|C||Jason Kendall||SP 1||Zack Greinke|
|1B||Billy Butler||SP 2||Gil Meche|
|2B||Alberto Callaspo||SP 3||Brian Bannister|
|3B||Alex Gordon||SP 4||Luke Hochevar|
|SS||Yuniesky Betancourt||SP 5||Kyle Davies|
|CF||Rick Ankiel||CL||Joakim Soria|
|RF||David Dejesus||RP||Juan Cruz|
|DH||Jose Guillen||RP||Robinson Tejeda|
|IF||Chris Getz||RP||Roman Colon|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|CF||Rick Ankiel||Free Agency||RF||Mark Teahen||Trade (CHW)|
|LF||Scott Podsednik||Free Agency||1B||Mike Jacobs||Free Agency|
|2B||Chris Getz||Trade (CHW)||C||John Buck||Free Agency|
|3B||Josh Fields||Trade (CHW)||CF||Coco Crisp||Free Agency|
|C||Jason Kendall||Free Agency||C||Miguel Olivo||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Mike Moustakas (3B), Eric Hosmer (1B), Aaron Crow (P), Mike Montgomery (P), Wil Myers (C)
The Royals were not really expected to compete in 2009, and they pretty much performed to those expectations. They finished the season at 65-97, good for a 4th place tie in teh AL Central. But they definitely had some bright spots. C Miguel Olivo posted a career high 23 HR to lead the team. 1B Billy Butler had an excellent season at the plate, posting a .301 average with 21 HR and 93 RBI. Easily the best performance by a Royal came from SP Zack Greinke, the AL Cy Young award winner. Greinke put it all together in 2009, posting a 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts. Unfortunately, the only other pitcher on the staff that performed remotely well was closer Joakim Soria, who saved 30 games and posted a 2.21 ERA.
Team Outlook for 2010
The Royals came into the offseason with a lot of holes to plug (C, CF, LF), and did well to get some high-upside players for a couple of those positions. I liked the signing of Ankiel and Podsednik, as they are both low-risk, high-upside signings. If they don’t work out, they only spent about $5 M on the two players, and are only committed to them for the 2010 season. The most confusing move that they made was the signing of Jason Kendall. Kendall is a good catcher for a young pitching staff, and that part makes sense to me. It’s a good thing, in fact, because he’s highly unlikely to provide any offense at all. That’s essentially a black hole for offense. And this is on a team that has very little offense to speak of.
The team is hoping that the starting rotation will improve this season, and will also be giving reliever Kyle Farnsworth an opportunity to try to start in spring training. After Greinke, they have a lot of pitchers that should improve, but I’m not sure how much. Meche is probably very similar to what he performed like last year. Hochevar remains a mixed bag, with a lot of potential, but hasn’t really seen it show up yet. Bannister and Davies both seem to be reasonable innings-eaters, but not a whole lot else. Another player that the Royals are hopeful will rebound is 3B Alex Gordon. Gordon has been touted for a long time, and has been inconsistent at the Major League level to this point.
They do have some solid players coming down the line in Crow and Montgomery, but both are pretty far away still. It also remains to be seen how the long term plan works in Kansas City, as their best prospects realistically play the same positions as the young talents they already have. They really don’t have a whole lot of prospects for the outfield, and for a team that has had as many high draft picks as the Royals have, the minor league system seems unusually thin.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
Realistically, the only players on the Royals I’d want to own are Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, and Billy Butler. Beyond that, the offense is a pretty big black hole. The pitching staff is not a whole lot better. My only upside players I see are Scott Podsednik, who could provide some steals, and Rick Ankiel, but only if he can return to his power form.
Prediction for 2010
The Royals aren’t going to compete this year. I’m not 100% sure that they’re going to compete in the next 3 years. It seems really likely to me that some point in the next 2 years, general manager Dayton Moore is going to lose his job, because the performance is really not getting it done. I know it takes time to rebuild a system as bare as the Royals, but at some point they’re going to need to see improvement at the Major League level.
72-90, 4th in the AL Central