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Players To Watch: Kansas City Royals

Let's see what the Royals have to offer mixed leagues in 2011...

  • Billy Butler, 1B.  Took a mild step back in power in his age 24 season.  I don't see why Butler can't provide a .300-20-100 season next year, and fantasy leaguers sometimes take him early in case he's ready to truly break out.  He trimmed strikeouts and improved his walk rate this year.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt, SS.  16 homers and 78 RBIs, that's a quality mixed league shortstop.  Six of his homers were "just enoughs," so maybe look for 10 bombs in 2011.
  • Mike Aviles, 2B.  He qualifies at shortstop too if your league uses a 10-game requirement.  Nice bounceback year for Aviles, who had a lost 2009 due to elbow surgery.  He's got a little pop, and he attempted to steal over 15% of the time he was on first base.  Quality middle infield sleeper.
  • David DeJesus, OF.  His best season was cut short in July due to thumb surgery.  He's always provided sneaky value in average and runs.
  • Wilson Betemit, 3B.  Massive .297/.378/.511 line in a half season.  He won't do that again, but he could certainly hit 20 home runs given 600 plate appearances as the team's regular third baseman.  Think about him for your CI slot if it's really, really late.
  • Alex Gordon, OF.  Only played 10 games at 3B this year.  He says he's going to "dominate" next year, and I could see him matching Ned Yost's 20 home run, 80 RBI suggestion.  If he runs a little and his average isn't horrible, there could be some value.  You'll be able to get him late.
  • Kila Ka'aihue, 1B.  Another huge year at Triple A, as well as six home runs in the bigs in the final month.  There's at least some chance of 25+ home runs and a quality OBP.  If he appears to be in line for regular duty come March, take a look.
  • Zack Greinke, SP.  Unless he's traded to the Yankees or something, he could be a nice value pick next year.  SIERA puts him at 3.70 this year as opposed to his 4.17 ERA.  He admitted in September that he felt burnt out and unmotivated at times, so there is a mental component.  Certainly capable of a sub-3.00 ERA again.
  • Luke Hochevar, SP.  We talked about him yesterday - interesting, but no need to draft him.
  • Gil Meche, SP.  Also not worth drafting.  Maybe a healthy Meche could give you another 2008, but his shoulder probably won't allow 30 starts.  He could end up as Soria's setup man and therefore a dark horse for saves.
  • Joakim Soria, RP.  He may be the game's best closer; he should go earlier than the ninth round this time.
  • Mike Montgomery, SP.  Well-regarded 21-year-old lefty prospect.  He was decent at Double A, and could have some big league success in 2010, but I'd be surprised if he made a fantasy impact.
  • Mike Moustakas, 3B.  Recently turned 22; hit .293/.314/.564 with 15 home runs in 236 plate appearances at Triple A.  He was incredible at Double A and could be an immediate .300, 25 home run threat as a rookie.  I imagine he'll start at Triple A.  Keep an eye on his performance and prepare for a potential June call-up.
  • Eric Hosmer, 1B.  Just 21, he finished the year at Double A.  Hosmer has mammoth power, slugging .615 with 13 home runs in 211 PAs there.  If Ka'aihue struggles and Hosmer is raking, the Royals could bring him up.  Like Moustakas, he could make an impact right away.

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