Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (7) throws to first base after forcing out New York Yankees center fielder Estevan Florial (90) during the third inning at Kauffman Stadium.

2024 Kansas City Royals O/U: Why the Royals can hit the OVER

The 2023 season for the Kansas City Royals was one in the same as it has been in the past few seasons. The Royals finished 56-106 and last place in the American League Central division for the second straight season. Overall, Kansas City finished with the second worst record in the entire MLB besides the Oakland Athletics. Despite, the bad record, the Royals did much better during the second half of the season, where newly resigned shortstop Bobby Witt Jr broke out, leading to a 30-41 second half.

Now fast forward to this offseason. Kansas City spent money. A decent amount actually. Spending money in the AL Central can lead to good things when it comes to competing for division title but the Royals have been at the bottom of the division for the past few seasons. Despite that, things are looking up. Kansas City’s O/U win total according to FanDuel has been set at 73.5 and they have the potential to hit the over. Here’s how the Royals can hit the over for wins in 2024.

2024 Kansas City Royals O/U: Why can the Royals hit the OVER


Kansas City brought in a few new faces to beef up the active roster for the upcoming season. First off, the Royals signed two starting pitchers to help a unit that particularly struggled in 2023. Former San Diego Padres and New York Mets RHP Seth Lugo signed a three-year, $45 million deal on December 12 that includes an opt-out in the second season. Lugo wasn’t alone. RHP Michael Wacha, 11-year veteran, was signed on December 15 to a two-year, $32 million deal. As a starter for the Padres, Lugo finished 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA through 26 starts. Also for San Diego, Wacha finished 2023 with his best season since 2018, finishing 14-4 with a 3.22 ERA through 24 starts. Both were brought in to help KC to compete for a division title.

Kansas City also addressed the bullpen acquiring nine-year MLB veteran relief pitcher Chris Stratton and 11-year relief pitcher Will Smith through free agency. Most recently, the Royals acquired former Detroit Tiger and Boston Red Sox relief pitcher John Schreiber. They also acquired former Atlanta Braves reliever Nick Anderson in a trade earlier this offseason as well.

On the offensive end, power hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe was signed to a two-year, $13 million contract. Renfroe fills a hole on the Royals lineup and will give some leverage for Kansas City in the outfield as well. Outfielder Adam Frazier, who brings a lot of experience, was brought in this offseason as well. Catcher Austin Nola and utility man Garrett Hampson were signed to add depth and more experience to an young Royals roster.

Bobby Witt Jr

2023 was a fantastic season for former No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, Bobby Witt Jr. Witt Jr’s rookie season was tough but rebounded in 2023 with a breakout season. He finished batting .276 with 177 hits, 30 home runs, 96 RBIs, 49 stolen bases and only a 17.9% strike out rate. Witt Jr also finished with .319 on base percentage, .495 slugging percentage, adding up to a OPS of .813 and 4.4 WAR. Only Ronald Acuña Jr, Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Ozzie Albies had 30 or more home runs with a lower strikeout rate than Witt Jr.

His performance a season ago led to him signing a 11-year, $288 million extension for an overall 14-year contract in Kansas City. Witt Jr will be entering his third season in the big leagues and as the face of the now and future of the Royals franchise as it’s attempting to build a team around the young star. Witt Jr. is set to have another great season, barring any injuries, in a “wide open” AL Central division.

Potential names or breakout players to watch

Alongside Witt Jr., there are a few young players on the roster that have the potential to breakout in 2024. One of those is infielder/designated hitter Vinnie Pasquantino. Better known as Pasquatch among Kansas City fans, had his season cut short in June due to needing right shoulder surgery. Before Pasquantino’s injury, he was batting .247 with 57 total hits, nine home runs and 26 RBIs. Now fully healthy, Pasquantino looks to improve in 2024 and contribute to the Royals attempt at compete for the Central.

Another name to watch in 2024 is LHP Cole Ragans. The 26-year old starting pitcher was acquired by Kansas City in 2023 in a trade with the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers. Before being traded, Ragans was 2-3 with a 5.97 ERA. However, after a fantastic second half with the Royals, he finished with a 5-2 (7-5 overall) record with a 2.64 ERA (3.47 overall). Through the second half, Ragans blossomed into Kansas City’s “ace” and could improve upon that in 2024.

Final Win Total

To say that the Royals will win the American League Central is, to say, far-fetched but improvement from 2023 is within reach. With a projected win total around 73 to 74 wins is a bit of big jump from 56 wins, however that is within reach. Despite an overall disappointing season, the second half had some positives that can definitely move along to 2024. With more depth on the roster and potential breakout players like Pasquantino and Ragans, the Royals could finish as high as third in the AL Central. That would realistically put them around 75-80 wins, which would certainly break the 73.5 projected win total.

Main Image: © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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