For the first time in 30 years, the Kansas City Royals have clinched the playoffs by winning the American League Central.
So many individuals have led to this team’s success. Offensively, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and designated hitter Kendrys Morales have all been elite while the pitching arms of Edison Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto and Wade Davis have been solid all year.
But one player has made the biggest difference to this team — Lorenzo Cain.
The Valdosta, Georgia native had a very interesting journey to the majors. “I never played little-league,” Cain told the Kansas City Star. He got his opportunity at Madison County High School, where he had limited playing time. Despite this, Cain was selected at seventeenth by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 MLB draft.
The Royals saw potential in Cain’s skill-set and later would trade pitcher Zach Greinke for a four-player bundle that included now-starters, Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar.
Cain has been dominant in 2015. Through 155 games, Cain is batting .308 with 16 homeruns, 71 RBI’s, and 28 stolen bases. He is fifth in the AL in batting average and leads the team in stolen bases.
Cain’s performance has pushed him to the top of the AL MVP race. Cain sits at third behind Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson and center fielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Cain is sixth in the MLB in wins-above-replacement (WAR), a non-standardized baseball statistic developed to sum up a player’s total contributions in one firm number.
Simply put, with Lorenzo Cain in the Royal’s lineup, Kansas City is a different team. His offensive and defensive abilities have changed games and made this Royals team hungry for more than just a division title.