Houston Astros: Which AL Contenders Most Improved Team?

6 of 8

#3 Kansas City Royals

Jul 31, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; (Editors note: Caption correction) Kansas City Royals pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) throws a pitch during the first inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports


Johnny Cueto: 7-6/ 2.70 ERA/ 127 SO in 136 2/3 innings

Ben Zobrist: .272/ 9 HR/ 39 RBI

The Royals strength of the team is its bullpen, not it’s starting rotation. The ace of the staff was supposed to be Yordano Ventura, but his season has gone so back that he was demoted and then recalled when Jason Vargas was set to have Tommy John. They basically traded Joe Blanton away for nothing. They did not have an ace on the team, no matter how good they were. They also could use some more help at second base, with the almost All-Star Omar Infante struggling for the season.

More from Astros News

Trading the haul they did for Cueto was necessary to make it back to the World Series again in 2015. That was all the team was lacking was a true ace, which Cueto matches the criteria for an ace. Could they have won without him? Imagine what Madison Bumgarner did in the playoff last year for the Giants, that is the type of impact that Cueto could have. Zobrist is the type of guy you like on your team because he can fill in at any position.

Fangraphs Playoff Projections

July 28th before the first trade: 99.1% chance of making the playoffs.

August 1st after the trade:  98.8% chance of making the playoffs.

Next: #2 Houston Astros