. If it helps, last year’s total was 1,739,859.