The Kansas City Royals are an organization that has a lot of promise. Their minor leagues are ranked highest in baseball, and they seem to have a lot of promise. So the real question is: just how far away are they? The Tigers' bullpen and 5th starter had -9.7 PE, and a 10.8 WAR. Tigers' lineup is .127 WAR a game, 10.06 PPG, 25.864 PAPP. Tigers' top 4 starters: Verlander (-3.73 PE, .253 WAR a start), Fister (.16 PE, .26 WAR a start), Scherzer (.44 PE, .073 WAR per start), and Penny (9.87 PE, negative WAR).
The Royals were 24 games behind the Tigers for division title at the end of the 2011 season. The Royals' lineup looked something like this most of the year (in no order, and excluding players they traded away): Butler (.015 WAR per game, 1.19 PPG, 2.59 PAPP), Pena (.0041 WAR per game, 3.43 PAPP, .61 PPG), Hosmer (.01 WAR per game, 1.36 PPG, 2.655 PAPP), Getz (.004 WAR a game, .82 PPG, 3.04 PAPP), Moustakas (.006 WAR per game, .71 PPG, 3.09 PAPP), Escobar (.92 PPG, .013 WAR per game, 3.23 PAPP), Gordon (.039 WAR per game, 1.51 PPG, 2.42 PAPP), Cabrera (2.67 PAPP, 1.46 PPG, .019 WAR per game), Francoeur (.018 WAR per game, 1.35 PPG, 2.73 PAPP). This means their lineup has a 35.855 PAPP, about the same (very slightly better than the Tigers), their PPG is 9.93, which is lower than the Tigers, but barely. Their WAR is also slightly better at .1281. The Royals top 4 starters were Hochevar (.055 WAR per start, 2.683 PE), Francis (.045 WAR per start, 4.767 PE), Chen (.104 WAR per start, 2.053 PE), and Paulino (.09 WAR per start, -.328 PE). This is a .294 WAR and 9.175 PE. Detroit's was 6.74 PE, and .593 this year. This means that Kansas City's rotation is anywhere from 33% to 50% worse than the Tigers. Even though the lineup is good enough to compete with the Tigers, with this much problems in the rotation, they stand no chance. The Royals' 5th starter and bullpen looks like: Duffy (.5 WAR, 2.724 PE), Soria (.8 WAR, -1.113 PE), Crow (2.1 WAR, -2.883 PE), Collins (1.1 WAR, -.817 PE), Wood (-.303 PE, .9 WAR), Coleman (1.6 WAR, -3.587 PE), Holland (2.6 WAR, -6.617 PE), and O'Sullivan (9.413 PE, -1.6 WAR). This means their bullpen had a -3.183 PE, and a WAR of 8. This bullpen is much better if you take O'Sullivan out, as he is clearly an outlier, however, he was part of this bullpen, so you have to count it. The Tigers have a better bullpen with O'Sullivan in there for Kansas City, but if you take him out, Kansas City actually has the better bullpen. So what is standing in the way between Kansas City and a division crown? Starting pitching. They need lots of it, but if they can find some (they have the lowest payroll in baseball, so they will have to do it through prospects), they stand a chance.