We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Royals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of David Hill from Kings of Kauffman.
1) Alex Gordon spent the majority of the 2013 season hitting out of the leadoff spot in the Royals’ lineup. With the acquisition of Norichika Aoki, Gordon is now projected to hit fifth. Do you see Gordon’s fantasy value changing with this move?
Having four players that are essentially on base machines in front of Gordon in Aoki, Omar Infante, Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer should provide Gordon with plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. He had already displayed solid power previously as a leadoff hitter, and allowing him to hit down in the order should play more into the type of hitter that he is. The only real concern is that his hitting numbers have declined over the past two seasons.
Overall, his fantasy value should go up slightly, perhaps by a round or two. A batting line of .270/.340/.430 with around 20 home runs, 90 RBIs and double digit steals should be his expected production in 2014.
2) Mike Moustakas disappointed a lot of fantasy owners in 2013 with only 12 homers and a .233 batting average. What are some reasons you think the young third baseman will rebound in 2014?
Moustakas has struggled mightily against left handed pitching over his career. Those struggles continued in the Venezuelan Winter League, as he produced 259/.394/.296 batting line with one extra base hit against left handed pitching. While the Royals front office claims that they expect Moustakas to be an every day third baseman, the acquisition of Danny Valencia indicates otherwise. In fact, Valencia may be the biggest reason as to why Moustakas could improve this year. If he sits against left handed pitching, it is possible that his production will actually improve, even if he has fewer at bats.
3) While he struggled in the first two months of the season, Eric Hosmer really came to life from June forward, hitting over .300 with 16 homers and 8 steals. Do you think he can carry that momentum into the 2014 season and where do you think he ranks among fantasy first baseman?
The biggest change for Hosmer is that he started hitting the ball where it was pitched. Given that he was able to continue to hit that way throughout the remainder of the 2013 season, it is quite likely that his performance can carry over to 2014. Hosmer is generally considered to be ranked somewhere between sixth and tenth as a first baseman, but he may be able to crack the top five by the end of the year. If he is able to hit around .300 with 20 to 25 home runs in addition to his double digit stolen base potential and likely increase in RBIs, he could be a steal come draft day. As of now, he is likely the seventh or eighth first baseman off the board, with the potential for a lot more than expected.
4) Yordano Ventura is a really exciting young arm and Grey has already provided his outlook for him in 2014. How do you see him contributing to the Royals this year and why should he be on our radars?
Ventura certainly deserves to be on a lot of sleeper lists this season, but it is likely that any owners of the righty will need to wait until the middle of June to see their investment pay off. However, once he is recalled, he is likely to remain a fixture in the rotation through the rest of the decade. Throughout his minor league career, Ventura has struck out just under 10 batters per nine innings, while displaying solid control. In his brief time in the majors last season, Ventura averaged 97.74 MPH on his fastball, while displaying an excellent curve. If he is able to develop a third pitch that he can consistently get outs with, he could be a fantasy beast shortly after he is recalled.
5) Kansas City is known for its BBQ, and Billy Butler’s “Hit it a TON” BBQ sauce took the world by storm. Which Royals player is the next one to get their own sauce and what’ll they call it?
As a fan of spicy foods, there is nothing quite like spicy barbeque sauce. As such, Greg Holland would be the perfect candidate for a spicy chipotle barbeque sauce. Since he is a fireballer from North Carolina, a name such as “Greg’s Southern Heat” could be perfect.