I did a short little piece on the Kansas City Royals for my friend FantasyTrade411 . It will appear on his site on Janurary 25th, here is a little preview. For the full article, go to www.fantasytrade411.com.
The Kansas City Royals have been the laughing stock of the AL Central for the last 25 years. However, it is a team with legit offensive options for fantasy baseball. Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain all have potential to be serious offensive contributors to your roto squad. Last year, Hosmer had a terrible sophomore slump but all of his peripheral numbers signal a comeback; he has become the off-season poster boy for BABIP regression. Billy Butler is as solid as it gets to slot in your corner infield position. Other than Gordon and Butler, it is a very young offense. James Shields and Greg Holland will most likely be the only fantasy relevant pitchers, unless Felipe Paulino comes back throwing fireballs from his Tommy John surgery. In general, the Royals are a potential sleeping giant with all of the young talent that has a chance to unload.
Fantasy MVP: Mike Moustakas
The typical fantasy analyst is going to assume that it is Eric Hosmer that will have the huge 30 homer, 90 RBI season and lead your fantasy team. I disagree with this line of thinking. To start, Hosmer plays first base, which makes him less valuable in fantasy in the first place. Moose, however, can be slotted in at third, an absolutely empty offensive position for fantasy. Going in the late teen rounds is going to be a huge boost to his value if he is able to improve on his .242 average. He hit well above .300 for periods of the season, showing signs of improvement in plate discipline and power hitting. If any of the Royals are finally going to break Balboni’s record, the smart money would be on Moustakas. Bank on Moose with one of your later draft picks.
Break-out Candidate: Salvador Perez
In just under half a season, Perez hit .301 with 11 homeruns. If Perez manages to stay healthy and extends those numbers throughout a whole year, he will be a huge value. The entire organization is incredibly high on him and if you have ever been to Royals Review, you know that the fan base loves him. His .wOBA of .340 would have had him at 8th overall among catchers had he played a full season and his slugging % of .471 would have had him 4th. Perez is an exceptionally gifted offensive player who is being curiously undervalued. Catcher is a difficult position to fill, but if Perez lives up to all the hype surrounding him, he’ll be a huge value in fantasy leagues.
Bust Candidate: Eric Hosmer
There is a chance that last season is who he is. High K% with a very low batting average. If Hosmer can’t bring his batting average up to around .280 he will be basically worthless as a fantasy player. The Royals play in a power suppressing ball park, which means its very unlikely Hosmer will take the leap from 18 home runs to 35 that would be needed to give him value with a similar batting average from the last season. For players like Mark Reynolds or Adam Dunn to be valuable with Hosmer’s 2012 batting average, they have to provide serious power. That, I don’t see coming from the Wizard of Hoz. While I don’t necessarily think Hosmer will be as bad, given his ranking around the 11th round, he has a chance of busting.
Greg Holland is the Royals’ closer and for very good reason. He has a 96 mph fastball and a vicious slider. His slider was actually 21 runs above average in 2012, according to FanGraphs, making it a particularly devastating pitch. He was great in 2011, struggled in setup for half of 2012 and rebounded after Jon Broxton was traded to the Reds with 16 saves and a 2.96 ERA. He will have solid job security and reward teams who wait on saves and draft Holland. The only way he will lose the position is through injury and one of the other young arms in the bullpen steps up in his absence.
Down On The Farm:
The best Royals prospect of 2013 will be Wil Myers. Unfortunately, he will be playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. After Myers, there is a real lack of big league ready-talent. Christian Colon may get a look at 2nd point come midseason, but he lacks any skill to make him a special fantasy player. The organizations young talent is already on the Major League roster.
Bold Proclamation: Mike Moustakas is going to hit 30 homeruns and be a top 5 fantasy baseball third basemen. He’ll avoid his normal slump to kill his batting average and contribute to fantasy teams.