Fantasy Baseball Team Previews – Kansas City Royals

Lorenzo Cain

The Kansas City Royals went one step further in 2015 and became World Series Champions beating the New York Mets, just a year after heart break against the Giants. The Royals just built momentum through the season and utilised the turn-it-over-to-the-bullpen method superbly in 2015. They don’t have any stand out power hitter, but they have a good group of solid hitters and some speedsters who can break a game open and get those crucial runs that the bullpen need to defend

The offseason has not been great for Kansas City as they saw their ace walk out the door in the form of Johnny Cueto and they replaced him with a mid-rotation guy in Ian Kennedy. They also lost Ben Zobrist and Alex Rios on the hitting side and they have tried to fill those holes internally, but there is not the same talent filling those spots any more. The addition of Joakim Soria retains the strength of that bull pen but overall this is a weaker Kansas City squad who may struggle to repeat what they achieved in 2015 and won’t have a huge amount of fantasy fun to make you want to find their games.

AL East

AL Central AL West NL East NL Central NL West

Baltimore

Chicago WS Houston Atlanta Chicago

Arizona

Boston

Cleveland Los Angeles A Miami Cincinnati Colorado

New York Y

Detroit

Oakland New York M Milwaukee

Los Angeles D

Tampa Bay

Kansas City Texas Philadelphia Pittsburgh

San Diego

Toronto Minnesota Seattle Washington St. Louis

San Francisco

Projected Starting Line-up

  1. Alcides Escobar
  2. Mike Moustakas
  3. Lorenzo Cain
  4. Eric Hosmer
  5. Kendrys Morales
  6. Alex Gordon
  7. Salvador Perez
  8. Omar Infante
  9. Jarrod Dyson (vs RH), Paulo Orlando (vs RH)

Lorenzo Cain, OF

Cain had become a solid fantasy option in 2014 when he stole 28 bases whilst hitting 0.300, but he took that to another level in 2015 when he added 16 homers, 100 runs and 70 RBI to make himself a top end fantasy outfield option. Whilst it is unlikely he can repeat all those numbers, I don’t see a massive regression on the cards for Cain. My current projection is 155 combined runs and RBI with a 0.295 batting average, 10 homers and 25 steals which puts him 13th among outfielders in roto and 20th in points. He is currently available at pick 50 on average as the 18th outfielder off the board, which is nice value especially if you have got some decent power options in the first couple of rounds and want some steals without sacrificing all power.

Eric Hosmer, 1B

Can Eric Hosmer avoid another dip on his yo-yo in 2016?

Can Eric Hosmer avoid another dip on his yo-yo in 2016?

Hosmer doubled his home run totals from 2014-2015 whilst adding .027 to his batting average and stealing three more bases. His batting average has shown a tendency to yo-yo in his career with 2012 and 2014 being at least 0.020 points lower than the odd seasons. Projected to bat 4th in the line-up this year should offer him plenty of opportunities for runs and RBI, but I think he is nearer 160 combined than 200 combined, as he was in 2015. In roto he is my last first baseman before a drop off to the Santana, Lind and Belts of the world so if I haven’t got my starting first baseman early then Hosmer at pick 75 is a must for me, even if I have to jump in a round early to ensure I get him.

Kendrys Morales, DH

Nobody likes drafting a DH-only guy and filling up their Util spot, especially in leagues with only one of those spaces. But as with everyone there becomes a point where BPA just takes over. Now, Morales is 1B- eligible on some sites so his ADP is slightly twisted by that, but NFBC and RT sports currently have him going 150th off the board which I think is cracking value for a guy who should play most days and can hit 20 homers. Morales offers a relatively cheap 20 homers especially considering his 0.275 projected batting average won’t hurt you the way other 20 homer guys can.

Alcides Escobar, SS

Escobar is looking somewhat of a steal for me in drafts, going on average at pick 240 as the 16th shortstop off the board. Escobar had a down year for steals in 2015 but a bounce back to 25 isn’t impossible, which when combined with the potential he may hit a top this order in 2016, gives him fantastic run scoring potential. This is definitely a guy I am willing to wait on if nothing obvious presents itself to me as Escobar has top 10 SS potential in 2016.

Alex Gordon, OF

For his fantasy value this is arguably the worst place Alex Gordon could have signed. KC will likely continue to bat him 6th in the line-up most days whereas in other teams he could easily have been the two hitter. This depresses his runs total quite significantly and does a little damage to his RBI numbers, which push him another 10-15 spots down the rankings to the 50th outfielder in both formats. The decline in homers from 19 to 13 and steals from 12 to 2 is a massive concern for me and I actually have him projected to regress back to 18 homers and 10 steals given that he is just 32 this year. However, if they don’t bounce back we are looking at a hitter who is outside of shallow mixed league relevance in a roto league.

Mike Moustakas, 3B

As someone who was a big fan of Moustakas a few years ago, what he did last season really pleased me, especially his ability to take the ball the other way and hit the opposite field. However, it would perhaps be a little narrow sighted not to project some regression especially into the batting average., The Moose had been a career 0.235ish hitter before his average jumped roughly 0.050 to 0.284 last year so you have to think that it drops closer to 0.260 this year based on that. However, a 20 homer third baseman who can hit 0.260 and put up 140-150 combined runs and RBI makes him a valuable offering as a corner infielder or utility option with upside in virtually all formats and league sizes.

Salvador Perez, C

Can the 'Ironman' of fantasy catchers put up another 135+ games season?

Can the ‘Ironman’ of fantasy catchers put up another 135+ games season?

The ironman that is Salvador Perez has now played over 138 games in each of the last three seasons and last year managed to hit over 20 homers for the first time in his career. His batting average is no longer in the .290-.300 region it was earlier in his career but he still has great value in his ability to play pretty much every day and just accrue stats. Those extra 10-40 games he offers over the likes of Mesoraco, Gomes, McCann and Martin are handy considering that carrying a second catcher is often seen as criminal in most leagues considering how poor the replacement level is.

Any Other Business?

  • Jarrod Dyson, OF: It is all about steals with Dyson who has had 34, 36 and 26 steals the last three season in a combined 673 AB’s. However, the issue with Dyson is his steals can often come off the bench making them impossible to predict. For this reason, he is a deep roto league only guy.

Projected Rotation

  1. Edinson Volquez
  2. Yordano Ventura
  3. Ian Kennedy
  4. Chris Young
  5. Kris Medlen

Yordano Ventura

Can Ventura find the stuff in 2016 that made him such an exciting pitcher a couple of years back?

Can Ventura find the stuff in 2016 that made him such an exciting pitcher a couple of years back?

Ventura is a very good pitcher but he has the tendency to get carried away and that can often be to the detriment of his pitching ability. I have Ventura as about the 50th pitcher for me, but he is surrounded by guys with more upside and that limits my desire to go after him. In fact, for the price I would much rather have the next guy.

Ian Kennedy

The move for Kennedy to Kansas is a good one considering the amount of homers he has been prone to giving up in his career. Add in that he will have a superb outfield defence tracking down those fly balls and we are looking at a pitcher who has always had the ability to strike batters out with his biggest flaw potentially being negated in his new park. I have him and Ventura projected to level out pretty close together when all the different categories are balanced, and Kennedy is going 50-ish picks later than his teammate.

Edinson Volquez

I have Volquez projected amongst a group of guys that I think could have much higher ceilings than their current projections, and for that reason he is a guy I am porbably not going to end up owning. With Kennedy, who I have much higher, Heaney, who I have as a similar sort of level, going around him they are two guys I would rather take at pick 240. In fact, DeSclefani is going nearly 20 picks later and he is another guy I would prefer to gamble on that Volquez. Volquez just doesn’t offer anything that screams must-have for me, and if I could be assured of 175 innings from the next guy on this list I would prefer him.

Kris Medlen

Medlen had the potential to be a top 20 pitching option before injury derailed him. The Royals are tending to be cautious with him still and that is why he is only just the fifth starter right now. If Medlen can get to 150-ish innings, then he could be a useful bottom end of your fantasy rotation guy who pitches in a hitter friendly ball park.

Chris Young & Danny Duffy

These are the two who should be fighting for fifth starter right now and if Young wins then we all lose. Duffy would be the preferred option for me but is currently projected to be a bullpen guy. Even if he makes the rotation he would need to lower his ERA and WHIP if he is to be a lower than seven K’s per nine pitcher.

Closer:

Wade Davis

Can Dvais put up another year with a WHIP below 0.85 and a sub 1.00 ERA year?

Can Dvais put up another year with a WHIP below 0.85 and a sub 1.00 ERA year?

Davis has been lights out the last two season and rightly earnt the closers job last season. He enters the season as a safe closing option having been successful doing it in 2015, and should be a great option for 40 saves. The fact he has had a WHIP below 0.85 and an ERA below 2.00 the last two seasons is unbelievable, but also surely unlikely to be repeated again, right? Even if he regresses a little, he is still a top five closer with the potential to be the number one by a distance. Would I invest the 64th pick in him? Probably not, but he only has to drop one round and then I am happy to take the plunge.

Next Man Up:

Joakim Soria

Soria has experience closing and is probably the guy the Royals turn to if Davis is injured or struggles in the role in 2016. Hard to invest too much given the uncertainty surrounding who would take over for sure.

Lurking Next Man Up:

Kelvin Herrera

Another name to have highlighted to be placed on the watch list but also hard to invest with Soria in the bullpen.

Prospect Potential

  • Miguel Almonte, SP: Perhaps a deeper league option given that he hasn’t dominated in any stop in the minors but he still only 23 and developing. The Royals won’t be afraid to use these young guys as they have shown in the past but whether Almonte can offer much to fantasy owners is debatable.
  • Kyle Zimmer, SP: Definitely an intriguing name for dynasty prospects but as someone who has been hampered by injuries at every turn there is a great deal of chance that the potential is never realised. He is capable of missing bats and has some really nice pitches but whether he can be more than a spot starter for KC this season having never pitched more than 65 innings in a year is a big question.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, OF: The name Bonifacio screams steals to all fantasy owners but younger brother Jorge is not another steals specialist. In fact, he has the Ability to be a decent power hitter if he can continue to grow his skills. In an outfield full of talent, I don’t see him playing many games but if he crushes it in the minors and gets called up he could be an option. However, power isn’t usually the greatest trait to bring to Kansas so maybe his best shot at fantasy value would be a trade.

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