Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kansas City Royals 2008 Fantasy Preview

In 2007, the young Royals finished 69-93, the third worst record in baseball behind the Tampa Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates. KC's roster is full of young, talented players who all have the worst thing any fantasy player can possess... Potential. This team potentially can compete this season and have 2-3 All Stars, but also could finish in last place again since they are in the toughest division in baseball.

The good thing about the Royals is that they are anchored by home grown talent. This group of guys which includes Alex Gordon and Billy Butler has been together throughout their professional careers and had a chance to grow as a unit. Many teams have gone on to prosper in these situations, it just takes time for it to come together. Could this happen for the Royals? Maybe not this year, but they will be fun to watch.

Off Season Moves
The Royals have made a few savvy off season moves in to improve their roster. Adding Jose Gullien gives them some fire in the clubhouse and a solid bat in left field. Brett Tomko looks to find a spot in the rotation and Yasuhiko Yabuta looks to take his talents from Japan to Kansas City as a dominant reliever.

Projected Positional Starters

C- John Buck
1B- Ross Gload
2B- Mark Grudzielanek
SS- Tony Pena
3B- Alex Gordon
LF- Jose Gullien
CF- David Dejesus
RF- Mark Teahan
DH- Billy Butler

Projected Starting Rotation

Ace - Gil Meche
2- Brian Bannister
3- Zack Greinke
4- Kyle Davies
5- Jorge De La Rosa/ Brett Tomko/ Luke Hochevar

Projected Bullpen

Closer- Joakim Soria

Middle Relievers - Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta, Ron Mahay and Yasuhiko Yabuta.

Also Invited to Camp

Hideo Nomo
Brandon Duckworth
Brian Lawrence
Mike Maroth

** - Keep an eye on these journeyman starters, if one of them has a decent spring they will be given a chance on the big league roster.

Hitters to Draft

Billy Butler, DH/1B - In 92 games last season Billy Butler came up to the majors and proved he can hit big league pitching. Butler is one of the two gems in the Royals system. He looks to be the DH this season, but he also has 1B eligibaility. Look for Butler to have a break out year.

Alex Gordon, 3B - The other gem in the Royals system didn't have the same start as his partner in crime Butler. Gordon struggled in his rookie season and only batted .247. He did hit 15 Homeruns and since third base is pretty thin, he looks to be a solid pick for years to come.

Mark Teahan, RF - A decent outfield option, Teahan will hit around 280-290 range with 10-15 Homeruns and 70 RBIs. Consider him late in your draft.

Jose Gullien, LF - The prize signing of the Royals off season. Gullien is a guy who will bat near .300 and provide 20-30 Homeruns with around 100 RBI. With the young talent around him Gullien should have a solid season. Hopefully he will get along with all of his teammates...
Pitchers to Draft

Joakim Soria, CL - Soria came out of nowhere last season to take over the Royals closer position. He was 17/21 in save situations and looks to be the man again this spring. The Royals have a solid hitting team with speed and a pitching staff that should keep games close. Look for Soria to have many save opportunities this season.

Gil Meche, SP - Even though he only went 9-13 last season, he did have an ERA of 3.67 and had 156 strikeouts. Meche isn't dazzling with his numbers or his stuff but he will help with ERA and Strikeouts.

Brian Bannister, SP - Bannister went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 2007 and has a chance to improve on his numbers this year. Bannister is a young and up and coming starter who should have double digit wins again this season and provide help in ERA. It's a shame the Mets traded Bannister for Ambriorix Burgos.

Sleepers

Mark Grudzielanek, 2B - He batted over .300 last season and will most definitely be available late in many drafts. He's a good value pick at the second base.

Ross Gload, 1B - Gload is simply a solid player that you can drfat late and still get value. If you need a first basemen late in the draft, take a chance on Gload, he will provide solid defense and help your team batting average.

Yasuhiko Yabuta, MR - The Royals are looking to get lucky with this signing. Yabuta was a dominant reliever in Japan and looks to be the main set up man for Soria. He is 34 years old and considering he pitched in Japan for all these years, that's like being 54 in American years.

Luke Hochevar- Hochevar had his cup of tea with the big club last year and proved that his will live up to the "FUTURE STAR" hype. If Hochaver proves his skills in spring trainig, look for him to fil the number 5 spot in the Royals rotation. He is young and very raw so be careful and expect some speed bump along the way.

Players to Avoid

John Buck - He batted .222 last season and looks to be competing for his job in spring training. He doesn't do anything for you offensively, trust me on this becuase I drafted him last season.

Ryan Shealy- I also drafted Ryan Sheally last season and expected big things from him. .221 with 3 Homeruns are not what I call big things. Now Sheally finds himself behind Ross Gload and Billy Butler. Shealy is turning into the 2008 version of Bucky Jacobson.

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