Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Kansas City Royals

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Royals entered 2013 with arguably the most promising group of young hitters in all of baseball -- Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler and Salvador Perez were all younger than 27 and on an upward trajectory.

Throw in Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon (all under 30), and it appeared nothing but (powder) blue skies were ahead. And then things stalled.

2014 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

Hitting coach Jack Maloof made comments after his reassignment implying that the team's philosophy was to, "be more line-drive oriented." Maloof said the team would finish last in home runs in 2013 and wasn't concerned about it. The man who took over as hitting coach, Pedro Grifol, worked with George Brett to re-manage the hitters.

From June 1 forward (the reassignment move was announced May 30) Eric Hosmer hit .318 with 16 home runs and an .862 OPS. Mike Moustakas hit .257 with eight home runs (he was at .183 with four home runs on May 30). Salvador Perez hit .284 with 12 home runs. And Billy Butler hit .300 with 10 home runs. While they didn't become mashers, whatever Brett and Grifol did seemed to work, at least for Fantasy owners. And it makes things look even more exciting for the Royals in 2014.

So maybe we pretend that 2013 didn't happen and enter this season with the same level of optimism as we did a year ago for the still-young Kansas City bats.

This group is going to be supported by Norichika Aoki, who was acquired in a December trade with the Brewers, and Omar Infante, an underrated second baseman (offensively), who gives the team some much-needed stability in the middle infield. If Cain can stay healthy, this could be a dangerous offense from top to bottom.

The pitching staff returns James Shields at the top of the rotation, and replaces the departed Ervin Santana with workhorse Jason Vargas. Danny Duffy returns from Tommy John surgery to anchor the back-end of the rotation, and he has some momentum going forward, as he put together a 1.85 ERA over five late-season starts. Greg Holland is a top-five closer but if something happens to him, there is no shortage of replacement options, from Luke Hochevar (re-born as a reliever) to Kelvin Herrera, to Aaron Crow. Yordano Ventura is as electric a prospect as any in baseball, and could pitch his way into the rotation by mid-season.

Overall, this is a team chock-full of Fantasy potential. If the hitting philosophy in the first half of 2013 really did set back the bats, then we have fair reason to believe things have been righted. Hosmer looks like a third-round Fantasy talent, while the rest of the starting lineup should all have some mixed-league impact. These are not the Royals of two years ago, when these players were all exciting prospects on the rise. They have arrived, have no more roadblocks, and have played enough at the major league level to carry realistic expectations.

Sleeper ... Danny Duffy, starting pitcher

2014 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Norichika Aoki RF
2. Omar Infante 2B
3. Eric Hosmer 1B
4. Billy Butler DH
5. Alex Gordon LF
6. Salvador Perez C
7. Mike Moustakas 3B
8. Lorenzo Cain CF
9. Alcides Escobar SS
Bench Emilio Bonifacio IF/OF
Bench Danny Valencia IF/OF

There's always some degree of worry for a player coming off Tommy John surgery, but Duffy returned on a relatively normal schedule and pitched well in five games (1.85 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings) before ultimately being shut down with forearm soreness in early September. Before having Tommy John, Duffy was a top pitching prospect in the Royals' system, with a 2.65 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 350 innings in the minors. He struck out 407 batters in that span. His pre-injury 2012 was also off to a promising start, with a 3.57 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings over his first four games. Duffy won't be expected to do much and will have little pressure on him at the back end of the Royals rotation, but he could turn in a solid 2014, with a low-3.00 ERA, sub-1.25 WHIP, and a K/9 of about 9.0.

Underappreciated ... Greg Holland, relief pitcher

Holland had a 2.96 ERA in 2012, with 91 strikeouts in 67 innings. He saved 16 games. And yet, when Holland began the 2013 season giving up four runs in his first three games, the haters jumped on him, screaming for Kelvin Herrera to take over the closer's role. Over his final 64 games, Holland saved 45 games, posting a 0.70 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and striking out 98 batters over 64 innings. The Herrera crowd got very quiet, very quickly. Even if you look at that line and declare Holland a top 10 closer, you're still doing him a disservice. Holland is top five, and there's a case to be made that he's top three, behind only Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. But maybe because his early-season hiccup is still stuck in everyone's mind, or perhaps because Herrera is such an enticing option, Fantasy owners will continue to underrate Holland. Pay top dollar for him in an auction, and you'll be rewarded with a spectacular strikeout rate, over 40 saves (on an improved Royals team), and low ERA and WHIP.

Impact prospect ... Yordano Ventura, starting pitcher

2014 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. James Shields RHP
2. Jeremy Guthrie RHP
3. Jason Vargas LHP
4. Wade Davis RHP
5. Danny Duffy LHP
ALT Yordano Ventura RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Greg Holland RHP
2. Luke Hochevar RHP
3. Aaron Crow RHP
4. Tim Collins LHP
5. Kelvin Herrera RHP

As the Royals stand right now, there's no room for Ventura in the rotation. But Wade Davis struggled as a starter in 2013 after showing plenty of success out of the bullpen in 2012, so there's always a chance that, if Davis struggles, a swap could be made (the Royals, after all, weren't afraid to move former No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar to the bullpen). And as bullish as we are on Duffy here, there's always a chance he struggles in his first full season back from Tommy John. Ventura started three late-season games for Kansas City last year, going 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Over five minor league seasons, Ventura has a 3.47 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, with 455 strikeouts over 415 1/3 innings. In his major league debut, Ventura hit 101.9 on the radar gun, which was the fastest pitch thrown by any starter in the last five years. His fastball averaged 97.1 over his three starts. Ventura will almost certainly start the season in the minors -- where he can continue to work on supplemental pitches -- but could be up with the Royals by mid-season. Think of him like this season's version of Tony Cingrani (in terms of arrival time and impact, not makeup), and approach Ventura in Fantasy drafts similarly.

Prospects Report

The Royals' system took a bit of a hit last season with the James Shields trade, but there are still plenty of talented players on the farm. Ventura is probably the most exciting in terms of Fantasy potential this season, but former first round pick Kyle Zimmer may not be far behind. Zimmer struggled in 2013 with a 4.32 ERA, but that masked a very nice 1.17 WHIP and 140 strikeouts over 108 1/3 innings. Zimmer may not be ready for 2014, but is worth consideration in dynasty formats ... Bubba Starling's stock took a hit last season, when produced a .241 average and 13 home runs in 125 Class A games, but he did steal 22 bases, and is just 21 years old heading into this season. Tread carefully in dynasty leagues, though -- if Starling struggles again in 2014, the would-be stud quarterback can head to college and pursue glory on the gridiron ... Christian Colon hit .273 with a career-high 12 home runs and 15 steals over 512 at-bats in Triple-A last season. Colon has played 273 games at shortstop in the minors, and 111 at second base, so he could come up if anything happens to either Alcides Escobar (whose defense should cancel out any repeat plate struggles) or Omar Infante ... John Lamb hasn't been the same pitcher since Tommy John surgery, and struggled in 2013 (his velocity, once around 95, was clocked around 89 in the minors), but the Royals showed faith in the 23-year-old by giving him a shot in Triple-A, where Lamb gave up 12 runs in 16 innings.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Royals Jeremy Guthrie gets the loss in Game 7
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie picked up the loss Wednesday in Game 7 against the Giants.

Guthrie allowed three runs on four hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out three and did not issue any walks during the performance. Manager Ned Yost had a quick hook with the season on the line, leading to Guthrie getting pulled despite a low pitch count. After putting two men on base to start the fourth, Guthrie was replaced by Kelvin Herrera. Herrera would allow a run-scoring single to Michael Morse. That run would be charged to Guthrie, ultimately sticking him with the loss. 


Giants' Tim Hudson gets the quick hook in Game 7
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Giants pitcher Tim Hudson got the quick hook Wednesday in Game 7 against the Royals.

Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out one and walked one during the outing. Manager Bruce Bochy had a quick hook with the season on line, and pulled Hudson at the first sign of trouble. With the game tied 2-2, Hudson was pulled after giving up a single to Alcides Escobar. He threw 28 pitches during the outing. 


Giants' Madison Bumgarner caps World Series with save
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner capped off his dominant postseason run with a five inning save in Game 7 of the World Series.

Bumgarner came on in relief and was masterful. Pitching on just two days rest, Bumgarner was able to go five innings, giving up just two hits. He struck out four while throwing 68 pitches. Though Bumgarner wasn't technically the pitcher of record, the official scorer decided to give him the win. The ruling was later changed to give Bumgarner the save and Jeremy Affeldt the win. Bumgarner was named World Series MVP for his performance. 


Red Sox to target Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Red Sox will target Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley this offseason, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Both players are set to be free-agents, though both could opt to remain in their current organizations. Boston would have interest in Aramis Ramirez if he's made available, but it's believed Ramirez will stay with Milwaukee. Will Middlebrooks hit just .191 over 215 injury-riddled at-bats last season. 


Reds sent Neftali Soto to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Reds have outrighted infielder Neftali Soto to Triple-A Wednesday.

The move frees up a spot on the team's 40-man roster. Soto received just 30 at-bats in the majors. He hit .100. 


Angels' Tony Campana elects free agency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Angels outfielder Tony Campana has elected free agency, according to SBNation.

Campana was outrighted by the club, but declined the assignment. He'll look to hook on with another team during the offseason. Campana hit .187 over 75 at-bats last year. 


Orioles outright Evan Meek to Triple-A
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Orioles have outrighted pitcher Evan Meek to Triple-A, according to MASN.

The move frees up a spot on the team's 40-man roster. Meek posted a 5.79 ERA over 23 1/3 innings last season. 


Justin Smoak expects to renegotiate deal with Blue Jays
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak expects the club to decline his option, according to Sportsnet. 

Smoak is owed $3.65 million next season, but believes Toronto will decline that deal. The two sides will then renegotiate a new figure for the upcoming season. Smoak hit .202/.275/.339 over 248 at-bats with Seattle last season. 


Mets pitcher Vic Black good to go
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) Mets pitcher Vic Black is good to go, according to the Star-Ledger

Black was sidelined late in the year due to neck and shoulder issues, but is expected to have a normal offseason. He'll be able to resume throwing next month, and said his shoulder feels "great."


Reds decline option on Jack Hannahan
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/29/2014) The Reds have declined an option on infielder Jack Hannahan, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer

The team could have brought Hannahan back at $4 million, but decided to cut bait and pay him $2 million. Hannahan played just 26 games with the club last season. He hit .188. 


 
 
 
Rankings