Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
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 .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Scott Kazmir strikes out six in no-decision vs. Astros
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir wasn't a factor in Tuesday's decision, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk in seven innings and striking out six in his team's extra-innings game against the Astros.

Kazmir wasn't able to pick up his third straight win despite holding the opposition to one earned run or fewer for the fourth straight start. The Oakland pitcher has been at the top of his game over the last few months, aside from an ugly seven-run outing in late June. Kazmir owns a 2.32 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 114:28 K:BB ratio in 124 1/3 innings. He's slated to take on the Rangers Sunday.


Brett Oberholtzer gives up two runs in no-decision Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Astros pitcher Brett Oberholtzer didn't factor into the decision Tuesday after surrendering two earned runs on six hits and two walks in seven innings and not recording a strikeout in his team's extra-innings game against the A's.

Oberholtzer was handed a 2-0 lead after the top of the third innind, but he gave back one run in the bottom of the frame and the other on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. He has given up two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, but he hasn't earned a win since rejoining the team in late June. Oberholtzer owns a 4.32 ERA and 51:19 K:BB ratio in 77 innings. He'll likely be taken out of the rotation if Collin McHugh is ready to return this weekend.


Michael Wacha may not pitch again this season
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:45 am ET) Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha admitted before Tuesday's game that team doctors told him he might not pitch again this season after discovering a shoulder "fissure," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Wacha had an MRI and CT scan over the weekend but wasn't cleared to resume throwing Monday. He'll rest for a few more weeks before being re-evaluated. A best-case scenario would find Wacha getting a couple of starts in September, and the pitcher remains optimistic he'll be able to return before the end of the season.


Mike Trout slugs 24th home run Tuesday vs. Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:41 am ET) Angels outfielder Mike Trout provided his team's only offense Tuesday, going 1 for 4 with a two-run home run in his team's 4-2 loss to the Orioles.

Trout was one of only two Angels to get a hit in the game, and while his hit sailed over the outfield fence for a home run, it wasn't enough to avoid the loss. He has hit .309/.395/.610 with 24 home runs, 76 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 369 at-bats.


Jonathan Schoop knocks eighth home run Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:39 am ET) Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in his team's 4-2 win over the Angels Tuesday.

After J.J. Hardy drove in the first run of the game with a double in the sixth inning, Schoop immediately followed with a home run to give his team the cushion needed to hang on to the win. He has hit .220/.256/.338 with eight home runs and 26 RBI in 287 at-bats, but two of his homers have come since the All-Star break.


Mariners send Erasmo Ramirez to Triple-A
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:36 am ET) The Mariners optioned pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to Triple-A Tacoma after Tuesday's loss.

Ramirez pitched well Tuesday, giving up just two runs in seven innings while striking out 10, but he still loses his roster spot to Wednesday starter Taijuan Walker. Ramirez owns a 4.12 ERA and 43:11 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings over nine starts with Tacoma.


Lucas Duda slugs 15th home run Tuesday vs. Mariners
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:34 am ET) Mets first baseman Lucas Duda went 2 for 4 with a solo home run in his team's 3-1 victory over the Mariners Tuesday.

Duda gave his team an insurance run with his eighth-inning blast, and he now owns a modest six-game hitting streak. The first baseman has hit .261/.357/.485 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI in 299 at-bats.


Aaron Hill slugs eighth home run Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:32 am ET) Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill went 1 for 3 with a solo home run and three RBI in his team's 5-4 win over the Tigers Tuesday.

Hill started his day with a blast over the left-field fence in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1. He added another RBI on a sacrifice fly in the third inning and drove in a third run on a groundout in the sixth. Hill has put together a seven-game hitting streak to help boost his line to .251/.284/.380 with eight home runs and 48 RBI in 363 at-bats.


Zach Britton strikes out two in 18th save
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Orioles pitcher Zach Britton recorded two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth inning Tuesday, picking up his 18th save in his team's 4-2 win over the Angels.

Britton threw nine of his 12 pitches for strikes and got ahead 0-1 against all three of the batters he faced. He was rocked in the second-half opener but has settled down since, tossing 2 1/3 perfect innings with four strikeouts. Britton owns a 1.78 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 42:14 K:BB ratio in 50 2/3 innings.


Miguel Gonzalez surrenders two runs in win vs. Angels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:21 am ET) Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez earned a win Tuesday, giving up two earned runs on three hits and four walks in 7 2/3 innings and striking out five in his team's 4-2 victory over the Angels.

Gonzalez (5-5) rejoined the Orioles Tuesday after spending the break in the minors, and he put together seven scoreless innings before surrendering a two-run home run in the eighth. He owns a 3.91 ERA and 74:36 K:BB ratio in 96 2/3 innings. Gonzalez is lined up to face the Mariners Sunday.


 
 
 
Rankings