Kansas City Royals
SLEEPER All eyes are on Alex Gordon, and with good reason. You have to treat him as an outside-the-top-10 third baseman, but his ceiling is just short of the top five.
BUST David DeJesus is a fine ballplayer, but his talents do not translate very well to the fantasy game.
HITTER TO WATCH: Billy Butler, OF/DH Butler is one Mike Sweeney injury away from seizing the DH job in Kansas City; he's a right-handed slugger with big raw power, but shouldn't be allowed near a glove.
PITCHER TO WATCH: Luke Hochevar, RHP
Hochevar is expected to advance quickly as a command right-hander with four average or better pitches.
MLB Preview 2007
FIXED The trade deadline was minutes away last July, and Ryan Shealy thought he'd remain buried behind 1B Todd Helton. But then Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd called with the news that Shealy was headed to the Royals. "I couldn't have been happier," Shealy says. "I finally got the opportunity to play." He made the most of it, hitting .280 with 36 RBIs in 51 games. "Is he a superstar? No," says a veteran AL scout. "But he knows how to hit, and he's going to drive in a lot of runs, especially with Mark Teahen and Alex Gordon hitting around him."
NEEDS FIXING For a decade, KC's farm system was Death Valley for pitching prospects. Now? "Everything we do is going to be around signing and developing pitching," says GM Dayton Moore, who left the Braves to take over the Royals last year. "We'll never be able to win consistently unless we get pitching." He spent $55M on Gil Meche and $5.3M on Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft. But in a division with the Twins, Tigers and Indians -- who've had great success developing pitching -- Moore is just getting started.
To get face time with Royals fans, 20-year-old Billy Butler toured KC in
January. His gaudy minor league stats (.344 BA) could get the OF/DH a return
call this summer.
The 12-story scoreboard with 36,425 lightbulbs is cool. Ditto for the outfield geyser that's the largest privately funded fountain in the world. And yes, you can savor Gates BBQ and wash it down with a Boulevard brew. But those things aside, you get what you pay for at Kauffman Stadium.
"Their is potential all over the place in the Royals' system. In just a couple of years, the Royals could have the deadliest lineup in baseball."