Editor’s note: We continue our countdown of how MLB’s 30 teams rank in terms of fantasy baseball assets. At No. 23, here’s Andy Behrens’ snapshot of the Kansas City Royals.
Seven years after we first hyped Jorge Soler and three seasons after the Cubs flipped him for Wade Davis, he finally broke out in the most massive way imaginable. It was as if he’d packed all the stats he failed to produce from 2014 to 2018 into a single monster campaign. Soler served as the Royals’ primary DH in 2019, allowing him to appear in all 162 games — a startling total for a guy who’d played only 182 over the previous three seasons combined.
He swatted an AL-leading 48 home runs for Kansas City, scoring 95 runs and driving in 117. He now enters 2020 as a plausible seventh- or eighth-round fantasy option, a good bet to deliver, say, an 85-35-90-.260 stat line. He can regress in terms of power and still be plenty useful.
Kansas City also features a pair of third-round-ish fantasy assets at the top of the order in Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield, power/speed combo players with middle infield eligibility. Mondesi has significantly more batting average downside, but also more base-stealing potential; he swiped 43 bags in just 103 games last year. KC ranked second in MLB in total stolen bases last season (117), but the team was generally bottom-five in things that actually tend to impact winning. As a team, the Royals slashed just .247/.309/.401 and hit only 162 homers. Not great.
Salvador Perez returns to the lineup after a season lost to injury (TJ surgery), and he’s been a relative bargain in fantasy drafts to this point (ADP 160.4). He’s still only 29 years old and had produced four straight 20-homer seasons before the injury. If he gets time at first base this year, a strong possibility, then he has a shot to lead all catchers in total at-bats.
The best advice we can give you regarding KC’s pitching staff is to stay away. Closer Ian Kennedy has modest late-round appeal, but that’s pretty much it for mixed leaguers. No need to mess with this team’s starters, except as desperation streaming options.