How the Diamondbacks Are Similar to the Royals


Led by Paul Goldschmidt, the core of the D’backs is similar to that of the Royals. Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The two teams couldn’t be more opposite at this point. The Arizona Diamondbacks finished with the worst record in baseball. The Kansas City Royals will be playing for a chance to go to the World Series. Yet, there is a similarity between these two franchises, one that D’back fans should take heart in because with new management on board, the Snakes should not have to go 29 years between playoff appearances like Kansas City.

First, let’s get the big difference out of the way. The D’backs’ pitching staff can not compare to that of the Royals. Sure, there are some high-powered arms on the Major League level in Arizona such as Evan Marshall and Matt Stites and in the Minors with Jake Barrett, Archie Bradley, Aaron Blair and Braden Shipley. However, Kansas City has those pitchers already in the Majors and making huge contributions, from starters such as Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura and relievers Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis (acquired in a trade with the Rays). The D’backs have a long way to go in order to compare themselves to the Royals’ pitching staff.

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What the two teams have in common is the core of their everyday lineups. I have heard the names Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez as top Kansas City prospects for a long time. These are all guys who came up through the team’s Minor League system. All of them are under 30. Look at a potential lineup Arizona puts on the field in 2015. If you assume the starting outfield is Ender Inciarte, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta, infield is Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and Jake Lamb with Miguel Montero at catcher, every single position player (with the exception of Gregorius) came up through the system. All of these players are under 30. Even Mark Trumbo, though acquired in a trade and probably not going anwhere, is under 30. The core of both teams is young and figures to be productive for a number of years.

On a smaller scale, both teams have speed. The Royals have burners for sure, which have been on full display this postseason. However, the D’backs are no slouches in the running game, either. At least seven position players on the Snakes are good for between 12-15 stolen bases per season. Even Goldschmit, whom most people don’t look at as a base-stealing threat, has swiped as many as 18 in a season. Perhaps the new manager of the team will send runners more often.

Do these similarities mean that the D’backs will immediately become the National League version of the Royals? It’s highly doubtful in 2015, mainly because the arms won’t be there yet. However, with a little more patience from the fan base, they will see a team next season sow the foundation of good things to come, much like what Kansas City did in from 2012 to 2013.