Publish date:

13 Royals

Author:

TANKERS

SCOUT'S TAKE

KEY QUESTION

Losing Salvador Pérez [with a right-elbow injury] kills them. He's a big bat in their lineup, but behind the plate he's as valuable as any catcher. How much is it going to set back this young pitching staff? Jake Junis and Brad Keller are so important, it's a shame that they won't have Pérez to guide them.

UNDERRATED

He's not José Altuve, but Whit Merrifield isn't far behind. He hits all over the field, doesn't swing and miss much and can stay back on 0 and 2 and go the other way. The way he plays, you can see he just loves the game.

ON THE CUSP

He's supremely talented, but there's also such a wide variance in the Adalberto Mondesi who shows up every day. I love the aggressiveness, but he has to contain it; he can run into outs. He doesn't have a plan at the plate. The question is if he can put it all together.

LAST LICKS

He's a great players' manager, but Ned Yost is a little too wedded to old conventions. It's become a hindrance that he doesn't embrace the data available to him.... They have a ton of high-impact prospects in the minors—2022 is realistic for when they should compete.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

COMING OFF a 100-loss season, it's going to be another long year or three in Kansas City, where the heroes of the 2015 World Series champions have declined (Alex Gordon), moved on (Lorenzo Cain) or are sidelined for the season (Salvador Pérez). One bright spot, though, for a team that has struggled to develop its own starters is Jakob Junis. The 26-year-old righthander has thrown 275 innings with a 4.35 ERA over the last two seasons, leaning hard on a slider that he threw just over 40% of the time in 2018. This spring Junis has been working on his changeup to give him a better option against lefthanded batters, who have hit .278 against him while striking out just 18.2% of the time since '17 (as opposed to .251 and 23.2% for righties). A third pitch could also help solve the problems he's had the third time through the order, when he's been hammered (.303/.354/.534 in his career).

OVER UNDER

70.5

It was going to be grim in Kansas City before Salvador Pérez's injury. Even with MLB's fastest lineup, a second straight year of 100 losses looks inevitable.

LINEUP

SS Adalberto Mondesi

.276/14 HR/32 SB

2B Whit Merrifield

.304/.438 SLG/45 SB

LF Alex Gordon

.245/13 HR/ 12 SB

1B Ryan O'Hearn

.262/12 HR/.597 SLG

DH Jorge Soler

.265/9 HR/.466 SLG

RF Brian Goodwin

.239/6 HR/.390 SLG

3B Hunter Dozier

.229/11 HR/34 RBI

C Cam Gallagher

.206/1 HR/.250 OBP

CF Billy Hamilton

.236/4 HR/34 SB

BENCH

IF Chris Owings

.206/4 HR/11 SB

OF Jorge Bonifacio

.225/4 HR/.360 SLG

FANTASY BREAKOUT

Believe the hype. Over a full season, 22-year-old ADALBERTO MONDESI, has 15-homer, 40-steal potential.

ROTATION

LH Danny Duffy

8 W/4.88 ERA/1.49 WHP

RH Ian Kennedy

3 W/4.66 ERA/1.38 WHP

RH Jakob Junis

9 W/4.37 ERA/1.27 WHP

RH Brad Keller

9 W/3.08 ERA/1.30 WHP

BULLPEN

RH Brad Boxberger

32 SV/4.39 ERA/12.0 K9

RH Wily Peralta

14 SV/3.67 ERA/9.2 K9

LH Jake Diekman

4.73 ERA/1.50 WHP/11.1 K9

MANAGER

Ned Yost