How Dayton Moore Affected the Royals MLB Betting Odds

Posted by Daniel Strum on Wednesday,September 9, 2015 12:08, EDT in

In 2014, the Kansas City Royals were the epitome of the Cinderella story for MLB betting fans. After 29 years without even getting close to qualifying for the postseason, they were still under .500 as July drew near to an end. Then they went on a 41-23 tear to grab the last wild card spot.

In that one-game play-in, they came back three different times to win. Then, they didn’t lose another game for three weeks, making it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series, just a swing of the bat away from becoming one of the greatest World Series championship stories of all time.

A Closer Look at How Dayton Moore Affected the Royals MLB Betting Odds

When the lights faded, no one thought the Royals would do that again in 2015. In the spring, 88 ESPN experts were asked to predict who would win each division. Of those 88, a whopping 3 picked them to win the American League Central. PECOTA, a computerized algorithmic projection system, predicted that the Royals would go 72-90 in 2015.

Of course, all that has been shown to be ridiculous. You can’t blame the prognosticators, though. The 2014 Royals team only won 89 games in the regular season, which wouldn’t have been enough to get them in the playoffs at all in 2013. Their run differential for the whole season was just +27. Also, their strong areas (their bullpen and defense) tend to erode more quickly than other skills. Players have their best defensive skills when they are younger, which means a roster that ages will lose its elite defensive skills. Relievers are like fireflies, often glowing brightly and then fading out quickly. So expecting them to fall back closer to average was not unreasonable.

Finally, three crucial members of that 2014 Royals team (James Shields, the team’s ace; Billy Butler, the DH; and Nori Aoki) had all departed via free agency, and their replacements (Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios) did not look to have the same quality. In the press, the Royals’ offseason was described as anything between average and awful. They had no upgrades at any position and had no prospects in the farm system ready to come in and dominate. So what business did the team have to feel any optimism?

Instead, these Royals have dominated the regular season to this point, with the American League’s best record. They started the year 7-0 and haven’t slowed down much. Their April record was 15-7, and they already had a +23 run differential, the largest run differential for any Royals team in one month since August 1980. What happened in 1980? They faced Philadelphia in the World Series.

They have a winning record for every month. They are 22-13 in one-run contests. They are 21-10 when the game is decided by at least five runs. They have winning records in interleague play and against each of the three American League divisions. They have led after the first inning 43 times, while only trailing after the first 25 times. In games that were tied at the end of the sixth inning, they are 11-2. Dayton Moore was the man who put this franchise back together, and this general manager stands ready to be proud deep in the playoffs this year again.