Following their successful series against the Padres in San Diego, the Blue Jays continue their road trip as they head to the City of Fountains for a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals.

The Royals have made an impressive start to the season with a record of 13-9, highlighting their strong performance, especially evident in their second-best run differential in the Majors (+38). Under the guidance of second-year manager Matt Quatraro, the Royals currently sit in second place in the AL Central, trailing the Cleveland Guardians by three games. Notably, the Royals have demonstrated their strength at Kauffman Stadium, boasting the best home winning percentage in the Major Leagues with a record of 9-4 (.692%).

As the series approaches, it’s essential to analyze what has contributed to the Royals’ success this season and assess the Blue Jays’ chances of securing a series victory.

Starting Pitching

The Royals currently boast the third-best ERA among starting pitchers in Major League Baseball, standing at 2.94. This marks a significant improvement from their 27th-ranked performance in 2023, where they had an ERA of 5.12. A notable development for the team is the emergence of Brady Singer. Despite facing inconsistency in his first four Major League seasons, Singer has showcased impressive form this year with a 1.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP through four starts, positioning himself as a leader in the pitching staff and potentially becoming the team’s ace. Alec Marsh, though not widely recognized as a top prospect, has provided further support as a homegrown talent, particularly in the later stages of the rotation.

The addition of veteran pitchers Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo via free agency has also bolstered the rotation. Lugo, in particular, ranks second on the team with a 2.03 ERA. However, it’s worth noting that his success might be partly attributed to favorable luck, as indicated by his relatively low strikeout count of 14 batters in 31.0 innings. Surprisingly, the pitcher previously considered a dark horse candidate for the Cy Young award has struggled the most among the team’s starters. Cole Ragans has displayed impressive pitching prowess at times this season, evident in his 33 strikeouts in 25.0 innings. However, he has endured more challenges compared to his counterparts, reflected in his 4.32 ERA and 1.48 WHIP so far. It’s anticipated that Ragans’ performance will improve as the season progresses, while pitchers like Lugo and Marsh may experience regression from their outstanding early-season statistics.


The Royals find themselves in the middle tier of bullpen ERA rankings, with their 3.63 mark placing them 12th in the Majors. Right-hander John Schreiber has emerged as a pivotal figure, boasting an impressive 0.90 ERA alongside a 1.00 WHIP. He has been relied upon heavily, leading the team with 11 appearances and 10.0 innings pitched. Angel Zerpa has proven to be a standout left-handed option, maintaining a 1.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 10 appearances. However, one disappointment in the bullpen has been the performance of free agent acquisition Will Smith, a three-time World Series champion, who has struggled with a 12.38 ERA in 9 appearances. James McArthur has been entrusted with closing out games, successfully converting 4 out of 5 save opportunities thus far.


The Royals’ offense has been steady, if not particularly dazzling, ranking 12th in team OPS across Major League Baseball. Notably, they have excelled in baserunning, ranking 5th in stolen base success rate (85%, 22 for 26). Leading the charge for Kansas City is veteran catcher Salvador Perez, who is experiencing a resurgence season with a .985 OPS over 21 games. Perez aims to replicate his remarkable 2021 campaign, during which he smashed 48 home runs, a significant increase from his previous best of 27.

Additionally, Bobby Witt continues to shine as one of baseball’s rising stars, boasting a .929 OPS with 4 home runs and 4 stolen bases. Another standout performer for the Royals is first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who maintains a .883 OPS and an impressive ratio of walks to strikeouts (13 to 7). Beyond Perez, Witt, and Pasquantino, the Royals have seen mostly average to below-average offensive production from the rest of their lineup.

Final Assessment of the Royals

Despite enduring seven consecutive losing seasons, including three with over 100 losses, the Royals appear to have established themselves as contenders this year. While it’s improbable that they will maintain the second-best run differential in the league, they stand a good chance of remaining in the mix for the AL Central title. This likelihood increases if they receive additional contributions from their offensive players and more consistent pitching from left-hander Cole Ragans. The upcoming series against the Blue Jays may prove challenging, with a 2-2 series split appearing to be the most probable outcome.