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12. Kansas City Royals
The loss of James Shields actually won’t hurt the Royals as much as some might think. Yordano Ventura has the potential to be an All-Star, maybe even an ace. That’s not to mention this kid is still only 23 years old. Behind him the Royals have 26-year-old, quietly reliable Danny Duffy, and then a nice veteran core in Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and newcomer Edinson Volquez. Admittedly all three of those guys are on the wrong side of 30, and while 21-year-old Brandon Finnegan did a fantastic job in the postseason, and he is seen as a starter long-term, another year in the bullpen is probably what he needs, although if any of the vets struggle mightily, Finnegan may be called upon to step up. Norichika Aoki isn’t a huge loss, and Alex Rios is on the same level as Aoki at this point, maybe even a little bit of an upgrade, but it will be interesting to see if Kendrys Morales will be able to produce the same as Billy Butler did. A injury-free season from Eric Hosmer would certainly help the Royals case too.