Kansas City Royals: Crushing Fantasy Expectations

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Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) – Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Seven of the nine Kansas City Royals offensive starters are currently owned in over 90% of standard ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. Once Alex Rios returns from the DL, that will make eight, and now with Omar Infante finally starting to hit, we could be looking at a fully owned squad in no time.

Five years ago, with the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt and a 34-year-old Jose Guillen hobbling around, there would’ve probably been just one guy consistently owned across leagues. With the quality of both the team as a whole and individual players increasing dramatically in the past three seasons, Royals hitters and pitchers now fill fantasy rosters across the nation. By and large, they’ve been crushing it so far this year.

Let’s take a look at how Royals players are panning out so far in fantasy compared to their expectations.

Salvador Perez

Salvador Perez is currently second among catchers on ESPN’s Player Rater, but that doesn’t mean last year’s fatigue still isn’t on everyone’s mind. After the All-Star break last year, Salvy slashed a putrid .229/.236/.360 in 253 ABs.

With an OBP seven points higher than his average, the catcher walked just three times in the second half of the season, a feat I must imagine could be mimicked by many of those reading this very post. The consensus was that Ned Yost had worn the kid out, having him catch in 146 games in the regular season (10 more than anyone else), followed by another 15 in the post-season.

After a shortened winter due to the Kansas City Royals’ playoff run, it was easy to be skeptical about which Salvy would emerge to start 2015. For a guy who could’ve been drafted after the first ten rounds (his ADP is 122 for standard ESPN leagues), I’d say owners must be fairly pleased at this point.

Honestly though, as good as the numbers look so far (after Tuesday’s game, he’s batting .333 with 13 RBIs), he still just has two walks, one of which was intentional. His .343 BABIP is unsustainable, and as the season continues we might see his plate discipline decline even more.

Right now he’s a top five fantasy catcher, but who can say what will happen in the second half? The one thing fantasy owners know is that Salvy will offer plenty of ABs and put the ball in play (Sal had just 85 Ks last year), but time will tell whether he can be trusted all year.

Next: The Moose Is Loose