Gordon among rebound candidates for Royals

Soria, Young also being counted on for success in 2017

Gordon among rebound candidates for Royals

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There were many factors that conspired to derail the 2015 World Series champion Royals last season.

A slew of injuries and overall fatigue certainly were at the top of the list.

But one can't overlook the fact that several players simply underperformed.

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Left fielder Alex Gordon missed over a month due to injury and never got going, hitting .220 overall with a .692 OPS. He had 17 homers and 40 RBIs. Right-hander Chris Young, whom general manager Dayton Moore called the most valuable pitcher on his 2015 staff, went 3-9 with a 6.19 ERA and 1.658 WHIP last season. And right-hander Joakim Soria, who signed a three-year, $25 million deal prior to 2016, went 5-8 with a 4.02 ERA, with seven blown saves, and he came within one loss of matching the franchise record by a reliever.

Moore, though, is confident that trio will bounce back in a big way in 2017.

"I think health will certainly dictate that going forward, especially with Alex and Chris," Moore said. "Of course, Chris was fighting through some [injuries] all season, and he had a huge workload for us in 2015 in a variety of roles.

"I believe because they are competitors, they will be prepared going into 2017 to come back and perform well."

Hosmer's RBI single

Another candidate on the bounce-back list may seem surprising: first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Hosmer, 27, set career highs in home runs (25) and RBIs (104). But after a terrific first half capped by winning the Most Valuable Player Award at the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, Hosmer hit .225 with a .676 OPS the rest of the way.

Moore recognized Hosmer's second-half drop and believes Hosmer, too, will bounce back in 2017 with a more consistent season.

"He should," Moore said. "I think Hoz had a terrific year in the first half. He proved that by being in a position to be the All-Star first baseman. He can certainly get better and he will. He's in the prime years of his career. We expect him to continue to get better."

Overall, Moore believes his team will be a motivated group entering Spring Training.

"There's a lot of different things that go into that," Moore said. "Certainly having your players back healthy and re-energized and enthused plays a big part. I think that will go a long way."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.