Royals Outpost

The heart-felt musings of a Kansas City Royals fan who isn't always right, or logical, but does always care.

1.2.06

A Most Heinous Hiatus!

You know, just when you think you're doing okay with your own cheap little blog on your team, you start getting a little confidence, and start poking around to see who else is covering your team, although you're certain they can't be doing half the job you are. Then you stop by Royals Corner, and your heart drops through the freakin' floorboards, ya just fall off the wagon. People are catching on, too, because that site has really taken off, and rightfully so. I can only hope to end up one of his fabled correspondents.

How much of this disenchantment contributed to the Royals Outpost three week lay-off is probably diluded by me being in the midst of a career change, along with the cut and dry fact that there is just nothing to speak of going on in baseball right now, nevermind KC-oriented matters. Kyle Snyder and Devon Lowery cleared waivers and were returned to the minors, although where the two of them figure in the immediate or long-term plan for the Royals is murky at best. Mike Sweeney gossiped about how he knows a guy who knows a guy who did steroids, shouldn't be this big a deal.

Fantasy baseball has been a hobby/obsession of mine since 2001, and further fueled my love affair with the sport. My first experience taught me to invest modestly (if at all) in your favorite team's players, lest it blind you to the unpleasant truth. After finishing eighth in a 10-team league as a fantasy rook', I'd learned my lesson: Your loyalty to the real thing mixed with your decision-making for your fantasy team does not a championship bring.

However, just because the Royals have left me high and dry in the past doesn't mean fans of the same ilk should look past the fantasy value our boys in blue stand to accumulate in the future. So, here for you now, is a look at the most statistically intriguing Royals available in your league.

Mike Sweeney - 1B: Of course, how could I start with anyone else? The heart of both the lineup and the team has been a steady source of batting average and RBI in fantasy baseball circles for about half a decade, now. Yes, the only thing that has kept him from sticking amongst the top-1o first baseman in the game is troublesome aches that always seem to flare up in mid-July, and keep him just short of 500 at-bats. Now an expensive and aging veteran, Sweeney's hefty pricetag could see him shipped to a team in the play-off hunt around the All-Star Break, which would inevitably boost his fantasy appeal. In any event, another season with something like 450 AB, a .310 average and something just short of 25 homers. A very useful, if risky selection.

Reggie Sanders - OF: Perhaps the biggest addition of the off-season, Sanders makes his first Junior Circuit appearance with 292 HR and 297 SB, as well as mediocre batting averages and high strikeout rates. Reginald is probably the perfect example of the raw tools player; obviously very gifted in everything he does, but a lack of patience and/or refinement prevented him from reaching the upper echelon when his skills were at their peak. Now in the twilight of his career, just how much Sanders can offer to a fantasy team is very much up in the air, since he's going from a fine offense to a weak one, along with entering a league he is foreign to. I see him coming up just short of 500 at-bats, but that is of course under the pretense that he avoids the big injury, something one certainly couldn't stake any amount of their fantasy team's future on. If he does somehow tally something in the 450 at-bat range, I wouldn't project anything close to his .546 SLG in a shortened 2005. 20 HR, 15 SB and a .255 average is about all one could hope for.

Mark Redman - SP: A disappointing return to the NL in 2005 has many skeptical about whether or not Redman is a major league-calibur pitcher. A junk-dealing lefty with a herky-jerky motion that leaves spectators rubbing their own shoulders in sympathy, Redman was never more effective than he was in 2003, when he went 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. While a return to such a level is severely unlikely on a team as poor as KC, Redman's 2005 is hardly an accurate representation, either, as he pitched from late May to September in pain. Since strikeouts and WHIP will both be unpleasant, the modest number of wins he may pick up along the way shouldn't be too appealing to but the most desperate owners.

Mark Grudzielanek - 2B: Sorry, this signing really does suck. An aging middle infielder who never had much in the way of defensive range, power, speed, or anything other than knocking singles. Any amount of money spent on a guy whose ceiling is so low it forces him to lie flat on his back is overpaying. Second base is a position saturated by fine replacement options, so you have to be able to do better than this working class schmoe.

David DeJesus - OF: Finally, a player landing a long-term contract that actually deserves one! The Royals wisely locked up David DeJesus for five years at a considerable discount, and the dividends should begin to pay off immediately. Don't expect a spike in power, but for the position, he's an above-average value. His OBP should rise to .370 this year, and a string of 90-run seasons could begin in '06.

Mike MacDougal/Ambiorix Burgos - RP: These two are at the forefront of the Royals' greatest strength: bullpen depth. Both are big righties with power fastballs and big strikeout ability. Mac' is currently stationed as the closer, but if his control slips again, Ambiorix could step in and be just as productive. Even if things go according to plan, Ambiorix should sneak a handful of saves.

Angel Berroa - SS: "So much talent, great gap power, strong arm".. for a guy with such skills, he sure has sucked out loud. This is a case where a guy gets to continue his reign of terror as a starter on the chance that he suddenly fulfills his potential at a position tough to fill. That.. and the hefty contract he got after 2004. I don't see much reason for optimism, as his ratios continued their plummet for a second straight year. You can do better.

Zack Greinke - SP: At the start of spring training, I had every reason to be optimistic about Zack's prospects for the season ahead. Things haven't gone as planned. Zack is back home during the vital stamina-building spring training games. When he does get back, he could be rushed, and never have a chance to get in a groove this year. I felt he was a true sleeper as recently as a week ago; now, I have to strongly recommend that you avoid him until he's made a couple regular season starts.

There are other players on the roster with potential for plus fantasy value, but these guys were the most-debated Royals in my circles. In a deeper league, the KC kids could provide some usefulness off the bench, but in your average 12-teamer, all but Sweeney and MacDougal are better left on the waiver wire. Truth hurts.

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