Description: Royals starter James Shields will start Game 1 of the World Series.
Insight: Manager Ned Yost made the announcement on Saturday, and it should come as no surprise. Yordano Ventura will get the nod in Game 2, and will likely be followed by Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland selaed the deal for Kansas City in Game 4 of the ALCS.
Insight: He saved all four games of the series, and has six saves throughout the entire postseason. Kansas City's biggest strength is their bullpen, and they head into the World Series, yet to lose a game in the playoffs.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is batting clean up in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Orioles on Wednesday.
Insight: With the Royals on the verge of its first World Series trip in nearly 30 years, manager Ned Yost is not changing a thing. He is sticking with the exact same lineup that has won the first seven playoff games this postseason.
Description: In the Royals lineup, catcher Salvador Perez has had the most success against Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.
Insight: No one on the Royals has more than 10 at-bats against Gonzalez in their career, but in a small sample size, Perez is 4-for-9 with a home run. Outfielder Norichika Aoki is 1-for-3 versus Gonzalez, however, everyone else that has faced him is hitting below .200.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland made quick work of the Orioles in the top of the ninth in Game 3 of the ALCS for his third save of the playoffs.
Insight: It took Holland just six pitches to put the Orioles down in order. It was even more impressive given the fact Holland faced Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz and Steve Pierce. The perfect ninth just put a exclamation point on a superb performance from the Royals pitching staff. Kansas City retired the last 17 batters of the game and did not allow a hit after the third inning.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched five strong innings, allowing one run on three hits in the Game 3 victory over the Orioles.
Insight: Two of the three hits Guthrie allowed came in the second, and Baltimore scored on J.J. Hardy's double. Nick Markakis led off the third with a single and that was the final Orioles hit of the game. Kansas City is one win away from its first World Series appearance in three decades.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland allowed the tying run to reach base in the 10th, but Holland did eventually close the door on the Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Insight: Baltimore did all their damage with two outs. Ryan Flaherty hit a single, Jimmy Paredes walked and then Delmon Young singled to score Flaherty from second. Holland then retired Nick Markakis on a ground out to end the game.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer does not have a hit in his career against Orioles starter Bud Norris.
Insight: Hosmer has just five at-bats against Norris, but has yet to reach base against him. It will be tough taking him out of any playoff fantasy lineups, however, as he has been one of the best Royals hitters this postseason.
Description: Royals starter James "Big Game" Shields is not really living up to his name this postseason.
Insight: This is Shields' third outing for the Royals this playoffs and for the second time he failed to go past the fifth inning. He gave up four runs on 10 hits and walked a batter against Baltimore on Friday. Shields, however, is 1-0 in those three starts and Kansas City has won all three games.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit a home run in his second consecutive postseason game to help lift the Royals past the Orioles, 8-6, in extra innings of Game 1 in the ALCS on Friday.
Insight: Left fielder Alex Gordon smashed a solo home run to give Kansas City a one-run advantage in the 10th, and Moustakas added two insurance runs on his home run three at-bats later. Moustakas' homer proved to be the game-winner as Baltimore did rally to score a run in the bottom of the inning. After finishing dead last with 95 home runs during the regular season, Kansas City leads the playoffs with seven bombs.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the 10th inning to lift Kansas City over Baltimore, 8-6, in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday.
Insight: Gordon's home run broke a 5-5 tie in the 10th, but the Orioles came back to score in the bottom of the inning, so it was actually Mike Moustakas' two-run blast three at-bats after Gordon's solo shot that won the game. Gordon also had a bases-clearing double in the third on a broke-bat flair down the right field line. He is batting .316 with eight RBI in five postseason games.
Description: Royals second baseman Omar Infante may need right shoulder surgery after the season.
Insight: This shouldn't at all affect his status for the playoffs. Infante has been playing the whole season with soreness in his shoulder. The pain got much worse after the All-Star break. Infante will determine after the postseason whether or not he will need the surgery.
Description: Royals relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera (forearm) is expected to be available out of the bullpen for Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels on Sunday according to the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Herrera has a slight flexor strain in his right forearm that he suffered in Game 1 of the ALDS. He did not pitch in the 11 innings of Game 2, but the Royals appear willing to pitch Herrera on Game 3.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer may have a tougher time at the plate on Sunday than he has so far in the ALDS against the Angels.
Insight: Hosmer went 3-for-4 with the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning as the Royals took a 2-0 series lead on Friday. However, against Angels Game 3 starter C.J. Wilson, Hosmer is 2-for-11 in his career.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura redeemed himself on Friday night.
Insight: After giving up a three-run homer to Brandon Moss on Tuesday, Ventura came out and pitched a gem. He went seven innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and one walk, while striking out five. Ventura has some nasty stuff, and it was on display Friday against the Angels.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer played the role of hero in Friday night's win over Los Angeles.
Insight: He hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the 11th inning, with one out. Hosmer finished the night going 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Kansas City takes a 2-0 series lead back home, to try and close it out on Sunday.
Description: Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain was 2-for-6 with two RBI, two runs and a stolen base against the Athletics on Tuesday in the American League Wild Card game.
Insight: Cain doubled to start the scoring in the third and singled to begin the rally in the eighth. In both frames, he came around to score. Cain also had the second of five Kansas City steals in the eighth and ninth innings. The Royals will begin their series against the Angels on Thursday.
Description: Royals 1B/DH Billy Butler went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the American League Wild Card game against the Athletics on Tuesday.
Insight: Butler singled in the bottom of the first to drive in a run and then singled in the eighth to help Kansas City rally to close the deficit and eventually tie the game the next inning. The Royals will play the Angels in the ALDS starting on Friday.
Description: Royals starter James Shields allowed four runs over five plus innings in the Royals' 9-8 thrilling victory over the Athletics in the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday.
Insight: Shields tossed up a two-run bomb to Brandon Moss four batters into the game, but he settled down nicely to have a couple 1-2-3 innings. He started the sixth, but manager Ned Yost took him out after Shields allowed a single and walk to start the inning. Relief starting pitcher Yordano Ventura then gave up another home run to Moss and officially closed the book on Shields. Kansas City rallied in the eighth, ninth and 12th to win, 9-8. Shields expects to start Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels on Sunday.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a walk off single in the bottom of the 12th to finish off the Athletics and cap off a dramatic Kansas City comeback to defeat Oakland, 9-8, in the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday.
Insight: Perez was 0-for-5 before the single down the third baseline that scored Christian Colon with two outs. Perez had a chance to drive in the tying run from third base in the eighth with one out and failed to deliever but came through in the 12th. Kansas City advances to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALDS.
Description: Don't be surprised if IF Jayson Nix finds his way into the starting lineup against Oakland left-hander Jon Lester.
Insight: The utility infielder has done nothing all season, batting just 120 between Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Royals, but he's a career .308 hitter (8-for-26) with three home runs in their matchups.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched seven shutout innings, allowed four hits, struck out six and walked four as Kansas City beat Cleveland, 7-1, on Tuesday.
Insight: Ventura has had trouble with his control all season as he has not pitched a start without a walk since July 20, but other than that, his season has been solid. The 23-year-old is 14-10 with a 3.07 ERA in 179 innings this year. He is also 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA over his last six starts.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 with two RBI and scored two runs as the Royals defeated the Indians, 7-1, on Tuesday.
Insight: Gordon has been struggling a bit lately with just one hit over his last 19 at-bats, so it was nice to see him break out. Overall, Gordon has really slumped in September, hitting just .149/.278/.239 in the month.
Description: Royals pitcher Danny Duffy pitched six shutout innings, allowed six hits, struck out five and walked two to defeat the Indians, 2-0.
Insight: It was Duffy's first start since his one pitch outing against the Yankees on Sept. 6. His return is just in time as Kansas City makes its final push at the wild card and division title. Duffy is 9-11 with a 2.32 ERA in 147 1/3 innings this year.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland locks down 43rd save of season.
Insight: The entire bullpen came up huge for Kansas City, as they went 3 2/3 scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Holland sealed the deal with a perfect ninth and two strikeouts along the way. He is an elite option at the closer position.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie is good enough to earn 12th victory.
Insight: He went 5 1/3 innings allowing two runs (one earned), while striking out two. Guthrie is now 12-11 with a 4.28 ERA, but more importantly kept the Royals alive in their fight for a division title.
Description: Royals starter James Shields took a tough loss Saturday afternoon against Detroit.
Insight: He pitched extremely well, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, three runs, while striking out six. Unfortunately, Shields was matched up against Max Scherzer, who was slightly better. He heads into his next start with a 14-8 record and a 3.18 ERA.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is a .389 career hitter (14-for-36) with three home runs against Detroit ace Max Scherzer.
Insight: Not many players can say they own a 1.261 OPS versus last year's Cy Young Award winner. Gordon's numbers are down from his 2011-12 days, but he's still a productive outfielder at .268, 19 HR, 70 RBI, 83 runs scored and a favorable matchup.
Description: Royals pitcher Danny Duffy (shoulder) felt no pain during a light bullpen session according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Duffy remains hopefully to start on Tuesday against the White Sox. In order for that to happen, doctors still need to clear him. Duffy left his last start with shoulder discomfort after just one pitch.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 with a RBI-double and scored twice as the Royals beat the Red Sox, 7-1, on Saturday.
Insight: Gordon broke out of his slump as the left fielder came into the game hitless in his last 20 at-bats. He still was getting on base during that stretch though with six walks. Gordon is batting .269 with 19 home runs and 67 RBI this year.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched eight innings and gave up one unearned run on three hits to defeat the Red Sox on Saturday, 7-1.
Insight: It was a nice bounceback appearance for Guthrie, who gave up six earned runs on 10 hits in just two and 2/3 innings on Monday against Detroit. Guthrie has pitched eight innings and allowed one run twice in his last five starts. He is 11-11 with a 4.35 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 190 and 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is a career .455 hitter (5-for-11) against Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.
Insight: Gordon has also taken Buchholz deep once in his career. The left fielder is hitless in his last 13 at-bats so perhaps this matchup will get Gordon going again. He leads Kansas City with 19 home runs and 66 RBI.
Description: Royals starter James Shields pitched seven shutout innings against the Tigers on Wednesday as Kansas City moved back into sole possession of first place in the AL Central.
Insight: Shields limited Detriot to two hits and a walk while striking out eight. In hist last start, Shields pitched eight and 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Shields has allowed just one run in his last 22 and 1/3 innings. They call him "Big Game James" for a reason. "Big Game James" should remain in your fantasy lineup, no questions asked.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland (triceps) is questionable for Tuesday's game against Detroit.
Insight: He might still be held out as precaution, but manager Ned Yost said he would likely be available Tuesday The closer has 42 saves and supports a 1.60 ERA with 80 strikeouts and just 18 walks. If Holland is held out again, Wade Davis would be used in a potential save situation.
Description: An MRI taken on Sunday showed no structural damage to Royals starter Danny Duffy's left shoulder.
Insight: Duffy has rotator cuff inflammation according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. He hopes to miss just one turn in the rotation. Duffy left Saturday's game against the Yankees after just one pitch. He is 8-11 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 141 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Royals 1B/DH Billy Butler has gone 34-for-79 (.430) with five doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI against Tigers starter Justin Verlander in his career.
Insight: Butler sees the ball very well against Verlander. His OPS against the former AL MVP is 1.064. Butler did not play against the Yankees on Saturday or Sunday but returns to the DH spot for this matchup on Monday.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits, to defeat the Yankees, 2-0.
Insight: The only blemish was his four walks versus just two strikeouts, but Ventura impressed a day after the Royals lost starter Danny Duffy. Ventura has now won three straight starters to improve to 12-9. He also has a 3.25 ERA.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland (triceps) said he is available to pitch on Sunday according to Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star.
Insight: He might still be held out as precaution, but this is a very good sign for Holland owners. The closer has 42 saves and supports a 1.60 ERA with 80 strikeouts and just 18 walks. If Holland is held out, Wade Davis would be used in a potential save situation.
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy is dealing with a sore throwing shoulder according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Insight: Duffy left Saturday's game after one pitch due to shoulder discomfort. Duffy will undergo more tests, so more details should be released in the next 24 hours. Overall, not good for the AL Central leading Royals.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields pitched eight and 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits, striking out six and walking none, as the Royals beat the Yankees, 1-0 on Friday.
Insight: Shields picked up his first win in three starts but in his last two starts, Shields has pitched 15 and 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on eight hits. Shields is heating up just when fantasy owners need him. He improved his record to 13-7 and has a 3.23 ERA this year.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (hand) has been activated from the disabled list.
Insight: This move makes it tough on management because Billy Butler has hit much better since he started playing in the field. The 24-year-old Hosmer is hitting .267 with just six homers, 46 RBI, 45 runs and a .689 OPS in 409 at-bats this season, not good enough for a fantasy first baseman.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is a career .143 hitter (2-for-14) with one RBI against Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes.
Insight: Perez underwent a MRI on his knee last week and even though manager Ned Yost downplayed the injury, the all-star catcher is just 2-for-16 since the MRI. Wednesday is a tough matchup for Perez, so his struggles may continue.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon hit a walk-off two-run homer off Twins closer Glen Perkins Tuesday night.
Insight: The Royals hadn't scored all night until Gordon connected for his 16th homer of the season. He's hit seven balls out of the park in August and is a legitimate MVP candidate. He ranks second in the AL with 5.6 WAR.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (hand) has been cleared to swing a bat, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Hosmer, who is out with a fractured hand, hopes to begin a rehab assignment in a week. The 24-year-old is hitting .267 with just six homers, 46 RBI, 45 runs and a .689 OPS in 409 at-bats this season, not good enough for a fantasy first baseman.
Description: Royals designated hitter Raul Ibanez will get a rare back-to-back opportunity Monday, facing one of his old teams, the New York Yankees.
Insight: The 42-year-old has seen just 33 at-bats since the All-Star break. He was 1-for-4 Sunday. Josh Willingham (1-for-6 with three strikeouts versus Michael Pineda) will sit for a second straight day.
Description: Royals designated hitter Raul Ibanez hasn't seen an at-bat in over a week, but could get a shot Sunday in a favorable matchup.
Insight: The 42-year-old has only seen 29 at-bats since the All-Star break, but he's a career .471 hitter with two home runs versus Rangers starter Scott Baker. If he crack's the starting lineup he might be worth a flier. Update: He's in the starting lineup.
Description: Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura has walked 18 batters over 38 innings in his last six starts, but he's gone 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 37 Ks in that span.
Insight: Call it effectively wild. Ventura has been striking out batters at a good rate again after fanning just 35 in 59 innings from May 20 to July 20. He struck out 53 batters in 48 2/3 innings in his first eight starts, so the dropoff was unexpected for the young flamethrower. He's quietly gone 10-9 woth a 3.40 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP and 125 Ks. In a normal season, that would be good for Rookie of the Year, but Jose Abreu has had a rookie season for the ages.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez (knee) was to have an MRI Thursday.
Insight: He left Monday's game with knee soreness and is dealing with the issue again after catching a full game Tuesday. The Royals have Thursday off so Perez should be back in the lineup Friday at Texas unless tests reveal something.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez (knee) was scratched from Wednesday's lineup.
Insight: He left Monday's game with knee soreness and is dealing with the issue again after catching a full game Tuesday. The Royals have Thursday off so Perez should be back in the lineup Friday at Texas.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez left Monday's game with right knee discomfort, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: The Royals called it a "precautionary measure." We imagine all everyday catchers are dealing with knee soreness to a certain degree at this point in the season. A day or two off should do the trick.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez sat out Thursday afternoon's game against Oakland, but should be back behind the plate Friday versus Minnesota.
Insight: However, Perez is not a great play Friday as he's just 1-for-9 against Ricky Nolasco for his career. Perez has already set a career high for home runs (14), but his batting average is currently 24 points below his .291 career average.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez will sit out Thursday afternoon's game against Oakland.
Insight: Just a routine day off after a night game for the All-Star catcher. Perez has already set a career high for home runs although his batting average is currently 24 points below his .291 career average.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields has been everything the team hoped for both on and off the field when they traded for him in 2013.
Insight: Shields improved to 11-6 last Saturday with his first shutout as a member of the Royals. He's helped lead the suddenly hot Royals into first place with a 1.20 ERA and 0.866 WHIP over his last four starts.
Description: Royals starter Jason Vargas threw a three-hit shutout Wednesday against the Athletics.
Insight: Vargas is an extreme fly ball pitcher, but he's allowed just three home runs in his last 66 1/3 innings and they all came in one start on June 27. He's 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and a 96/29 K/BB in 143 1/3 innings this season following Wednesday's gem.
Description: Just acquired Kansas City left fielder Josh Willingham should probably not make his Royals debut against Jon Lester and the A's due to a poor matchup.
Insight: The 35-year-old will likely enter a DH platoon situation with Raul Ibanez, starting against lefties, but he's just 2-for-17 (.118) against Lester. Willingham is the DH for Tuesday's game against Oakland, batting sixth.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is just a .136 hitter (3-for-22) with eight strikeouts against Oakland left-hander Jon Lester.
Insight: Gordon has been on fire of late, batting .391 with three homers and a 1.019 OPS over the past dozen games, but this matchup should be avoided. Hopefully this one poor matchup won't kill his momentum.
Description: The Twins have shipped left fielder Josh Willingham to the Royals for a minor leaguer.
Insight: The Royals entered Monday just a half game behind the Tigers for first place in the AL Central and they needed another bat with Eric Hosmer on the shelf due to a broken hand. The 35-year-old will likely enter a DH platoon with Raul Ibanez, starting against lefties.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon has homered in three of his last four games.
Insight: Gordon hit zero home runs from June 22 to Aug. 6, a span of 33 games in which he batted .233 with seven RBI, 12 runs and a .600 OPS. He's raised his OPS from .766 to .793 over the last four games.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI Tuesday against Arizona.
Insight: Perez hit just .240 with just three extra-base hits in 96 at-bats last month, which sliced his OPS from .789 to .734. He's hitting .276 with 13 homers, 44 RBI, 45 runs and a .736 OPS after Tuesday's game.
Description: Royals starter Jason Vargas (emergency appendectomy) will start Saturday against Oakland, according to mlb.com.
Insight: Vargas, who last started on July 8, has gone 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 125 innings this season. He threw 60 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday, so he's not likely to throw more than 80-85 pitches Saturday.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas raised his average to .200 for the first time all season Friday night.
Insight: He went 1-for-4 with a homer, his 13th of the season, against the Indians. Moustakas has batted .268 with nine homers and an OPS north of .830 in his last 36 games after a putrid start to the season.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields has recorded a 2.02 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and a 28/3 K/BB in 26 2/3 innings over his last four starts.
Insight: Shields lasted seven innings and allowed one run on six hits while striking out seven in a no decision Wednesday at Chicago. He's back on track after getting roughed up in eight starts from May 24 to July 1 (5.66 ERA, 1.62 WHIP).
Description: Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura had a rough afternoon Sunday at Boston.
Insight: Ventura walked four, didn't strike out a batter and gave up six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander has struck out just 29 batters in 50 1/3 innings (5.19 K/9) since his elbow scare on May 26. He had a 9.26 K/9 in his first 57 1/3 innings this season.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez (groin) is not in the lineup Sunday, but he expects to be back Monday, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Perez is dealing with minor groin soreness. He had a terrific June (.347, 4 2B, 5 HR, 16 RBI) but has been subpar in the other three months. In July, Perez has batted .259 with one extra-base hit.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler has been one of Tigers starter Justin Verlander's biggest nemeses.
Insight: Butler is 33-for-76 (.434) with five doubles and two homers lifetime against Verlander. The DH is still hitting just .272 with three home runs and a .678 OPS this season, but he's a must-start anytime he's facing Verlander.
Description: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has put together a solid season for fantasy owners, but should be avoided Saturday afternoon, as he's 1-for-23 (.043) versus Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello.
Insight: Escobar has already matched his 2013 stolen base total (22) and is batting .283 with 41 runs scored and 28 RBI. His .709 OPS won't kill you either.
Description: Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki was activated from the 15-day disabled list and will lead off and play right field Friday night against Detroit.
Insight: Aoki (.263, 0 HR, 14 RBI) has recovered from a groin strain, but likely won't try to steal bases at first. Unfortunately without that speed, he doesn't present much of a value to fantasy owners.
Description: Royals trainer Nick Kenney said the team is prepared to be without starter Jason Vargas (emergency appendectomy) for three to four weeks, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Vargas has gone 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 125 innings this season. Bruce Chen will take his spot in the rotation, though newly signed veteran Joe Saunders may also be an option.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is a career .643 hitter (9-for-14) against Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.
Insight: Butler still isn't hitting with any power (2 HR) and he's even struggling with his average over the past 10 games hitting just .195 over that span. Its a great matchup, but the struggling hitter may not be able to take advantage.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI Monday at Tampa Bay.
Insight: Gordon (.269, 9 HR, 44 RBI) had just three hits in his previous 40 at-bats (.075). His inclusion on the 2014 AL All-Star team is as much about his defense as it is his hitting. According to FanGraphs, he leads baseball with a UZR of 23.9.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields threw his best start since June 8 Monday at Tampa Bay.
Insight: Shields struck out 10, walked one and allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings to improve to 9-4. He had a 5.66 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP and 33 Ks in 49 1/3 innings over his previous eight starts.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields has very good season-long numbers (8-4, 3.93 ERA), but he's struggled in his last three outings.
Insight: Shields has yielded four earned runs or more against Seattle, Minnesota and the Dodgers and faces a Tampa Bay team that has won 10 of its last 12 and averaged 5.08 runs per contest over that span.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI Friday at Cleveland.
Insight: Moustakas has nine home runs this season, but he's batting just .192 with a .624 OPS. The third baseman has the fly-ball rate of a power-hitter (47%), but he doesn't hit the ball in the air with authority enough and is only hitting .189 on balls in play.
Description: Royals starter Jason Vargas gave up six runs on nine hits over four innings against the Angels in his last start of June, but he rebounded with seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Twins.
Insight: Vargas (8-3, 3.32 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) has allowed five-plus runs in four of his 18 starts this season but two or less in 13 of them.
Description: Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain has racked up seven hits in 12 at-bats against Twins starter Kevin Correia, good for a .583 average.
Insight: Cain has gone 0-for-9 his last two games after going 19-for-48 (.396) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI from June 16-29, but he's still hitting .309 with three homers, 35 RBI, seven steals and a .776 OPS this season.
Description: Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain's four hits Sunday brought his average up to .322.
Insight: Cain has gone 19-for-48 (.396) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI over his last 12 games. He's benefited from a .392 BABIP, so look for his average to drop below .300 eventually.
Description: Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two steals Monday against the Dodgers.
Insight: Dyson (.305, 12 SB) has taken a starting job from Norichika Aoki and bumped Lorenzo Cain to right field. He has tremendous stolen base potential, having swiped 76 bags since 2012 despite getting just 610 at-bats in that span.
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy has allowed five runs on 14 hits with a 23/6 K/BB in 25 2/3 innings this month.
Insight: Duffy (4-6, 2.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) allowed two runs on three hits in seven innings Thursday at Detroit. The 25-year-old former top-100 prospect is starting to live up to his potential after being derailed by Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy doesn't have a winning record this season (4-5), but he's pitching very well of late.
Insight: Duffy has posted a 1.45 ERA, 0.857 WHIP and 18 Ks in 18.2 IP in his last three starts, winning two of them. With the Royals on fire, winning 10 straight, Duffy is an excellent option on Thursday.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie has lowered his ERA from 4.80 to 3.86 over his last seven starts.
Insight: Guthrie has struck out nine batters in two straight starts, winning both. He's posted a 2.85 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 0.57 HR/9 in his last 47 1/3 innings after giving up 11 home runs and recording a 4.80 ERA in his first 50 2/3.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-5 with a double, a homer and two RBI Tuesday at Detroit.
Insight: He came in with excellent numbers against Max Scherzer and added to them in the second and fifth innings Tuesday. The Royals' offense has suddenly turned on the juice and has averaged 7.4 runs per game during a nine-game winning streak. Gordon has batted .350 with seven homers, 22 RBI and 22 runs over his last 28 games.
Description: Kansas City right fielder Norichika Aoki left Tuesday's game with groin discomfort.
Insight: Aoki went 1-for-2 with a run prior to exiting and was replaced in right field by Lorenzo Cain, who was supposed to be getting the night off. Aoki has a .261 average and zero homers this season and doesn't do enough in the run or steal categories to make up for it.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is a carweer .381 (8-for-21) with two homers and a 1.143 OPS against Tigers ace Max Scherzer.
Insight: Perez (.281, 7 HR, 23 RBI) left in the seventh inning with leg cramps but not before extending his hitting streak to ten games. He should be okay for Tuesday's game and in all starting lineups as he's raised his average 21 points during his hot streak.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is a career .387 hitter (12-for-31) with a pair of homers against Detroit ace Max Scherzer.
Insight: The Royals scored a season-high 11 runs on Monday and Gordon was right in the thick of things with a double and two singles. His .286 batting average is a noticeable improvement from last year when Gordon hit just .265.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon shredded the Tigers for three hits on Monday night.
Insight: The Royals scored a season-high 11 runs on Monday and Gordon was right in the thick of things with a double and two singles. His .286 batting average is a noticeable improvement from last year when Gordon hit just .265 over 633 at bats.
Description: Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain smashed three hits in Monday's win over the Tigers.
Insight: Tonight was Cain's sixth game of the season with at least three hits. He's been a pleasant surprise for the Royals, hitting .310 across 168 at bats. Cain would probably be owned in almost every league if he had a little more power (2 HR this season).
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is a career .432 hitter (32-for-74) against Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander.
Insight: Butler still isn't hitting with any power, but he is batting .351 over his last two weeks (11 games). The combination of Butler and Salvador Perez could get it done against Verlander on Monday night.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI Saturday at Chicago.
Insight: Moustakas has gone 7-for-18 with two homers, five RBI and five runs his last five games. We're going to need to see a lot more than that to recommend using the 25-year-old, who has been consistently terrible at the major league level.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI Tuesday against the Indians.
Insight: Hosmer appears to be following the same path he took last season, when he hit .318 with 16 homers, 58 RBI and an .874 OPS in his last 98 games after batting .274 with one home run and 21 RBI through June 12. This season, he had one home run through June 6 but hit two in the past three games.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is not in Monday's starting lineup, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Just a routine day off. Perez (.271, 6 HR, 20 RBI) has batted .325 over the past two weeks to raise his average 12 points. He's still 25 points below his career average. Brett Hayes will make the start, but with an .086 batting average holds no fantasy value.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit his second home run of the season Saturday against the Yankees.
Insight: There's still time for Hosmer (.259) to turn his season around. He was hitting .274 with one home run and 21 RBI on June 12 last year but hit .318 with 16 homers, 58 RBI and an .874 OPS in his last 98 games.
Description: Royals left-hander Bruce Chen (lower back tightness) made his first rehab appearance with Double-A Northwest Arkansas Tuesday and threw three innings. Source: Dick Kaegel, MLB.com.
Insight: The 36-year-old Chen hadn't pitched in six weeks, but threw 46 pitches (35 strikes) while allowing eight hits and two runs, both solo homers. He struck out three and didn't walk anyone. When Chen's rehab is complete, the Royals will have a difficult decsion to make regarding his role given the way Danny Duffy has been pitching of late.
Description: Royals second baseman Omar Infante is a career .462 hitter (6-for-13) against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Not many hitters enjoy prolonged success against Wainwright, but Infante has handled the powerful right-hander well in 13 career at bats, with five singles and a double against him. Infante has been average, at best, this season and has only one stolen base through 38 games but could be a smart start tonight.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon homered for the second straight game Tuesday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Gordon was hitting .250 with one home run and a .655 OPS on May 17, but he's been on an absolute tear ever since. In his last 16 games, he's gone 21-for-57 (.368) with five home runs, 17 RBI, 12 runs, 10 walks and two steals.
Description: Royals starter James Shields didn't have good command Tuesday against the Cardinals and ended up allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Insight: Shields has allowed seven homers, walked six and given up 15 earned runs on 26 hits over 18 1/3 innings his last three starts. He's 6-3 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP and will try to turn things around Sunday against the Yankees.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas' minor-league exile didn't last long. Kansas City summoned him Sunday.
Insight: Danny Valencia went on the disabled list with a wrist injury. Moustakas hit .355 with a homer and a .960 OPS in eight games with Triple-A Omaha, but he'll return to a .152 average, four homers and a .543 OPS in the majors. He's yet to prove he's more than a Quadruple-A player.
Description: Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain had three hits, including a homer, and four RBI Friday at Toronto, but is not in Saturday's starting lineup.
Insight: Cain is batting .339 after collecting 12 hits in his last 25 at-bats (.480). His average is boosted by a .413 BABIP, so enjoy it while it lasts. The team will use left-hand hitter Jarrod Dyson against the young right-hander, Aaron Brooks, who will make his first career start.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is not in Saturday afternoon's starting lineup.
Insight: The 24-year-old has been a relative disappointment this season, hitting 37 points below his career average (.296) and hasn't had a multi-hit game in a week. He has been dealing with a thumb injury which could be the reason. Brett Hayes (.067) gets the start but has no fantasy value.
Description: Royals rookie starter Yordano Ventura (elbow) played catch Friday and will throw a light bullpen session Saturday, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Pitching coach Dave Eiland said Ventura "feels fine." If he gets through Saturday's session, he'll throw a full bullpen on Monday. He was diagnosed with a valgus stress overload following his last start, but he may have to miss only one start.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is just 1-for-12 (.083) against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
Insight: Thursday Escobar knocked out his first three-hit game of the season. However, he's had a rough go of it lately batting .229 over the past dozen games and Friday isn't likely to be a productive day.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar ripped three hits Thursday in a ten-inning win over the Blue Jays.
Insight: Tonight was Escobar's first three-hit game of the season. He's had a rough go of it lately (he was four for his last 23 coming into tonight's game) but perhaps Thursday will be the start of a turnaround for the 27-year-old.
Description: Royals rookie starter Yordano Ventura has a "valgus stress overload," according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Insight: The syndrome is a condition in which the repetitive stresses of throwing lead to deterioration in the elbow joint. It could be bad news for Ventura's future, which would be a shame because the 22-year-old's stuff is so electric.
Description: Royals pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer won't play catch for 6-8 weeks due to a lat strain, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: He's Kansas City's top prospect but hasn't pitched at all in 2014 after recording a 4.32 ERA and a 140/36 K/BB in 108 2/3 innings in the minors last season. We don't expect to see the 2012 fifth-overall pick in the majors this season.
Description: Royals rookie starter Yordano Ventura's MRI showed no structural damage to the elbow, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Insight: Ventura exited in the third inning on Monday after allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 2/3. He averages 96 mph with his fastball, but was throwing just 91 when facing his last batter of the night. He's expected to miss just one or two starts.
Description: Royals rookie starter Yordano Ventura will have an MRI on his elbow on Tuesday, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Ventura exited in the third inning on Monday after allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 2/3. He averages 96 mph with his fastball but was throwing just 91 when facing his last batter of the night. The official reason the team gave for Ventura's exit is "lateral elbow discomfort."
Description: Royals rookie starter Yordano Ventura left Monday's start with a possible injury, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Ventura exited in the third inning with Kansas City's trainer after allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in 2 2/3. He averages 96 mph with his fastball but was throwing just 91 when facing his last batter of the night.
Description: Royals infielder Danny Valencia missed Sunday's game against the LA Angels due to a sprained left hand.
Insight: Valencia, who has become the Royals everyday first baseman with the demotion of Mike Moustakas, could miss a couple of days, but at least there are no broken bones. He's batting .279 with a homer and seven RBI in 61 at-bats.
Description: Kansas City right fielder Norichika Aoki didn't start Sunday against the Angels, but did end up getting into the game as a pinch runner.
Insight: He dealing with a sore elbow, so the pinch-runner role doesn't necessarily mean he's coming back tomorrow. Lorenzo Cain gets most of the starts in right field for the Royals when Aoki is sidelined.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez won't be in the lineup Friday against Los Angeles. SOURCE: Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star
Insight: Perez's hand is still bothering him. If the injury lingers for much longer, he could be placed on the disabled list. Brett Hayes, who remains hitless on the season (0-for-22), will grab the start behind the plate.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has underachieved against White Sox starter Jose Quintana.
Insight: Gordon checks in with a .150 batting average against the left-hander. Even with eight RBI in his last three games, we wouldn't recommend starting Gordon (.271, 3 HR, 24 RBI) Wednesday versus Quintana.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has a nice matchup waiting for him Wednesday against Chicago.
Insight: He's hitting .421 against today's starting pitcher, Jose Quintana. It's pretty hard to justify owning Moustakas (.152, 4 HR, 17 RBI) at this point but if you do still have him, today would be a nice day to have him in your lineup.
Description: Royals starter Jason Vargas had a 5-0 lead after one inning Monday against the White Sox, but he failed to make it out of the fifth inning.
Insight: Vargas allowed eight hits, three homers and seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. The left-hander has had trouble with home runs throughout his career and has given up 10 in 64 2/3 innings this year. He'll take a 3.76 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP into his next start Sunday at Los Angeles, the team he pitched for last season.
Description: Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler was on his game Sunday versus the Orioles.
Insight: He contributed three hits including his seventh double of the season. Butler's average is up to .240. That's still underwhelming by his standards but it's an improvement from earlier this week when he was hitting .226.
Description: Alex Gordon led the charge Sunday in a win against Baltimore.
Insight: Gordon (.268, 3 HR, 22 RBI) finished the day with four hits, three runs scored, a pair of homers and six RBI. The Royals left fielder was started in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues so most owners were able to take advantage of his huge performance.
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was perfect for 6 2/3 innings before allowing a single to Adam Jones.
Insight: Duffy finished with seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball with two strikeouts and zero walks. The young left-hander has Tommy John surgery in 2012 and made just five appearances last year, but he's allowed just two runs on six hits in 17 innings since he took over for the injured Bruce Chen in the rotation.
Description: Royals left-hander Jason Vargas has allowed eight hits and two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings over his last two starts after giving up 21 hits and 12 earned runs over 11 1/3 his previous two.
Insight: Vargas limited the Rockies to two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday to earn his fourth victory. He has walked just 1.65 batters per nine innings this season, a career low.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez has gone 20-for-56 (.357) with three homers since his massive April slump.
Insight: Perez went 5-for-55 (.091) from April 11-25 and is still digging his way out of the hole. After going 2-for-4 with a solo homer Tuesday against the Rockies, the backstop is hitting .267 with four homers on the year.
Description: Royals starter James Shields ran his record to 5-3 with a win over the Rockies on Tuesday.
Insight: Shields held the high-powered Rockies to one run on five hits and struck out eight with zero walks in seven innings. He has a 2.54 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP this season. The right-hander had a strong year in 2013 as well but didn't win his fifth game until July 26.
Description: Royals second baseman Omar Infante didn't return on Saturday or Sunday and is questionable for Tuesday's game against Colorado.
Insight: He's sat out the last four games because of back stiffness. Manager Ned Yost is hopeful Infante won't require a stint on the disabled list. He's batting .267 with 19 RBI and 13 runs scored which puts him well up the list of second basemen.
Description: Royals second baseman Omar Infante isn't expected to return until Saturday at the earliest. SOURCE: Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star
Insight: He's sat out the last two games because of back stiffness. Manager Ned Yost is hopeful Infante won't require a stint on the disabled list. Among second basemen, only Arizona's Aaron Hill has produced more RBI than Infante this season (19 in 120 at bats).
Description: Royals right fielder Norichika Aoki collected three hits Wednesday in a win against San Diego.
Insight: It's his third three-hit game of the season. All three of the hits were singles. Aoki doesn't hit for much power (homerless in 127 at bats this season) and his OPS this year (.677) is well below his career average (.746). Despite the good game on Wednesday, Aoki isn't a particularly exciting fantasy option.
Description: Royals 1B Eric Hosmer smashed three hits in Wednesday's win over San Diego.
Insight: Hosmer had an excellent series, going 7-for-15 with seven RBI during the team's three-game visit to Petco Park. His batting average is now up to .306 for the season. That's tied for 14th-best in the American League.
Description: Royals starter James Shields was on fire Wednesday against the Padres.
Insight: Shields (4-3, 2.70 ERA) scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings. He's now 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA over his last five appearances. Take away an eight-run outing against the Tigers last week and that ERA dips to 1.05.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit his first homer of the season Monday at San Diego.
Insight: Hosmer went 3-for-6 with three RBI in the game and is hitting .296 with a .754 OPS this season. The first baseman also went all of April last year without hitting a homer and had just one in his first 61 games but finished with 16 in his last 98.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is still looking for his first homer this season.
Insight: He went 0-for-5 Sunday against the Tigers and is batting .286 with a .717 OPS. The first baseman also went all of April last year without hitting a homer and had just one in his first 61 games but finished with 16 in his last 98.
Description: Royals left-hander Jason Vargas has allowed 21 hits and 12 earned runs in his last two starts (11 1/3 innings).
Insight: Vargas had a 1.54 ERA after his first five starts but he's up to 3.50 after giving up seven earned runs on 11 hits in five innings Sunday against the Tigers. If you still have a chance to sell him based on his sub-4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, do it. He doesn't strike out many batters (5.05 K/9) and is homer-prone.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas is not in Thursday's starting lineup versus Toronto.
Insight: Moustakas, was hot about a week ago, but has reverted back to the sub .200 hitter he has been for most of the season. After going 2-for-18 over the past five games, he's down to .149. Danny Valencia (.286) will start.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura was electric Friday at Baltimore.
Insight: The flamethrower held the O's scoreless and struck out eight over eight innings in a 5-0 win. Ventura gave up four runs on six hits and walked four over four innings in his previous start but otherwise has been excellent this season. Overall, he's 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 27 Ks in 25 innings.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler went 0-for-4 Thursday at Cleveland and his average is back down to .195.
Insight: Butler had a streak of productivity (9-for-27), but he's gone 0-for-8 his last two games. The lead-footed DH has a career-high ground-ball rate of 65.1 percent, a career-worst 18.4 percent K rate and just two extra-base hits (zero HR) this season.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is not in Thursday afternoon's starting lineup.
Insight: Perez was zero for his last 21 going into Wednesday's game, but did hit his first home run of the season. He's a .292 career hitter, but has started off slowly, batting just .213 through the first 20 games.
Description: The suddenly hot-hitting Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has a favorable matchup on Thursday.
Insight: Moustakas, who has homered in the last two games and has has four homers and 10 RBI over his last eight games, is a career 6-for-12 against Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber. You won't hear this often, but start Moustakas.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas homered for the second straight game Wednesday at Cleveland.
Insight: Moustakas has drilled four homers and driven in 10 runs over his last eight games but he's still just 11-for-69 (.159) this season. This is the second straight year he raked in spring training and then got off to an ice cold start.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer blasted four hits Tuesday in an 8-2 win over Cleveland.
Insight: Hosmer hasn't found his home run stroke yet (still homerless in 74 at bats) but who needs the long ball when you're hitting over .300? Here's another thing Hosmer owners should be thrilled about: the 24-year-old has just six strikeouts in 19 games. With a contact rate like that, Hosmer should be in for a great season.
Description: Royals starter Yordano Ventura picked up his first career win Tuesday at Houston.
Insight: Ventura touched 100 mph with his fastball and struck out seven batters over seven innings. He gave up four hits and two runs (one earned) and has a 0.69 ERA and 13 Ks in 13 innings this season.
Description: Royals left-hander Jason Vargas has a 1.64 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP in 22 innings this year.
Insight: Last year, the Royals acquisition of Angels starter Ervin Santana worked pretty well, so they decided to try it again with Vargas. The 31-year-old had a 4.02 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 150 innings last year and has never had an ERA better than 3.78 in a season. The extreme fly-ball pitcher is a good match for the Royals, who have two of the best defensive outfielders in the AL in Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, but he won't keep up what he has done so far.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon had a big day at the plate Wednesday against the Rays.
Insight: Gordon had two hits, including a homer, and four RBI in four at-bats. The left fielder has averaged 19 homers, 80 RBI, 95 runs and 13 steals over the past three years. He's batting lower in the order this year, so expect fewer runs and more RBI.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will hit the bench Sunday with Chris Sale on the mound for Chicago, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: The Royals acquired Danny Valencia for his ability to hit lefties, and he'll start Sunday. A second straight scorching spring training has led to a second straight ice cold April for Moustakas, who is 0-for-15 this season. It's still early, but fantasy owners don't have much patience for the 25-year-old third baseman after underwhelming seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has gone 4-for-20 with seven strikeouts against White Sox starter Chris Sale.
Insight: A second straight scorching spring training has led to a second straight ice cold April for Moustakas, who is 0-for-15 this season. It's still early, but fantasy owners don't have much patience for the 25-year-old third baseman after underwhelming seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Description: Royals starter Bruce Chen surrendered one (unearned) run and struck out seven batters in 6 1/3 innings Saturday against the White Sox.
Insight: The 36-year-old Chen has been around since 1998 and owns a career ERA of 4.47, but he had a 3.27 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 121 frames last year (3.61 ERA, 1.08 WHIP in 87 1/3 innings as a starter).
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler went 1-for-2 with two RBI Saturday against the White Sox.
Insight: Butler has gone 3-for-12 with two RBI, four walks and zero strikeouts in his first four games. The 27-year-old tailed off from his career year in 2012 and hit .289 with 15 homers, 82 RBI and a .786 OPS last season.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is hitless in nine at-bats against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez.
Insight: Perez has gotten out of the gate quickly, batting .714 (5-for-7) through the first two games. He's a career .304 hitter and has the talent to hit 20 homers, but this is an unfavorable matchup.
Description: Royals left-hander Jason Vargas gave up five hits and one earned run while striking out six in seven innings Wednesday at Detroit.
Insight: Vargas joined the Royals this offseason after spending one year with the Angels. The lefty is an extreme fly-ball pitcher who is prone to homers and doesn't strike many people out. He went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 150 frames last season and is best left for AL-only owners.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez crushed four hits Monday in a season-opening loss to Detroit.
Insight: Perez has quickly become one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. Since making his debut in 2011, the Royals backstop is hitting .304 with 27 HR and 141 RBI in 937 at bats. Three of his four hits Monday came off former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hasn't had much luck against Justin Verlander in the past.
Insight: Moustakas is hitting a dismal .182 against Verlander in 33 at bats. Third base isn't a deep position this year but there are certainly much better options than Moustakas (.233, 12 HR, 42 RBI in 2013). Leave him on your bench today.
Description: Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler loves facing Justin Verlander.
Insight: Somehow, he's managed a .441 batting average against him in 68 at bats. Butler's fantasy value is tough to gage because he isn't eligible at first base in all formats but he's certainly worth starting today against Verlander.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez does not have a concussion and says he is fine, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Perez took a curveball off his helmet behind the left ear on Wednesday and walked off under his own power. The 23-year-old hit .292 with 13 home runs, 79 RBI and a .756 OPS in 138 games last season and has a career .301 average in 933 at bats.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez took a curveball off his helmet during an at-bat and left Wednesday's game, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Perez walked off under his own power and will presumably be checked for a concussion. The 23-year-old hit .292 with 13 home runs, 79 RBI and a .756 OPS in 138 games last season and has a career .301 average in 933 at-bats.
Description: Royals starter James Shields has struck out 24 batters without issuing a walk in 20 2/3 innings during spring training.
Insight: Shields had a 3.15 ERA, a 1.24 ERA and a 196/68 K/BB in 228 2/3 innings last season. He has thrown at least 203 1/3 frames in each of the last seven seasons and is a very safe mid-tier option who is undervalued (Yahoo ADP: 94).
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy will begin the year in the minors.
Insight: Duffy lost the fifth spot in the rotation to Yordano Ventura. The hard-throwing Duffy's career was been set back by Tommy John surgery, but he returned to post a 1.85 ERA and 22 Ks in 24 1/3 innings last season. He'll be the first pitcher called up if Kansas City needs an injury replacement in the rotation.
Description: Kansas City second baseman Omar Infante received a cortisone shot in his elbow on Tuesday. SOURCE: Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star
Insight: This comes just a week and a half after dealing with shoulder inflammation. None of this bodes well for the 32-year-old after missing more than a month last season because of a sprained ankle. If by some miracle Infante recovers quickly and can stay relatively healthy throughout the season, he could hit close to .300.
Description: According to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, the Royals will likely name Yordano Ventura to their starting rotation as early as this week.
Insight: MLB.com's No. 35 prospect in all of baseball possesses an upper-90s fastball and struck out 155 batters in 134 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season before posting a 3.52 ERA and 11 Ks in 15 1/3 innings with the Royals. He has been dominant this spring and should be drafted in all leagues.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, hoping to rebound from a sub par 2013, is batting .500 this spring with four homers and a 1.595 OPS.
Insight: Yes, we know its spring training, but anything that Moustakas and his fantasy owners can hang their hat on is a good thing. This best thing about his 28 spring at-bats is he's struck out just four times.
Description: According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves could make a run at Ervin Santana.
Insight: The Blue Jays, Orioles and Twins have already offered Santana a deal, but the Braves could jump in late following injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Going to the National League and facing teams like the Marlins and Mets frequently would be great for Santana's fantasy value.
Description: Kansas City has parted ways with veteran righthander Brad Penny. SOURCE: Jerry Crasnick, ESPN
Insight: Penny was having an awful spring training (15.75 ERA in two appearances) and the fact that he punched a wall and hurt his hand probably didn't help matters. The two-time All-Star hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2012 and we'd be surprised if he ever does again.
Description: Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and will be shut down for at least two weeks, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Manager Ned Yost said the best-case scenario is that Hochevar will be able to return by late-May or June, but he'll have to undergo Tommy John surgery if rest doesn't help. Hochevar, the 2006 first-overall pick, was a failed starter, going 38-59 with a 5.39 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in his first six seasons, but he was excellent in relief last season, throwing 70 1/3 innings and posting a 1.92 ERAm a 0.83 WHIP and 82 strikeouts. The team was expected to give him another look in the rotation this spring, but that plan is out the window even if he is able to avoid surgery.
Description: A source told Ken Rosenthal that Ervin Santana would rather sit out until after the MLB Draft in June than accept a one-year contract like Nelson Cruz' $8 million deal with the Orioles.
Insight: Teams have been hesitant to sign Santana because of the draft pick compensation attached to him. That compensation disappears after the draft. The right-hander pitched for the Royals last season and turned down their $14.1 million qualifying offer.
Description: The Royals officially released infielder Emilio Bonifacio on Wednesday. SOURCE: Chris Cotillo, SB Nation
Insight: He was placed on waivers earlier this week. Bonifacio is gifted with elite speed but not much else. His career batting average is only .262. We'll see if he catches on with someone in time for spring training.
Description: After striking out with Bronson Arroyo, the Orioles have now shifted their attention to signing righthander Ervin Santana. SOURCE: Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun
Insight: Santana, A.J. Burnett and Ubaldo Jimenez are probably the three best starters left on the market now that Arroyo has signed with the Diamondbacks. Baltimore would have to give up a draft pick to sign Santana (9-10, 3.24 ERA in Kansas City), which is probably why he remains unsigned despite the fact that pitchers and catchers report to camp in less than a week.
Description: The Royals designated utilty man Emilio Bonifacio for assignment on Saturday. SOURCE: Pete Grathoff, Kansas City Star
Insight: That opens up a roster spot for lefthander Bruce Chen. Bonifacio lost his spot at second base when the team inked Omar Infante to a four-year contract earlier this offseason. The 28-year-old is just a .262 lifetime hitter but he's an intriguing fantasy possibility because of his elite speed and positional flexibility.
Description: The Orioles, Twins and Yankees have all requested medical records for righthander Ervin Santana. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: That doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to sign with any of them but there does appear to be some interest. Any team that signs Santana (9-10, 3.24 ERA) will have to give up a draft pick, which may be why he hasn't generated much interest on the open market this winter.
Description: Veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez has accepted a minor league deal with Kansas City. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: The deal includes an invite to spring training. Hernandez saw just 17 games of action last season, connecting on three homers in 48 at bats for the Dodgers. The best case scenario is that he backs up Salvador Perez (.292, 13 HR, 79 RBI) next season.
Description: Second baseman Omar Infante is headed to Kansas City. SOURCE: Buster Olney, ESPN
Insight: He signed for four years and about $30 million. The Yankees were also in on him but they only offered Infante three years and $24 million. Infante hit .318 for the Tigers last year but is just a .279 career hitter. Expect him to come back to Earth a little in 2014.
Description: Outfielder Norichika Aoki has been traded from Milwaukee to Kansas City.
Insight: Aoki hasn't shown a lot of power, but he's averaged 25 SB in his to seasons with Milwaukee. If he earns a spot at the top of the Royals lineup he could have a solid value as a No. 3 fantasy outfield. He's a career .287 hitter with a .355 OBP and a .755 OPS.
Description: The Royals added minor league RP Michael Mariot to their 40-man roster.
Insight: Mariot had 11 saves with a 3.56 ERA and 1.385 WHIP in the minors last season. The move was to protect him from being a Rule 5 Draft casualty. The Royals already have an excellent closer in Greg Holland (47 saves, 1.21 ERA, 0.867 WHIP) so Mariot likely doesn't have much fantasy value in 2014.
Description: The Kansas City Royals signed Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract Thursday.
Insight: After four seasons with Seattle, Vargas fired 150 innings and went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 24 starts with the Angels in 2013. He'll presumably take former Angel Ervin Santana's spot in the Royals rotation. He's a mediocre fantasy option due to his high WHIP and lack of Ks.
Description: Starting pitcher Ervin Santana is aiming for a five-year, $112 million contract in free agency. SOURCE: Jon Heyman, CBS Sports
Insight: That's simply not going to happen. Anibal Sanchez settled for a five-year, $80 million deal last offseason and he's twice as good as Santana. The righthander turned down Kansas City's qualifying offer, which means that whoever signs him will have to give up a draft pick.