StrategyMarch 3, 2010


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30 Teams in 30 Days: Kansas City Royals

By MaudDib

Welcome to the next installment of “30 Teams in 30 Days”, where we will look at all 30 Major League teams and dissect what to expect from them this season. Keep an eye out for the hidden gems who could be the key to winning your fantasy baseball season.

The Kansas City Royals have been a waste land for impact major league players for years.  That all changed last year with Zack Greinke winning the Cy Young in impressive fashion and Billy Butler doing what only eight other ML players have ever done, but more on that later.  Kansas City made some off-season moves but they will have little impact on how the Royals do this coming year.

Offensive Starters

2009 StatsAVGOBPSLGRHRRBISBABNotes
C Jason Kendall.241.331.305482437452w/MIL
1B Billy Butler.301.362.4927821931608 
2B Alberto Callaspo.300.356.4577911792576 
3B Alex Gordon.232.324.378286225164 
SS Yuniesky Betancourt.245.274.351406493470 
LF Scott Podsednik.304.353.4127574830537w/CWS
CF Rick Ankiel.231.285.3875011384372w/STL
RF David DeJesus.281.347.4347413714558 
DF Jose Guillen.242.314.367309401281 

Unsettled: There has been talk that Royals are looking to trade Callaspo during the off-season and if that happens then Chris Getz will take over at 2B.  This is something to keep an eye on as Callaspo has some value in deeper leagues where as Getz will have little value even in the deepest of leagues. The Royals have a lot of mediocre depth in the OF with newly acquired Josh Fields, who could find sometime at 3B, and Mitch Maier but none of these guys are worth more than a late round flier . They also have Kila Ka’aihue in the minor leagues who has shown a lot of power but he is stuck at 1B and unless they can get rid of Guillen, the Royals just don’t have a spot for him.

Target: There are only a few guys that you should have any interest in come draft day. Last season Billy Butler became only the 8th player in ML history to hit 50 or more doubles at the age of 23, and that list reads like a who’s who of baseball which include Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Grady Sizemore. Butler still has some work to do to hang with that kind of company but has shown improvement over the past few years and looks on the verge of being a top 1B. Alex Gordon has an impressive resume if you only look at what he did in the minor leagues, but since starting with the ball club in 2007, he has shown very little to be excited about. Last season, Gordon had hip surgery that cost him 3 months of the season but never showed much life upon returning. This is the make or break year for Gordon, who has the tools and ability and just might be worth a late round gamble.

The Rotation

2009 StatsW-LERAWHIPKBBIP
Zack Greinke (R)16-82.161.0724251229.1
Gil Meche (R)6-105.091.579558129
Luke Hochevar (R)7-136.551.4910646143
Kyle Davis (R)8-95.271.538666123
Brian Bannister (R)7-124.731.379850154

Unsettled: Everyone but Greinke should be fighting for a spot in the rotation but odds are that isn’t going to be the case. They have a couple guys like Mike Montgomery and Aaron Crow in the minors who could be looked at by mid-season but for now they have little else.

Target: Zack Greinke is easily the best option here. He should be drafted high and should end the season earning that distinction. Greinke has shown improvement in every catergory over the past three years and there is little to be worried about here. The one note of caution is that he plays for the Royals. This means he has a bad defense behind him so a repeat of a 2.16 ERA is probably unlikely and his win total will continue to suffer from the lack of offense. Hochevar is the only one worth watching, not drafting by any means, just watching. He seemed to have developed a splitter in the second half of last year and even though it doesn’t look like it by the numbers, he actually got better which included a 13 strikeout performance against Texas and a complete game shut out against the White Sox.

The 8th and 9th Innings

2009 StatsSVERAWHIPKBBIP
Joakim Soria (R)302.211.13691653
Kyle Farnsworth (R)04.481.53421437.1

Chasing Saves: Soria was dominant last season before being shut down for shoulder soreness which cost him two months but once healthy he regained his old form. His saves total could suffer because of the team around him but you can be assured that Royals aren’t going to blow very many people away which should help. I wouldn’t worry too much about the shoulder and he should be strongly considered as a top 5 closer. There is no one guy to set Soria up and we can only hope that between Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz and Victor Marte they can limit the damage that they are likely cause.

Final Thoughts

The Royals finally have some viable fantasy options, something they haven’t really had since the days of Carlos Beltran. Zack Greinke should be an ace on most staffs and will be taken in the first 25 picks of most drafts, just don’t expect high win totals. Billy Butler has been all over the board, even being taken as high as a 6th round pick in some mock drafts. I would look at something more around the 9th/10th round where he should earn you good value and be a nice Util for most leagues. Soria will depend a lot on the kind of league you are in and how they value closers but he should be one of the first closers off the board and worth a mid-round pick. Lastly don’t forget to keep an eye on Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar as they might surprisingly be worth owning this year.

 
Sean Brown is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Sean in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of MaudDib.
 
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