StrategyFebruary 23, 2013

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30 Teams in 30 Days: Kansas City Royals

By Jason Swartley

The Royals have seemingly been in a rebuilding mode since George Brett hung up his cleats in the early ’90s. Still, the KC faithful still believe this may finally be their year. The farm system has been the envy of baseball in recent years, but somehow all those prospects don’t seem to ever materialize into team success. 2013 began with the departure of prized prospect and apparent future star Wil Myers, traded in December with other prospects for ace James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa. The much needed rotation help should see some run support from a developing platoon of talented position players. Will it be enough to bring the boys in blue into contention for a playoff spot in 2013?

In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2013 fantasy baseball drafts.
Offensive Starters

C Salvador Perez.301.328.4713811390305 
1B Eric Hosmer.232.304.35965146016598 
2B Chris Getz.275.312.360220179210 
SS Alcides Escobar.293.331.3906855235648 
3B Mike Moustakas.242.296.4126920735614 
LF Alex Gordon.294.368.45593147210720 
CF Lorenzo Cain.266.316.4192773110244 
RF Jeff Francoeur.235.287.3785816494603 
DH Billy Butler.313.373.51072291072679 

Unsettled: Second base. Veteran Chris Getz would be one of the worst regular second basemen in the league if he wins the gig. Unfortunately, the younger, more talented Johnny Giavotella is just one of many Royals players who flashed great promise in the minors but has failed to appear with the big club. Look for Getz to get the job to start the year, but watch for signs of the light going on for Giavotella.
Target: Eric Hosmer. Hosmer was a sexy sleeper pick in 2012 after he showed tremendous promise in 128 games in 2011. The promise is still there, but now Hosmer has one more year of big league experience under his belt. And he comes much cheaper than this time last year. He’s still worthy of a pick, and should improve upon last year’s .232 average while providing 20 or so home runs and chipping in a dozen steals.
The Rotation
James Shields (R)15-103.521.1722358227.2w/TB
Jeremy Guthrie (R)8-124.761.4110150181.2w/2T
Ervin Santana (R)9-135.161.2713361178w/LAA
Wade Davis (R)3-02.431.09872970.1w/TB
Bruce Chen (L)11-145.071.3714047191.2 

Unsettled: Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and Will Smith look to do battle this spring for the last spot up for grabs in the rotation. All of them are more or less terrible, and all have been mentioned in trade rumors now that they are expendable with the signings of Shields, Davis, Santana and Guthrie. Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy hope to return around mid-season from Tommy John surgery.
Target: James Shields. Shields is a workhorse, topping 200 innings in each of the past six years with a K rate north of 8.0 for the past three years, good control and the innate ability to win. Don’t fret that he’s now with a weaker club, as he’ll face the AL Central instead of the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. Davis was excellent in relief last year. While he won’t maintain that 2.43 ERA as a starter, he could be a solid innings eater.
The 8th and 9th Innings
Greg Holland (R)162.961.37913467 
Aaron Crow (R)23.481.18652264.2 

Chasing Saves: Holland stepped into the closer role following the trade of Jonathan Broxton last July. He converted 16 of 20 saves over the tail end of the season with a K/9 over 12.0. Holland looks to have a solid grip on the job, but presumably would be replaced by Crow if he faltered. Kelvin Herrera also put together a solid year out of the pen last year but lacks closing experience.
Final Thoughts
This young club could surprise some people this year. There is talent up and down this batting order, some of which has shown it is ready for the show, some has kept us waiting. It’s not hard to imagine Salvador Perez coming back from injury to have great year. Eric Hosmer should further mature, and let’s not forget Mike Moustakas clubbed 36 homeruns in the minors in 2010. Alex Gordon has shown what he can produce, and I think 2012 was the first of many great seasons to come from Billy Butler. The Royals have many exciting young, developing players worth taking a gamble on. The rotation should be the best it has been in many years. It’s an exciting time to be a Royals fan, and from a fantasy perspective, there is a lot more worth looking at on this team than there has been in a while.
Check back tomorrow for our look at the Minnesota Twins.

Jason posts regularly here at the cafe under the user name TheRock.
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