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2013 Fantasy outlooks: Kansas City Royals

Senior Fantasy Writer
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No team in recent memory (Marlins excluded, of course) has taken such a beating over an offseason move as the Royals did in December after trading Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Mongomery and Patrick Leonard for James Shields, Wade Davis and a player to be named later.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

But here's a quick defense for Fantasy players: Shields has a 3.15 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 477 innings the last two seasons. He has two straight years of more than 220 strikeouts and his days of leading the American League in hits seem to be far behind him. Shields also gives the Royals a solid No. 1 option for the rotation, something the team was sorely missing. And somewhat lost in the mix was the addition of Wade Davis, a 27-year-old righty who had a 2.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 70 1/3 relief appearances last year, but had been a starter the rest of his career and was a perennial inclusion in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list. For now, that looks like at least an even deal, as Tampa Bay's new prospects still have a good deal to prove before making any major league impact.

The Royals didn't just add Shields and Davis to the rotation, though. They also welcomed the wickedly erratic/sometimes-brilliant Ervin Santana in a low-profile trade with Los Angeles. Santana's last four seasons with the Angels produced ERAs of 5.03, 3.92, 3.38 and 5.16. Throw in the mid-season acquisition of Jeremy Guthrie from Colorado and the only holdover from 2012's Opening Day rotation is Bruce Chen. Making things look even sunnier for the Royals? Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy -- two pitchers who made incredible strides before injury struck in 2012 -- will be returning from Tommy John surgeries, likely by August. And the farm system, while drained by the Shields trade, is still solid.

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Lorenzo Cain CF
2. Alcides Escobar SS
3. Alex Gordon LF
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Mike Moustakas 3B
6. Salvador Perez C
7. Eric Hosmer 1B
8. Jeff Francoeur RF
9. Johnny Giavotella 2B
Bench Chris Getz 2B
Bench Jarrod Dyson OF

The offense looks almost the same as 2012, with Salvador Perez elevated to starting catcher and Yuniesky Betancourt replaced at second base by either Johnny Giavotella or Chris Getz. Or, likely, both, as the organization waits patiently for Christian Colon. But with third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer having disappointing 2012 campaigns after promising debut stints in 2011, there's a lot of opportunity for the Royals to gain some runs just by the two young corner infielders having bounceback seasons.

Breakout ... Lorenzo Cain, outfielder

Relegated to the disabled list from mid-April to mid-July -- and then shut down in mid-September -- Cain still managed seven home runs and 10 steals in just 222 at-bats. After a strong spring, Cain looked like he would break out in 2012, but injuries sapped both momentum and playing time. He heads into 2013 with last year's potential carried over. Cain, 26, has the skill to hit .270 with 20 home runs and 30 steals, which are numbers that usually require a middle-round pick in drafts. But with Cain being injured last year, playing for Kansas City and generally having been forgotten by the masses, he can be a steal in the late rounds of mixed drafts.

Bounceback ... Eric Hosmer, first baseman

Hosmer hit .312 in over 1,000 minor league at-bats. In 2011, between Triple-A and the majors, Hosmer hammered 22 home runs and hit .316. He stole 14 bases. And then, without warning, Hosmer fell flat on his face in 2012, with a .232 average and 14 home runs in 152 games. There were 16 steals, sure, but this was supposed to be the year Hosmer hit .320 with 25 home runs to go with the speed. What happened? Mainly, it was Hosmer hitting balls where defenders were positioned, as he finished the year with a BABIP of .255 (in short, bad luck played a big role). Everything prior to last season points to Hosmer being a successful major league player. Chalk up 2012 to bad luck and you will have a nice value pick in the later rounds of most drafts.

Head-to-Head standout ... Alex Gordon, outfielder

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. James Shields RHP
2. Jeremy Guthrie RHP
3. Ervin Santana RHP
4. Wade Davis RHP
5. Bruce Chen LHP
ALT Luke Hochevar RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Greg Holland RHP
2. Aaron Crow RHP
3. Tim Collins LHP
4. Luis Mendoza RHP
5. Kelvin Herrera RHP

With doubles helping to boost the value of certain players in points formats, it would be foolish to overlook the MLB leader in the category from last season -- Alex Gordon. The Royals outfielder hit 51 doubles in 2012, beating out Albert Pujols by one. After hitting 45 doubles in 2011, Gordon now has 96 doubles in the last two years. His home run production dipped in 2012 (going from 23 home runs to 14) and he lost seven steals (from 17 to 10). He also managed to strike out 140 times, which was only somewhat compensated by a career-high 73 walks and five triples. All in all, Gordon is one of those players who may look somewhat pedestrian in Rotisserie formats, but will get owners points in Head-to-Head thanks to plenty of doubles and improving walk numbers.

Prospects Report

The system took a major hit with the Myers trade, but some would argue Bubba Starling, Kansas City's first round pick (fifth overall) in 2011, will have everyone forgetting about this deal in a couple years. ... Kansas City also has the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Kyle Zimmer, coming off a solid Arizona Rookie League performance (0.90 EA) and looking to advance up the ranks with a fastball that hits the high-90s ... Christian Colon, the fourth overall pick in 2010 (lots of top-five overall picks here recently for the Royals), hit Triple-A last season for five games and managed a .412 batting average and 1.076 OPS. There's a hole at second base waiting for him, but we may not see Colon until September. ... Don't expect to see many more prospects rise up to Kansas City this season, as Odorizzi, Myers and Montgomery were all very close and are now in the Tampa Bay system.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @nandocbs . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Red Sox call up Heath Hembree, send down Matt Barnes
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:17 pm ET) The Red Sox called up RHP Heath Hembree from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday. 

Hembree had not allowed a run in six appearances for Pawtucket, earning two saves and fanning 10 in eight innings. 

He takes the place of Matt Barnes, who was sent down. Barnes appeared in one game, allowing two hits in two innings, while striking out one. 


Pirates' Tony Watson earns win Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Tony Watson was able to pitch out of a jam Saturday to deliver a scoreless eighth inning and eventually earn the win in his team's 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Watson (1-1) gave up two hits in the outing and had men on second and third with one out, but was able to record a pop out and strikeout to escape the inning.

"There is nobody he doesn't challenge," manager Clint Hurdle said after the game, per MLB.com. "He's been pitching this way for two-plus years. He's cool. He's got a slow heartbeat. He's not going to get rattled."

Pitching coach Ray Searage visited Watson with two men in scoring position and one out, but there was no talk of issuing an intentional walk to the next batter.

"No. Right away, we got with Ray and said we got a plan to get him out," Hurdle said. "We felt we were in an advantage situation with our guy on the mound. We bet on our guy."

Watson gave up three earned runs in his season debut but has been excellent since. Saturday's outing gives him a 3.00 ERA and 11:0 K:BB ratio in 12 innings.


Brewers' Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:42 am ET) Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun and third baseman Aramis Ramirez are out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Braun had started 15 straight games in right field coming into Sunday's action, but he'll get his first break from starting since April 8. Ramirez has started 16 of the team's 18 games at third base but will take a seat after making four straight starts.

With Braun out of the lineup, Logan Schafer will play center field and bat second, while Gerardo Parra while shift to right field and bat third. Hector Gomez draws the start for Ramirez and will bat seventh.

The Brewers are home underdogs (+135) against the Cardinals Sunday.


Caleb Joseph, Alejandro De Aza, Travis Snider out of Orioles' lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) The Orioles will rest three starters in Sunday's game against Boston. 

Catcher Caleb Joseph, left fielder Alejandro De Aza and right fielder Travis Snider, who have combined for 36 starts this season at their respective positions, are all out of the lineup.

Ryan Lavarnway gets his fifth start of the year at catcher, batting eighth. Delmon Young is in right, batting fourth. It's his fourth start of the year but third in four days.

Steve Pearce will play left, starting for the third time this year. He's batting sixth. 

The Orioles are +100 money line underdogs at home against Boston. 


Nationals' Max Scherzer tests thumb Sunday, remains day-to-day
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer tested his swollen thumb by throwing in the outfield Sunday but did not see any mound work, CSNWashington.com reports.

Scherzer said that his thumb is still sore and that he's unsure about whether he'll be able to make his scheduled start Tuesday.

"I can't say that, because I'm literally day-to-day," he said.

Scherzer did indicate that the thumb felt better Sunday, but it's apparent he won't pitch unless he feels 100 percent. He's just 1-2 over his first four starts but owns a 1.26 ERA and 29:4 K:BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings.


Sandy Leon replaces Ryan Hanigan at catcher for Red Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Sandy Leon is in the Red Sox starting lineup for Sunday's game at Baltimore, bumping Ryan Hanigan

Leon starts for the second time in four games and sixth time this season. 

The Sox are -105 money line favorites over Baltimore. 


Cardinals C Yadier Molina (knee) out of lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is not in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers.

Molina is dealing with knee soreness after taking a foul tip off his knee guard Friday. The team called up a backup catcher before Sunday's game to back up Tony Cruz, who is batting eighth Sunday while making his third start in the last four days.

The Cardinals are road favorites (-144) in Milwaukee Sunday, per VegasInsider.com.


David Ortiz out of Red Sox lineup
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(11:23 am ET) Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against Baltimore. 

Ortiz has started 14 of the team's 15 DH games, including nine straight. He'll be replaced Sunday by Hanley Ramirez, who moves to DH from left field. Utility man Brock Holt replaces Ramirez in left. 

The Red Sox are -105 money line favorites at Baltimore.


Dodgers considering DL trip for Yasiel Puig
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Saturday that the possibility of sending right fielder Yasiel Puig (hamstring) to the disabled list has been discussed, the Orange County Register reports.

"If it’s the best thing, then it’s the best thing," Mattingly said. "Obviously, he’s very important to us. In a sense, it’s obvious that he’s not important to us if he can’t play. If you’re going to be banged up every third or fourth day or if he tries to run hard and extend, then we’re going to be better off letting him get healthy."

Puig missed significant time last week due to the hamstring issue but returned to the starting lineup Friday. However, he reinjured the hamstring trying to beat out a ground ball on the same day and was out of the lineup Saturday. Mattingly indicated that he'll leave the decision up to the team's medical staff.

"That decision does not come down to me. That decision is for medical," Mattingly said Saturday. "He played three days in San Francisco and did not have one issue. And he played the day game (Thursday). We talked about giving him the day game after the night game in San Francisco. Medical didn’t feel like he needed it. He played well, made some plays, didn’t look like he needed it. Then yesterday obviously he extended trying to beat that play out and it looked like it grabbed on him a little bit."

Puig has hit .279/.380/.465 with two home runs and four RBI in 43 at-bats.


Phillies' Freddy Galvis (rib) starting, 'feeling pretty good' Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:14 am ET) Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis is back in the lineup Sunday after leaving Saturday's game with a rib injury following an excellent defensive play.

"When I landed after the throw, my elbow hit my rib," Galvis said before Sunday's game, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "I am feeling pretty good now."

Galvis is batting eighth Sunday. He owns a .328/.381/.431 line with one home run and eight RBI in 58 at-bats.

The Phillies are favorites (-110) against the Braves Sunday.


 
 
 
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