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2018 MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals

A look at the Kansas City Royals with fantasy baseball in mind.

Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 80-82
Runs: 24th
Home Runs: 20th
Stolen Bases: 10th
ERA: 20th
Saves: 14th
Strikeouts: 24th

2341... Two thousand three hundred and forty-one! That is the number of at bats the Royals have to replace after losing 4 of their biggest names this offseason. Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar. The Winter Meetings provided no clarity to the Royals solution for this so let’s try to break it down.

Let’s take a look at 2018.

The Superstar: ?

Sure, Whit Merrifield finished a top 25 player in 2017. I’m not drafting him in the top 100 next year. Danny Duffy took a step back in 2017, injury related or not. Salvador Perez is a top 10 option at catcher but has mediocore numbers when comparing him to other top 150 hitting options. The other huge downside to all these guys, they lost the bulk of their starting lineup. The Hosmer and Co departure hurts every remaining Royals player. I don’t see a superstar fantasy option on this team in 2018.

The Sleeper: Jake Junis

Over 98.1 IP, Junis had a 4.30 ERA 1.28 WHIP and a 7.3 K/9 in 2017. I expect the strikeouts to increase (8.0 K/9 in the minors) and I love the control. He had a 2.1 BB/9 and a 2.3 BB/9 in the majors. Junis is not a top 70 SP option right now but keep the name on your radar as he has solid streaming option written all over him.

The Guy to Avoid: Salvador Perez

Perez has been a mainstay as a top 10 fantasy catcher for several years now. 5 straight All-Star game appearances and numbers to support it. Two problems for Perez in 2018: 1) Kansas City ain’t what it used to be 2) Perez finished 2017 as the #209 overall player. Despite having his best season statistically, 27 HR 80 RBI .792 OPS, the overall impact Perez has on a fantasy roster is minimal. I don’t think his 2018 is going to come anywhere close either. This speaks to the catching position as a whole but I’m not drafting any catcher inside the top 100 with the exception of Gary Sanchez. Perez is worth a pick around #200 overall. He’s likely to be drafted around 50 picks sooner.

The Prospect To Watch: Eric Skoglund

I guess this is Skoglund but I don’t feel great about it. Skoglund probably makes the big league roster in 2018 because he’s 25 years old, had 5 starts in 2017, and the Royals have to fill out a big league lineup. In all seriousness, Skoglund is a high floor pitching prospect who could have fantasy value in deeper leagues and AL only formats. Skoglund pitched 6.1 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits and striking out 5 in his MLB debut back on May 30. His next 4 starts in 2017 resulted in 15 earned runs over just 7.2 IP. 17.61 ERA... not good. Skoglund has a 3.75 ERA over 4 seasons in the minors. I don’t expect him to light the world on fire but I can certainly see a solid 140 IP with a 4.50 ERA and 115 or so strikeouts in 2018 from Skoglund.