Blengino: What sets the Royals apart?

From SABR member Tony Blengino at FanGraphs on October 29, 2015:

The last week of October is here; the clocks are about to be turned back, autumn is in full swing, and there are two teams left standing in pursuit of the World Series title. This week, we’re taking a look at the defining characteristics that have delivered the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals to the brink of the game’s ultimate goals. Earlier this week, we discussed the Mets. Today, it’s the American League champion Royals.

In 2014, the Royals snuck up on a lot of people, including myself. This year, not so much. They have once again ridden their own unique formula — a combination of contact hitting, speed, defense and a deep, flame-throwing bullpen — to the Fall Classic. While the Mets were a second-half phenomenon, the Royals sat at the front of the AL Central pack all season. The only doubt was whether they would earn home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs, which they did with a productive final weekend of the regular season.

The postseason has been a little dicier. The Astros appeared to have them pinned in the ALDS, only to watch the Royals escape with a late Game Four rally. The ALCS versus the Blue Jays wasn’t quite as eventful, though the Royals needed to survive a classic Game Six at home to finally put away the Blue Jays. They unleashed a bit more of their blue magic in Game One of the World Series, winning an instant classic that featured everything from leadoff inside-the-park homers to Bartolo Colon–Chris Young relief pitching duels, to you name it. What are some of the distinguishing characteristics that have the delivered the Royals to this moment?

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Originally published: October 29, 2015. Last Updated: October 29, 2015.