2 Kansas City Royals

April 01, 2013

Enemy Lines

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE ROYALS

Will trading away Wil Myers hurt them for years to come? It might, but it was time for them to win now, and getting James Shields puts them in position to make a run. Shields is the one piece they've really needed: a veteran starter. He was such a huge clubhouse leader in Tampa Bay with the young pitchers, and he'll have the same influence in Kansas City.... The rotation is solid, but the bullpen is the strength of the team. They come at you with power, power and more power: Greg Holland, Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera.... Yordano Ventura is their secret weapon. He looks like a baby Pedro Martinez, and I've seen him throw 103 mph, with a power breaking ball. He could make the bullpen elite.... Eric Hosmer's bat speed and strength are still there; he just became too pull-happy. What he does best is go gap to gap.... Mike Moustakas got overaggressive in the second half. He needs to be more selective. I think he and Hosmer will make the adjustments this year.... They might have Alex Gordon lead off, but I don't like that. How can you have a guy who strikes out 140 times there? ... Salvador Perez isn't Yadier Molina yet, but he's very close. He'll be an All-Star catcher for years to come.... If you're going to contend you have to be strong up the middle, but they're not. Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz at second are well below average. Lorenzo Cain in center is adequate, but he can't seem to stay on the field.... They have the pieces to be good—it's going to be a dogfight with the White Sox and the Indians for second.

The Lineup

2013 Projected Statistics

MANAGER NED YOST

Fourth season with the Royals

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ROTATION W ERA WHIP K/9
RH JAMES SHIELDS 16 3.44 1.17 8.5
RH ERVIN SANTANA 10 4.05 1.26 7.4
RH JEREMY GUTHRIE 10 4.20 1.29 5.3
RH WADE DAVIS 12 3.93 1.31 6.3
LH BRUCE CHEN 11 4.58 1.35 6.3
BULLPEN SV ERA WHIP K/9
RH GREG HOLLAND 30 2.83 1.21 11.3
RH AARON CROW 4 3.20 1.24 9.2

NEW ACQUISITION

LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM

The K Meter

Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank

BY HITTERS | 16.8% | 1ST

BY PITCHERS | 18.8% | 21ST

Best Case

Dayton Moore is a genius! Shields leads the rebuilt rotation and the Royals make a run at a wild-card berth.

Worst Case

The G.M. is an idiot! Shields is a bust (while Wil Myers has a monster rookie year in Tampa), and the Royals lose 90 (again).

Albert Chen has more on the Royals at SI.com/mlb

Modest Proposal

By trading top prospect Wil Myers to the Rays to acquire righthander James Shields, the Royals cast their lot with rightfielder Jeff Francoeur for another season. Francoeur hit .235/.287/.378 last year and was, by baseball-reference.com's accounting of WAR, the worst every-day player in baseball. Instead of praying for a bounceback from Francoeur—who is 29 and hit .285/.329/.476 with 47 doubles in 2011—the Royals should hedge their bets by playing speedster Jarrod Dyson more often. Dyson, who was 30 for 35 stealing bases last year, had a .340 on-base percentage against righthanded pitching and played an above average centerfield. The Royals' offense needs Dyson's OBP more than it needs Francoeur's diminishing low-OBP power. And the team's starting rotation, which is improved but still likely to allow a lot of balls in play, would benefit from having Dyson in center and Lorenzo Cain in rightfield. Simply platooning Dyson and Francoeur (a .289/.341/.479 career hitter against lefties) would help make up for the loss of Myers.

PHOTOBRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHIELDS)James Shields PHOTOJOHN SLEEZER/MCT/ABACAUSA.COM (DYSON)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)