2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook
If you look at the additions to Kansas City, it is about what you expect from the Royals. Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, and Nate Karns can be serviceable arms here, but by no means are fantasy studs. That has been the case for most of the arms coming through Kansas City. They also added Jorge Soler, in exchange for Wade Davis, and brought in Brandon Moss. After losing Mike Moustakas for most of last season, he will return in addition to Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, and Eric Hosmer. This is probably a boring group in comparison to other team previews, yet they have their worth. Danny Duffy had an exceptional 2016 season, which caught many off guard. Duffy is the lead guy here, while the rest of the arms are going to be a bit matchup dependent.
Additions: Jorge Soler, Travis Wood, Jason Hammel, Brandon Moss, Nate Karns
Subtractions: Edinson Volquez
Kauffman Stadium is not a home run friendly park, but it does enhance extra base hits to both sides of the plate, and enhance singles to the right side. It ranked 27th in home runs and fifth in runs. This plays to a somewhat neutral park, but if you are chasing dingers, you should probably look elsewhere. This team won't hit many home runs, but will find their extra base numbers among tops of the league. Mike Moustakas was the only hitter to have an ISO over .200 last season, and that was in a shortened season. Lorenzo Cain did hit well for power off left-handed pitchers. The Royals defense plus this field makes it difficult for opposing teams.
|Lineup Order||Player||Position||2016 wOBA vs. RHP||2016 ISO vs. RHP||2016 wOBA vs. LHP||2016 ISO vs. LHP|
2016 Statistics Used
Pitching Outlook & Notes
DFS Rotation Grade: C
DFS Studs: Danny Duffy
The rotation gets a home run suppressing park, and a solid defense behind them. Kansas City has been known to ride average arms, in hope they can provide above average numbers. Danny Duffy was the standout arm last season, while the Royals basically filled Edinson Volquez's role with another Volquez, his name is Jason Hammel. Back to Duffy, he owned a 25.7% strikeout rate last season, and a 12.9% swinging strike rate. Duffy's new arsenal is doing him wonders, and that strikeout upside should be here to stay. Duffy is dominate against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .201 wOBA. If he can limit the homers against right-handers, Duffy can take another step in 2017.
Speaking of limiting home runs, Ian Kennedy found himself in Kansas City last season, and continued the trend of allowing the long ball. He had a 1.66 HR/9 in 2015, in Petco, then followed up 2015 with a 1.52 HR/9 last year. The low groundball rate is always going to present the chance for the long ball. Most of Kennedy's home runs allowed came away from home, and also in the first half. Kennedy was pounded by both sides of the plate, with a 35%+ hardball rate allowed to both sides of the plate. Kennedy will have his moments, but you likely won't find this guy in cash game considerations.
Jason Hammel was part of the Wrigley magic last year, rolling a 2.42 ERA at home, compared to a 5.33 ERA on the road. While Kauffman is somewhat friendly to pitchers, moving to the AL is a concern for Hammel. While he has been there before, the 34 year old is coming off a season where his production was all over the place. Hammel will be very matchup dependent, and we can hope he finds some home field magic. Nate Karns had a 24.2% strikeout rate, but a 10.8% walk rate. Karns had severe reverse splits, allowing a .375 wOBA to right-handers. Walks and a mediocre fastball have me concerned for Karns.
Lineup Outlook & Notes
DFS Stacking Grade: C
DFS Studs: Eric Hosmer
The Royals ranks 28th in team ISO last season, and 26th in wOBA. This offense isn't really a sexy one, despite some names that might catch your eye. Eric Hosmer hit 25 home runs last season, and drove in 104 runs. In comparison to other first baseman, Hosmer ranked 19th in ISO. Not particularly exciting. He is one of the better names on this Royals team, but in comparison to the league, it's more about pricing on slates. Mike Moustakas fits a similar build, and receives the same strategy as Hosmer.
Lorenzo Cain only played 103 games last season, after having a standout 2015 season. Cain brings a good mix of speed and power, but that power comes off southpaws. He had a .225 ISO against left-handed pitching, and just a .091 ISO against right-handers. Keep that in mind in 2017.
We have had back to back seasons with 20+ homers for Salvador Perez. As a catcher who shows off his power, he comes in a bit overpriced, and is a bit overhyped. He is a bit boom or bust, only carrying a .288 OBP. Don't get caught paying up for high price tag catchers.
Jorge Soler has the most pop out of the outfielders, yet a 25% strikeout rate, and a .238 average isn't going to win any awards. Until Soler starts making contact at even an average rate, he will remain a subpar option. The one thing he has on his side is moving to the middle of the Royals lineup, and should see a more consistent role.