KC Royals Fantasy Heroes: Lorenzo Cain Flashes Power Upgrade


The KC Royals lost their second consecutive game in a 8-5 defeat to the Twins Thursday afternoon, despite a three-RBI day from center-fielder Lorenzo Cain.

Cain’s day included a two-run home run and a double, which continues his early-season trend of hitting for more power through the first nine game of the 2015 season.

The Kansas City Royals dropped their second straight game after right fielder Alex Rios suffered a broken hand on Monday. The Royals were undefeated with Rios in the lineup.


Lorenzo Cain enjoyed a terrific 2014 season, accumulating 5.0 bWAR (wins above replacement, where an average starter produces about 2.0 WAR). Most of his value came from his defensive prowess, but Cain also produced an OPS+ (adjusted on base plus slugging) of 108 (8% above league average).

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So far this season, Lorenzo Cain has hit .429/.512/.714 with 4 doubles and 2 home runs,

Many analysts believed that Cain was unlikely to maintain his production in 2015 due to an unsustainable .380 BABIP (batting average balls in play) last season.

However, they did not count on Lorenzo Cain improving at the plate.

Throughout his career, Cain has hit about 50% of his batted balls on the ground, which limited his ability to get extra-base hits. This season, Cain is hitting only 32% ground balls.

Fangraphs.com’s Jeff Sullivan wrote an extensive analysis that included images of Lorenzo Cain’s swing plane on Thursday against the Twins. Cain appeared to be attempting to elevate the ball.

As a prospect, a few analysts saw Cain’s upside as sort of Torii Hunter lite. While we have seen defense from Lorenzo Cain that compares to a youthful Torii Hunter in center and right field, he has never hit more than seven home runs in a season. Now, Lorenzo Cain appears as if he might hit for enough power to validate those Torii Hunter comparisons.

Lorenzo Cain might still be available in some shallow fantasy leagues. If so, he might be worth grabbing. Cain will help you in stolen bases, and could hit for enough pop that he’s useful as a fantasy player. He looks like he could hold on as KC Royals no. 3 hitter, which should boost his RBI potential.

Lorenzo Cain won’t maintain his early slash line, and he probably won’t hit .301 like he did last season. Yet, his early results, plus his adjusted swing plane, make him a good bet to significantly increase his fantasy value—perhaps even enough to start in a 10-team league.


KC Royals hitters produced 10 hits and 5 runs on Thursday, but the pitching staff let them down. Even so, it was nice to see the Kansas City Royals offense bounce back after a one run output on Wednesday.

While the Royals are unlikely to maintain their early-season scoring pace (58 runs in nine games), they look like a much better offense than last season.

Lorenzo Cain was the big dog, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning that gave the Kansas City Royals a brief 2-0 lead. Cain finished 3 for 4, with a 1 single, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 walk, 3 runs scored, and 3 RBIs (11).

Mike Moustakas continues to hit, going 2 for 5 with 1 single, 1 double, and 2 runs scored.

Salvador Perez also chipped in with 2 hits, going 2 for 5 with 1 single, 1 double, and 1 RBI (10).

Alcides Escobar failed to get a hit on the day, breaking his 17-game hitting streak that extended into last season.


Jason Vargas had a rough day in his second start of the season, lasting only 3.0 innings and giving up 10 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk, with only 1 strikeout. Vargas left in the 4th inning after allowing putting three runners on base. He also took the loss (1-1).

Jason Frasor entered in the 4th inning and managed to escape a base-loaded situation without allowing a run. Frasor’s feat preserved a 5-3 deficit. Frasor pitched one complete inning.

Chris Young entered in the 5th and pitched 3.0 innings while allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 earned runs.

Ryan Madson pitched the 8th inning, allowing 2 hits and 1 earned run with 1 strikeout.

The three earned runs allowed by Young and Madson broke an eight-game scoreless string from the KC Royals bullpen.


The Kansas City Royals return home to open a three-game series against the Oakland A’s. The Royals will send Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 5.14 ERA) to the mound, against Oakland’s Sonny Gray (1-0, 0.59 ERA). Game time 7:10 PM CST at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Friday, April 17.

Next: The KC Royals Venezuelan Connection

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