Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 26 January 2008
The Royals have a lot of potential - all unrealized and could provide a few sleepers and maybe even a few second tier players but most of the team will fall into the third tier and questionable categories.
The Best of The Bunch:
The Second Tier:
Jose Guillen (OF)
: He’s likely to be better than his numbers the last few seasons suggest, mainly because he’s moving from a series of pitching parks to a park which is friendly to hitters. He’ll probably do better than his .290-23-99 of last year but probably won’t get driven home as many times as he did in Seattle.
Alex Gordon (3B)
: He’s not an elite third baseman but he’s just 23 and has only played one full season at the big league level yet. He’s probably the most promising of all the Royals in terms of talent and has a lot of upside. 15-15, or even 20-15 is not an unreasonable guess for this season with a chance at an improved batting average to boot. He may also qualify at shortstop in leagues which use a single game played at a position to determine eligibility.
The Third Tier:
John Buck (C)
: Buck is a fairly one dimensional player who contributes mainly in the power category -but for a catcher he’s quite a masher. If you can’t get one of the upper tier guys he at least has a bit more to offer than the guys at the bottom of the barrel.
Brian Bannister (SP)
: If Bannister had been playing anywhere else in the Majors last year he probably would have been a 14 or 15 game winner. With the Royals he still managed to put up a respectable 12-9 record but it’s his ERA (3.87) and WHIP(1.21) that make him a solid pickup in deeper leagues.
Joakim Soria (CL)
: Soria had a very solid season (2-3, 17 saves, 2.48, 0.94 WHIP with 75 Ks in 69 innings) as the closer in KC last year once they decided he was the go to guy. However he got almost as many chances to get holds a saves and his disappointing save totals should keep him among the last third of closers drafted. He should notch close to 30 this year.
The Question Marks:
Mark Teahen (OF)
: The 2006 version of Teahen was a disappointment to fantasy players after his 2006 campaign when he went .290-18-69 with 10 steals and had an OPS of .874. Th culprit was a late season surgery that he had in that year due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. With that now 18 months behind him we’ll find out if the power stroke has vanished for good or if Teahen really can contribute across the board. He’s a good sleeper gamble in the late rounds.
Gil Meche (SP)
: The 29 year old Meche posted the best season of his career last year in terms of ERA (3.67) and posted a solid WHIP (1.30) and ahd solid strikeout numbers (156) but he never looked this good in Seattle’s pitcher friendly Safeco Field. Optimists might say that he’s improving, but those of us who believe in flukes might want to give him a pass.
David DeJesus (OF)
: Is this the year that DeJesus finally emerges to become a Carlos Beltran type hitter? No.
The Great Debate:
Zack Greinke (SP)
: How good is he really? He’s been projected to be a star ever since he was noted by scouts a number of years back. After a lot of ups and downs he seems to have gotten everything back on track and shown signs of becoming a truly dominant pitcher. Last year he posted a 7-7 record with 106 Ks in just 122 innings (both as a starter and from the bullpen) with solid peripheral numbers (3.69 - 1.30). The main question is if his head is half as solid as his stuff - if so he’s a possible ace on a dreadful team.
Billy Butler (1B)
: This youngster isn’t technically a rookie anymore but he’s perhaps the most likely young Royal to really get a chance to step up this season. This kid has power and the ability to hit for average - in fact he could turn out to be the team’s best homegrown offensive talent in some time, but he’s very young and the question of if his talent will translate to the bigs in 2008 is a serious question mark. He could hit 20 plus home runs and keep a .290 average or the book could be written on him by mid May and a hole in his swing could be exposed. To call him a high risk, high rewards type player wouldn’t be fair, the rewards just aren’t likely to be that high at this point in his career.