Fantasy Baseball 2014 Team Preview: Kansas City Royals
And we wait …
The Kansas City Royals possess some of the highest upside, most promising young hitters in baseball, which makes this unit a very intriguing team to monitor for fantasy purposes. But, to the average fantasy/baseball fans, the Royals are often one of the more overlooked teams in baseball today.
Not on this day. Not on this day.
Thank you for joining us, Eric Hosmer.
The immensely talented first baseman, Hosmer took time to develop, but after 330 games in the majors, Hosmer finally brokeout in 2013. He killed it during the second half of the season, batting .318 with 16 home runs from June after. Hosmer went on to lower his strikeout rate, as well as his plate discipline. After hitting 17 home runs, Hosmer proved that he has at least 20-home run potential, as he sported a HR/FB percentage of 13, to go along with 34 doubles, which ranked inside the top-25 in baseball. At age 24, Hosmer hasn’t even touched his prime yet, and has some more untapped power potential. Many people (including myself), are expecting him to take another step forward in 2014, and he should be drafted as a top-10 first baseman in fantasy land.
A handful of fantasy fans may look at the spring that Mike Moustakas is putting together and consider investing him in fantasy. Through 22 spring outings, Moustakas is batting an insane .431 with four home runs and 17 RBI. I’d strongly suggest reconsidering, as Moustakas is still coming off a brutal third season in the majors, batting a poor .233 with 83 strikeouts. The guy still struggles to read pitches, sporting a career batting average of just .244. Throughout his career, he strikes out about 17 percent of the time he steps up to the plate, and he swings at an ugly 36.1 percent of pitches landing outside of the strike zone. Rumblings out of Kansas City indicate that he has tuned his swing, which has helped, but this guy still struggles with plate discipline and should only be considered in deeper/AL only formats.
The coverboy of this article, James Shields is the prime example of a guy who gets no love because he isn’t a star and plays for a low market team. It’s also a prime example of why you wait on starting pitcher in your fantasy drafts, as Shields serves as a more than capable number two starting pitcher. He’s been very consistent in each of the last three seasons, averaging 214 strikeouts and 14.6 wins during that span. He’s an even better option for those in leagues where quality starts are rewarded, as Shields tied the majors in that category in 2013 with 27, and over the last three seasons, he is third with 72 (via ESPN). Shields is an awesome strikeout guy, posting a career K/9 of 7.73 and induces groundballs quite a bit, sporting a percentage of 44.6. It’s also worth noting that Shields, who many worried about pitching outdoors in his first season away from the dome in Tampa, was very good last year, silencing any doubts.
Finally, a lot of folks are talking about young Yordano Ventura, who has earned a spot in the rotation. The 22-yeard old throws hard, possessing a fastball in the high-90s. He’s got a nice curveball, too. Don’t forget about him towards the end of your draft.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.