Defense key to Royals' success

Eric Hosmer and the Kansas City Royals have won 12 of their past 14 games. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

The Kansas City Royals are the hottest team in baseball.

They capped a 10-game winning streak this month with three straight victories over division rival Detroit and now sit just a half-game back of first place in the AL Central.

Over the past two seasons, the Royals have acted like a team ready to compete for a division title. Their headline move was to trade top prospect Wil Myers to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball but was only under team control from 2013 to 2014. In addition, they've filled out their rotation by signing veterans Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas to multi-year deals, addressed their hole at second base by signing Omar Infante and replaced Myers in right field by trading for Norichika Aoki.

After those win-now moves, it is not a surprise the Royals are in contention.

However, it is a surprise that they are neck-and-neck with preseason favorite Detroit, especially considering their offensive struggles.