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: 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.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is a .150 lifetime hitter against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. UPDATE: Gordon is not in the lineup Sunday.
Insight: Gordon's average is just .265 this season but he has kept his fantasy value up by scoring 90 runs, stealing 11 bases, slugging 20 home runs and driving in 81 runs. However, he's batting .167 over his last nine games and is 3-for-20 against Quintana.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has struggled against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana, Sunday's scheduled starter.
Insight: After a down year in 2012 and a poor start to this season, Hosmer has really turned things around and become a strong all-around fantasy first baseman. He has hit .302 with 17 homers, 79 RBI, 86 runs, 15 steals and an .801 OPS, but he's unlikely to end his season on a high note Sunday.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has hit .195 with a .572 OPS in September but he'll finish the season with a strong matchup Sunday.
Insight: Moustakas has hit .421 (8-for-19) with three doubles and two round-trippers against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. He has failed to live up to expectations during his time in the big leagues but it would be nice if he had a big game to wrap up this disappointing season.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields struck out 10 batters and allowed one run on four hits over seven innings Friday night against the White Sox.
Insight: Shields has struck out 10 batters in two of his last three starts and is 7-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 65 K in 68 innings over his last 10 outings. Shields is a big reason why the Royals have a winning record for the first time since 2003; the team went 21-13 in his starts. He'll finish with a 13-9 record and a 3.15 ERA in 228 2/3 innings.
Description: Kansas City starter James Shields tossed eight shutout innings Sunday in a 4-0 win over Texas.
Insight: Shields has been a great pickup for Kansas City. In 33 starts, he's 12-9 with a 3.21 ERA and 186 strikeouts. The righthander is slated to make his final start of the regular season (the Royals still have a 4.6 percent chance of making the playoffs) Friday versus the White Sox.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has gone 7-for-49 (.143) over his last 14 games and doesn't have good numbers against Tigers starter Max Scherzer.
Insight: Moustakas batted .321 with an .873 OPS in his first 30 games of the second half, but he has hit another long slump. He's just 2-for-20 against Scherzer so he isn't likely to do anything Sunday.
Description: Kansas City righthander Ervin Santana improved to 9-9 with a win Saturday against the Tigers.
Insight: Saturday was his first win in over a month (August 4th against the Mets). Santana (3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) has had an excellent season but for some reason, his manager Ned Yost has him on a short leash. It's been six starts since his last 100-pitch outing.
Description: Kansas City second baseman Emilio Bonifacio got tossed for showing up an umpire Saturday versus the Tigers. SOURCE: Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star
Insight: Bonifacio threw his helmet down in frustration after he was picked off first base and was given the heave-ho moments later by umpire James Hoye. Chris Getz has since entered the game to to take over at second base for Bonifacio.
Description: Royals ace James Shields shut down the Indians Wednesday night.
Insight: Shields gave up two runs on four hits and struck out seven over eight innings to bounce back from his worst start of the season. He allowed 14 hits and 10 earned runs in 3 2/3 innings versus Detroit his last time on the hill.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon launched his 19th homer of the season Wednesday against the Indians.
Insight: Gordon has picked up 18 extra-base hits, including nine homers, in his last 157 plate appearances (11.5 XBH%). He only had 10 homers and a 6.8 percent extra-base hit rate over his first 474 plate appearances this season.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas has gone 3-for-30 (.100) over his last eight games.
Insight: Moustakas was hitting .321 with an .873 OPS since the All-Star break prior to this cold streak. He does have a strong matchup Sunday against Tigers starter Doug Fister; he has gone 7-for-19 (.368) with one homer against Fister.
Description: Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez hit his seventh home run since Aug. 17 Saturday against the Tigers.
Insight: Perez only had four home runs, a .270 average and a .673 OPS prior to that point, but he's up to 11 homers, a .282 average and a .737 OPS after going 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBI Saturday.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is the rare hitter with success versus Detroit first-game starter Justin Verlander.
Insight: Butler is a career .435 hitter (27-for-62) with a pair of homers and a 1.104 OPS against the ace right-hander. Butler is in the midst of a modest five-game hitting streak, including a 5-for-5 game on Thursday.
Description: Kansas City ace James Shields (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9 K's, 1 BB) was brilliant Sunday in a win over Toronto.
Insight: Shields (10-8, 3.03 ERA) has been untouchable over his last five starts (4-0, 1.53). The 5-0 victory puts the Royals just six games back in the AL Wild Card. Shields will try for win No. 11 next Friday against Detroit.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana went 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA in August.
Insight: Santana was the tough-luck loser Friday at Toronto. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over seven innings but Kansas City only mustered two runs. Santana has resurrected his career with a 3.19 ERA this season, but he has just eight wins to show for it.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is a career .351 hitter (20-for-57) against Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle with three homers and 15 RBI.
Insight: After a slow start, Butler has picked it up over the summer and pushed his batting average to .295 with 14 homers, however, he has no chance to match last year's home run total (29). Start him in this favorable matchup.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is 10-for-27 (.370) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, seven RBI and nine runs over his last six games.
Insight: It's good to see Gordon hitting for extra bases. His extra-base hit production is way down from last season, when he had 70 in 721 plate appearances (9.7 percent). This year, he has 45 in 568 plate appearances (7.9 percent).
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy blanked the Twins over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday night to pick up his second win over the season.
Insight: Duffy struck out seven and didn't walk a batter Wednesday. He has given up just six hits and no runs over 12 2/3 innings. With Wade Davis finally moved to the bullpen, the 24-year-old Duffy should have a spot in the rotation going forward. Fantasy owners in deeper leagues should take a flyer on him.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moutstakas will miss the next few games with strep throat, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star.
Insight: The 24-year-old is hitting .314 with four homers, 17 RBI and an .859 OPS since the All-Star break after batting .215 with a .598 OPS in the first half. He should be back by this weekend at the latest.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is a career .583 hitter (7-for-12) against Tampa Bay right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.
Insight: Butler hasn't homered off of Hellickson and only driven in one run, but you can't argue with a 1.365 OPS. After a slow start, Butler has picked it up over the summer and pushed his batting average to .290, however, he has no chance to match last year's home run total (29).
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has been limited to two hits in 18 at-bats against Jose Quintana of the White Sox.
Insight: Hosmer has struck out five times against the Chicago left-hander. The first baseman has had a nice bounce-back campaign, hitting .296 with 14 homers, 59 RBI, 64 runs, 10 steals and a .786 OPS, but fantasy owners can avoid this matchup.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is hitting .301 with an .846 OPS in 156 at-bats against left-handers this season, but he has struggled against Chicago lefty Jose Quintana, going 2-for-17 (.118).
Insight: Gordon's extra-base hit production is way down from 2012, when he had a 9.7 percent rate in 721 plate appearances. His extra-base hit rate is just 7.1 percent in 2013, and he is hitting just .206 with a .243 BABIP over his last 70 games after starting out .340 with a .404 BABIP.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moutstakas (calf) returned to the lineup Tuesday and went 0-for-2 with a walk and one RBI. He has a favorable matchup Thursday.
Insight: Moustakas, who is batting .299 with an .851 OPS since the All-Star break, is just 16-for-86 (.186) against left-handers this season but is 7-for-16 with two homers against White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is just a .130 hitter (3-for-23) against White Sox starter John Danks.
Insight: Gordon's numbers are down from 2012. He's batting just .262 this season against .294 last year and has knocked out 38 extra base hits after posting 70 last season, including a league-leading 51 doubles. He's hitting just .203 since the All-Star break and fantasy owners should avoid this matchup.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moutstakas is doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Chicago White Sox.
Insight: Moustakas has been bothered by a sore calf all week, though he did return to smack two hits in Saturday's 6-5 loss. After an ugly April and May with a batting average below the Mendoza line, Moustakas is batting .306 since the All-Star game to bring his average up to .236. Not great, but at least he's headed in the right direction.
Description: Kansas City second baseman Miguel Tejada faces a 105 game suspension for violating the league's drug program, according to Yahoo Sports.
Insight: Tejada (.288, .695 OPS) claims that Adderall was the drug he tested positive for. This likely marks the end of Tejada's 16-year major league career. Tejada's suspensions is the third-longest in major league history.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit a home run in both games of a doubleheader Friday at Detroit, giving him 14 this season.
Insight: That's as many home runs as he had all of last season. After hitting .274 with one homer over his first 61 games this season, Hosmer has 13 longballs to go with a .317 average over his last 57.
Description: Unlike teammate Billy Butler, Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is just a .200 hitter against Justin Verlander with 21 strikeouts in 55 official at-bats.
Insight: Gordon's numbers are down from 2012. He's batting just .266 this season against .294 last year and has knocked out 37 extra base hits after posting 70 last season, including a league-leading 51 doubles. Fantasy owners should avoid this matchup.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is the rare hitter with success versus Detroit first-game starter Justin Verlander.
Insight: Butler is a career .424 hitter (25-for-59) with a pair of homers and a 1.086 OPS against the ace right-hander. Butler saw an eight-game hitting streak fall by the wayside in the first game of this series with the Tigers, but has his batting average up to .286.
Description: Kansas City second baseman Miguel Tejada has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Insight: That means Tejada is done for the season. He suffered a strained calf over the weekend. Emilio Bonifacio, was was acquired from Toronto in a trade earlier today, will take over for Tejada at second base.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (calf) won't return to the lineup until the weekend at the earliest, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star. The third baseman was in a walking boot Wednesday morning.
Insight: Moustakas is dealing with calf tightness and has missed Tuesday's game. He has struggled for most of the season but is hitting .293 with four homers and an .852 OPS since the All-Star break.
Description: The Blue Jays traded Emilio Bonifacio to the Royals for cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Insight: Bonifacio, who was traded from Miami to Toronto last offseason, hit just .218 with a .579 OPS in 94 games with the Jays. What's worse is that he had just 12 steals. Bonifacio carried solid fantasy value last year by stealing 30 bases in 64 games while battling numerous injuries. He could see regular at-bats at second base or in right field with the Royals, but he isn't someone fantasy owners need to add at this point.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas left Monday's game with tightness in his left calf and missed Tuesday's game.
Insight: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports seeing him in a walking boot, which can't be a good sign for his Wednesday availability. Moustakas has struggled for most of the season but is hitting .293 with four homers and an .852 OPS since the All-Star break.
Description: Kansas City left-hander Bruce Chen has given up just four earned runs on 19 hits over 38 2/3 innings since rejoining the rotation.
Insight: Chen hasn't given up a run in 14 2/3 innings over his last two starts, including Tuesday against the Marlins. At age 36 and 1,428 2/3 innings into his career, Chen is pitching some of the best ball ever.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas left Monday's game with tightness in his left calf and will miss Tuesday's game.
Insight: He's likely out for Wednesday as well, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star. The third baseman was feeling better Tuesday and his limp was down to a minimum, so he isn't expected to go on the DL at this point. Moustakas has struggled for most of the season but is hitting .300 with four homers and an .857 OPS over his last 22 games.
Description: Royals second baseman Chris Getz has been activated from the disabled list.
Insight: Getz served the minimum 15 days on the DL. He was dealing with a sprained knee. Getz hasn't had an impressive season so far (.209, 1 HR, 14 RBI in 54 games) but he should see regular at bats while Miguel Tejada is out with a calf injury.
Description: The Royals have acquired infielder Jamey Carroll from the Twins for a player to be named later or cash considerations. SOURCE: Danny Knobler, CBS Sports
Insight: Carroll had mostly been playing third base for Minnesota but he'll serve as the everyday second baseman for Kansas City. The Royals needed a second baseman after Miguel Tejada went down with a strained calf on Saturday.
Description: Unlike teammate Billy Butler, Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is just a .200 hitter against Justin Verlander with 21 strikeouts in 55 official at-bats.
Insight: Gordon's numbers are down from 2012. He's batting just .266 this season against .294 last year and has knocked out 37 extra base hits after posting 70 last season, including a league-leading 51 doubles. Fantasy owners should avoid this matchup.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie lost to the Red Sox Saturday to snap a personal four-game winning streak.
Insight: Guthrie allowed five earned runs and 10 hits over six innings and has a 4.10 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP to go with a 12-8 record this season. The right-hander struggled badly with the longball from April through mid-June, but he has allowed a total of four homers over his last 61 2/3 innings (0.58 HR/9). However, his ERA in that span is 4.67.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is a career .400 hitter with three long balls and a 1.204 OPS versus Boston starter Jake Peavy.
Insight: Butler's numbers are off this season (.278, 10 HR, 58 RBI, .785 OPS) as compared to last year when he set career highs for homers (29), RBI (107) and OPS (.882). perhaps this favorable matchup will get him going.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez (concussion) was cleared for light workouts Wednesday, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Perez, who hit just .208 (16-for-77) with a .543 OPS in July and is batting .278 with four homers, 43 RBI and a .691 OPS this season, was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list on Aug. 4.
Description: Royals newly acquired outfielder Justin Maxwell smacked a pinch-hit home run to put Kansas City ahead in the 12th inning.
Insight: Maxwell missed nearly two months this year with a broken hand and time with a concussion. He'll probably be in a platoon situation for the remainder of the season which will limit any fantasy value, but he does own a career .827 OPS versus left-handers.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is not in Saturday afternoon's starting lineup.
Insight: No injury, just the typical day game after a night game off got the catcher. Perez is batting .279 with four homers and 43 RBI, which is significantly below preseason expectations after he posted 11 HR and a .301 batting average in 76 games last season.
Description: Billy Butler's absence this weekend is partly because the DH spot won't be available at Citi Field but also because he's been battling a sore neck. SOURCE: Kansas City Star
Insight: It's poor timing as Butler has been red-hot lately. He owns a .327 average since the All-Star break compared to just .271 before it. Maybe if he's feeling up to it he can make a pinch-hitting appearance later in the series.
Description: According to the Kansas City Star, Royals DH Billy Butler will be out of the lineup for all three games this weekend while the team plays at New York against the Mets. Butler went 2-for-5 with two RBI Thursday and is batting .278 with nine homers and 55 RBI this season.
Insight: Butler has a career-high 51 percent groundball rate this season and is batting just .214 on grounders this season. That combined with an extreme dropoff in power has made him a fantasy disappointment. With no DH in the NL park, the team will leave Butler on the bench in favor of lefty-swinging first baseman Eric Hosmer because the Mets will start three right-handers.
Description: Kansas City second baseman Chris Gets has landed on the disabled list.
Insight: He's battling a sprained left knee. Getz has been a colossal disappointment this season, hitting just .209 with one homer and 14 runs driven in. In the meantime, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada will share reps at second base.
Description: Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain is back in the lineup Thursday against Minnesota. He's missed the team's last three games because of a groin injury.
Insight: Maybe Cain's .714 lifetime average versus Scott Diamond had something to do with the team's decision to bring him back today. Cain is only hitting .259 for the season but he should be able to improve that Thursday against Diamond.
Description: Kansas City righthander Wade Davis held the White Sox scoreless over 7 1/3 innings Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.
Insight: It was Davis' best outing of the year and it snapped a four-game losing streak. With nine losses and an ERA over five, it's doubtful many fantasy owners benefited from his strong performance on Saturday.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has a .321 average in 112 at-bats against lefties this season, but he struggles against Chris Sale of the White Sox.
Insight: Hosmer also had poor career numbers against Friday's starter Jose Quintana, another lefty, and he ended up going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He's just 3-for-18 (.167) with seven K against Sale and should be benched Saturday.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is just 11-for-67 (.164) with a .487 OPS against left-handers this season, but for some reason he hits well against White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana.
Insight: Moustakas is 7-for-14 (.500) with two homers against Quintana. The third baseman's solid glove has kept him in the lineup even though he's only hitting .223 with seven home runs this season. If you're still holding him, play him Friday.
Description: In two starts since joining Kansas City's rotation, Bruce Chen has allowed a total of four hits, one walk and one earned runs in 12 innings.
Insight: Yes, Bruce Chen is still in baseball and owns a 1.97 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 35 2/3 innings pitching mostly in relief this season. Despite the strong start as a member of the rotation, he can be ignored in most fantasy leagues.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is one of the few hitters in baseball who performs well against Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Butler is 24-for-57 (.421) with two homers, 10 RBI and a 1.081 OPS against Verlander.
Insight: Butler is not playing up to expectations with an OPS 100 points below last season. This matchup, however, should push his numbers upward.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana bounced back from a terrible outing his last time out with 7 1/3 innings of two-hit shutout baseball Friday against the Detroit Tigers.
Insight: Santana gave up eight runs and 10 hits in five innings at New York on July 11, but it looks like the extended rest did him some good. He is having one of his best seasons, posting a 3.18 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. The right-hander has allowed just three home runs over his last 60 innings.
Description: Royals closer Greg Holland has been named to the AL All-Star team.
Insight: He's replacing Seattle righthander Hisashi Iwakuma, who is starting Sunday against the Angels. Holland will join his teammates Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez at the All-Star Game on Tuesday. It's the first time three Royals have made the squad since 1988 when they were represented by George Brett, Mark Gubicza and Kurt Stillwell.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is 2-for-20 (.100) against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Insight: Escobar has declined to .246 one season after hitting .293. He has trimmed his strikeout rate from last year, but his flyball rate has jumped from 23.7 percent to 31.5 percent and he is batting just .128 on flyballs.
Description: Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez has shut down Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon in their previous meetings.
Insight: Gordon is 2-for-17 (.118) with five K against Jimenez, who will start Sunday for Cleveland. He's also 1-for-17 (.059) with eight K over his last five games and 26-for-136 (.191) over his last 38, so make sure he's not in your lineup Sunday.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez had a double and two RBI in his return to the lineup Thursday.
Insight: The Royals held Perez out Wednesday to allow the catcher to rest his tight right leg. The backstop said he has taken several foul balls off his right leg over the past week and a half and is dealing with soreness. Perez made his first All-Star team this season.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs in five innings Thursday at New York.
Insight: In his first season with the Royals, Santana has been able to avoid the implosions that plagued him with the Angels. Even after Thursday's meltdown, his ERA is 3.37 and his WHIP is 1.11. Santana gave up 1.97 HR/9 last year and 1.66 per nine in his first 10 starts this year, but he has served up just three longballs over his last 52 2/3 innings (0.51 HR/9).
Description: According to MLB.com, Royals catcher Salvador Perez had Wednesday off to rest a tight right leg.
Insight: Perez is hitting .292 with four homers and 36 RBI this season. He said he has taken several foul balls off his right leg over the past week and a half and is dealing with soreness. "He's got a bone bruise and he's got a muscle bruise in his calf, which results in tightness in the calf," manager Ned Yost said. "So what we're trying to do is monitor his play right now so that we can get that tightness out of there, because if that tightness continues to get tighter, it will result in a strain, which will make him unavailable for a week to two weeks."
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is getting a day off Wednesday against the Yankees.
Insight: Perez is hitting .292 with four homers and 36 RBI this season. He's always been a high average hitter, but fantasy owners were expecting more home runs after he blasted 11 in just 289 at-bats last season.
Description: Royals starter James Shields allowed four hits in the first inning Tuesday at New York, but he worked out of the jam after allowing just one run and finished his night by retiring 16 of the last 19 batters he faced.
Insight: Shields retired the Yankees in order every inning from the fourth to the seventh, and Kansas City took the lead in the top of the seventh to get him his fourth win. The right-hander had not thrown seven innings since June 12.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk Sunday against Oakland.
Insight: Gordon is 14-for-40 (.350) with three longballs, 11 RBI and a 12/9 K/BB over his last 11 games. The outfielder's extra-base hit rate has dropped off to 7.2 percent from 9.7 last year, but he's still a solid fantasy option.
Description: Alex Gordon is back in the Royals' starting lineup. He's playing left field and leading off Saturday against Oakland. SOURCE: Dave Skretta, Associated Press
Insight: Gordon missed two games after suffering head and hip injuries on Jason Kipnis' inside-the-park home run on Wednesday night. He's a huge part of the Royals' offense, batting .292 with 8 HR, 46 RBI and 45 runs scored.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon suffered head and hip injuries on Jason Kipnis' inside-the-park home run Wednesday night and is questionable for Friday's game against Oakland.
Insight: Gordon got turned around and ended up trying to make the catch while he was falling backwards. The left fielder fell onto his rear end and the back of his head hit the wall on the play. Gordon is expected to avoid the 15-day disabled list, but will likely miss the weekend series, according to Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star.
Description: Royals starter Felipe Paulino (elbow, back, shoulder) will throw a bullpen session Friday, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star.
Insight: Paulino's rehab from Tommy John surgery has been delayed by back and shoulder discomfort. The team will try to see where he's at with those injuries during Friday's session. He has no timetable for a return to the major league rotation.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has homered six times in his last nine games.
Insight: Hosmer went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBI, two runs and a walk Thursday against the Indians and is batting .308 with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 32 games since George Brett took over as Kansas City's hitting coach.
Description: Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain had a big day Thursday versus the Indians.
Insight: Cain went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI. The outfielder hit just .183 (19-for-104) with 29 K and a .540 OPS in 29 games from May 25 to June 30, but he has started off July by going 3-for-7 with five RBI, a walk and no strikeouts in two games.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is red hot and has a favorable matchup Thursday.
Insight: Hosmer is hitting .302 with seven homers and an .880 OPS in 135 plate appearances since George Brett took over as Kansas City's hitting coach. He's also 5-for-14 with two homers, five RBI and three walks versus Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon suffered head and hip injuries on Jason Kipnis' inside-the-park home run Wednesday night.
Insight: Gordon got turned around and ended up trying to make the catch while he was falling backwards. The left fielder fell onto his rear end and hit the back of his head on the wall on the play. According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, Gordon expects to avoid the 15-day disabled list. He has not been diagnosed with a concussion.
Description: It's time to remove that interim tag from George Brett. The Royals hitting coach has worked his magic with first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Insight: Brett took over the job on May 30. Since then, Hosmer is hitting .302 with seven homers and an .880 OPS in 135 plate appearances. He batted .261 with a measly one home run and a .656 OPS in 194 plate appearances prior to Brett joining the coaching staff. Brett actually insisted on the interim tag while he decides if coaching is something he wants to do full time.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana went 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA in June.
Insight: The righty went 0-4 with a 4.72 ERA and a 2.36 HR/9 in May, but he allowed just two home runs over 40 2/3 innings in June. Longballs were the issue for Santana last year, as he gave up 1.97 per nine innings, but this year he has allowed just 1.22 per nine. The righty also has cut his BB/9 from 3.08 to a career-low 1.78.
Description: Kansas City right fielder David Lough picked up four hits Sunday in a win over Minnesota.
Insight: All four were for extra bases (three doubles, one homer). Lough has been a bright spot on an offense that has mostly underachieved this season. In 35 games, the 27-year-old is hitting .314 with a .471 slugging percentage and an .807 OPS.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie was hit on the hand by a comebacker in his last start, but he's expected to be ready to make his next one, according to the Kansas City Star.
Insight: Guthrie said the swelling has gone down, so he should be ready for Wednesday's game against the Indians. The righty was 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA at one point this season, but he has gone 2-6 with a 5.74 ERA over his last nine.
Description: Royals starter Wade Davis walked five and allowed five hits and six earned runs in just one-plus innings Saturday at Minnesota.
Insight: Davis walked three and gave up four hits and five earned runs in the first inning, and then let three more men reach base in the second before he was mercifully removed. The right-hander has been abysmal this year, going 4-6 with a 5.55 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBI and two runs Wednesday versus the Braves.
Insight: Gordon has gone 6-for-13 (.462) with four RBI and two walks in his last three games after getting a day off on June 22. The left fielder batted .133 with a .401 OPS in the 21 games prior to that day off.
Description: Royals starter Felipe Paulino (elbow, back) will resume his rehab assignment Sunday with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, according to the KC Star's Bob Dutton.
Insight: Paulino had to put his rehab stint on hold earlier this month due to back stiffness. The right-hander had a 1.67 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings last season before suffering a torn UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Description: Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson missed about a month with a sprained ankle, but has been activated in time for Saturday's game.
Insight: He's activated, but not starting as the Royals go with Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur and David Lough. Dyson (.268, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 6 SB) could be a solid fantasy contributor if he played every day, but that isn't likely to happen.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is just 1-for-12 (.083) versus Chicago left-hander Jose Quintana.
Insight: Hosmer (.277, 3 HR, 27 RBI) has gone 5-for-8 over the past two games, so we'd like to believe he's starting to find his swing and this unfavorable matchup will be an excellent test. If he's successful on Saturday fantasy owners may be able to put him back in lineups.
Description: A rare favorable matchup for struggling Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas, who is 6-for-12 with a pair of home runs versus Chicago starter Jose Quintana.
Insight: Moustakas has been a disaster for fantasy owners, hitting .195 with four homers and a .550 OPS. The 24-year-old has not lived up to the promise he displayed in the minors, but he might be worth a shot on Saturday after back-to-back two hit games.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana limited the Indians to one run over seven innings Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Insight: Santana is undefeated in his last four starts (2-0, 0.94 ERA over that span). He's gone at least seven innings in each of his last seven appearances and has thrown at least six innings in every game he's pitched this season. After several mediocre seasons in Los Angeles, it looks like a change of scenery was all Santana (5-5, 2.64 ERA) needed.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is only hitting .156 (10-for-64) with 16 strikeouts and a .204 BABIP over his last 17 games.
Insight: Gordon hit .340 with a .404 BABIP over his first 50 games this season, so he was due for some regression. The disappointing thing is that Gordon's power has remained at his 2012 level (31.9 percent FB, 8.7 percent HR/FB). He doesn't have a good matchup Tuesday -- he's 2-for-15 (.133) with five K against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez -- so keep him on the bench.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is 2-for-16 (.125) against Cleveland hurler Ubaldo Jimenez.
Insight: Escobar was a solid fantasy shortstop one year ago with a .293 average and 35 steals, but his is hitting just .248 this year (.215 over his last 40 games). Tuesday does not present a good matchup.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is 5-for-11 with two homers, four RBI and three walks in his career against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Insight: Hosmer has displayed an incredible lack of power this season, hitting just two homers in 243 at-bats. He at least has raised his average from .232 to .272 since 2012, but his OPS is under .700 for the second straight season. That's not what fantasy owners are looking for in a first baseman, but if you do own Hosmer, Tuesday could be a nice day.
Description: Former major leaguer Xavier Nady has apparently found his swing down at Triple-A Omaha.
Insight: Nady is batting .320 with 11 HR, 38 RBI and a .902 OPS in 60 games. Between 2006-08 he averaged 21 homers a season for the Pirates and Yankees. Maybe there is a spot for him at the major league level.
Description: Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain hit a game-tying two-run homer off Jose Valverde in the ninth inning Wednesday.
Insight: The Royals were shut out by Justin Verlander but tied the game up in the ninth and won it in the 10th. Cain hit .320 over his first 124 at-bats of the season, but that was only being sustained by a BABIP close to .400. He's down to .285 after hitting .229 over his last 83 at-bats.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is hitting below .200 over his last 35 games.
Insight: In that span, he has gone 27-for-140 (.193) with a .435 OPS. Escobar hit .293 last season, but his flyball rate is up from 23.7 percent to 31.7 percent, causing his BABIP to dip from .344 to .257. Escobar has trimmed his strikeout rate from 15.4 percent to 10.5 percent, so he should see his average rise into the .270s once his BABIP regresses to league average.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is one of the few hitters in baseball who performs well against Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Butler is 23-for-55 (.418) with two homers, 10 RBI and a 1.075 OPS against Verlander.
Insight: Butler is finally getting his average up where it belongs after a slow start. This matchup should continue his upward push.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas is an ugly 1-for-17 against Detroit hurler Mex Scherzer.
Insight: Moustakas has had a disastrous season, hitting .180 with four homers and a .535 OPS. The 24-year-old has not lived up to the promise he displayed in the minors. Hopefully, you have already taken him out of the mix.
Description: Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon is a career .400 hitter (8-for-20) with six walks against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.
Insight: Gordon is struggling at the plate with just two hits in his last 23 at-bats. Maybe this favorable matchup can get him going again. He batted over .300 in April and May, but is hitting just .129 in eight June games.
Description: Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas is getting a night off Friday.
Insight: Moustakas has had a disastrous season, hitting .180 with four homers and a .538 OPS. The 24-year-old has not lived up to the promise he displayed in the minors. His flyball rate this season is 50 percent, but his HR/FB is 5.4 percent. That's an awful lot of flyballs that are finishing their journey in a baseball glove. It's nothing new for him -- he had a 49.8 percent flyball rate and a 9.0 percent HR/FB last season.
Description: Royals outfielder David Lough is probable for Tuesday's game against Minnesota after dealing with a bruised right wrist.
Insight: Lough is hitting .289 since getting called up from Triple-A earlier in the month. With Jeff Francoeur struggling, Lough should continue to see plenty of playing time, but be aware that a wrist injury usually has a detrimental effect on power numbers and Lough's .772 OPS could slip until his wrist is 100 percent.
Description: Kansas City ace James Shields allowed one run on five hits and struck out five over seven innings Saturday.
Insight: Shields was handed a no decision as Kansas City failed to give him any support once again. The Royals have scored just 3.2 runs per game for the right-hander, so he is 2-6 despite carrying a 2.83 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Description: If the Royals are seeking more production at third base, where starter Mike Moustakas is batting just .178, they need look no further than to Triple-A Omaha where Anthony Seratelli is batting .329 with a .931 OPS in 41 games.
Insight: Seratelli also put up solid numbers last season (.299, 17 HR, 66 RBI, .866 OPS) and could be an answer to Kansas City's third base problems until Moustakas remembers where he put his swing.
Description: Royals starter Felipe Paulino (elbow) is about three weeks behind Danny Duffy in his rehab from Tommy John surgery, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star.
Insight: Paulino had a 1.67 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings last season before suffering a torn UCL. Duffy also had Tommy John surgery last season and is expected to start a minor league rehab assignment Sunday.
Description: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (elbow) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Duffy had Tommy John surgery last May.
Insight: He'll throw 60 pitches for Double-A Northwest Arkansas Sunday after making six appearances in extended spring training. He'll likely remain on the rehab assignment for the full 30 days. Duffy was drafted in the third round in 2007 and was 2-2 with a 3.90 ERA and a 9.11 K/9 last season before the injury.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon is one of five Royals starters (Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar) with a lifetime batting average below .200 against Angels starter Jason Vargas.
Insight: Gordon (.346, 6 HR, 30 RBI, 30 runs) is playing at an All-Star level, but he like most of the Royals not named Billy Butler, have tended to struggle against Vargas.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana's longball issues returned Thursday against the Angels. He allowed four homers and five earned runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings.
Insight: Santana was bombed for 39 homers in 178 innings last season with the Angels, but he had given up just six in 55 1/3 innings this year and three over his last 49 1/3 innings. He'll try to regroup at St. Louis his next time out.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is day-to-day with a deep right hip bruise and won't start Tuesday's game, according to Bob Dutton of the KC Star.
Insight: Perez suffered the injury Monday when he ran into a railing while trying to catch a foul popup. He's available in an emergency situation Tuesday and should be able to return to the starting lineup in a few days.
Description: Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson will miss the next 2-to-4 weeks with a sprained ankle. SOURCE: Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star
Insight: Dyson (.268, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 6 SB) could be a solid fantasy contributor if he played every day but that hasn't happened this season (41 at bats in 18 games). With Lorenzo Cain (.323, 1 HR, 22 RBI) occupying center field, it's going to be tough for Dyson to see regular at bats.
Description: The Royals brought up lefty David Lough to replace injured outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Insight: Although Lough batted .465 in spring training he was sent to the minors where has has continued to hit, batting .340 for Triple-A Omaha. Given a full season of work, he appears to be have 10-15 home run power who can also steal double digit bases. He won't get that much work as the backup outfielder to Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Jeff Francoeur.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar is hitless in nine at-bats versus Angels left-hander Jason Vargas.
Insight: Escobar is known as an excellent glove man, but he's also got a decent bat. he batted .293 last season and his hitting .267 through his first 35 games. This matchup, however, is an unfavorable one.
Description: Kansas City outfielder Jeff Francoeur is not in Friday night's starting lineup. Jarrod Dyson will get the start in center with Lorenzo Cain shifting to right field.
Insight: Francoeur has yet to show his power, batting .234 with just one home run and nine RBI, but installing Dyson likely won't help as he's hitless in six at-bats versus Yankees' starter Phil Hughes with five at-bats ending in strikeouts.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas homered for the second straight game Thursday against the Orioles.
Insight: Moustakas isn't going to want to leave Baltimore. He had one homer prior to the series at Camden Yards. Moustakas is batting .342 with three homers, eight RBI, six walks and just four strikeouts over his last 13 games after hitting .148 with zero homers in his first 16. The young third baseman has improved his K/BB from 3.2 last year to 1.3 in 113 plate appearances this year.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer finally hit his first homer of the season Thursday against the Orioles.
Insight: Hosmer had an excellent rookie season, hitting .293 with 19 homers, 78 RBI, 11 steals and 66 runs in 128 games, but he has been a disappointment since last year, when he batted .232. This year, he's hitting a solid .277, but with no power.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon homered for the fourth time this season Tuesday against the Orioles.
Insight: It was a two-run shot off Orioles left-handed reliever Brian Matusz. Gordon is 21-for-48 (.438) with three homers and 14 RBI against lefties this season after hitting just .248 with three home runs in 230 at-bats against them last season.
Description: Kansas City ace James Shields took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Monday against Chicago.
Insight: It should have been an easy W for Shields (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) but Greg Holland blew the save in the ninth and the White Sox eventually won 2-1 in the 11th inning. Shields (2-2, 2.52 ERA) recorded a season-high nine strikeouts in the no-decision.
Description: Royals starter Ervin Santana struck out seven batters in four scoreless innings Thursday against the Rays but the game was postponed due to snow.
Insight: The stats won't count. Santana was bombed for 39 homers in 178 innings last season with the Angels, but he has rediscovered his top form this year and is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP in 36 innings.
Description: If you have an open outfield spot on Thursday make sure to use Royals leftfielder Alex Gordon. He's a .484 lifetime hitter against Rays righty Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona).
Insight: Gordon (.321, 3 HR, 18 RBI) has registered two or more hits in four of his last seven games. He could make it five out of eight with Hernandez (1-4, 5.28 ERA) pitching Thursday in the series finale.
Description: Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit his first homer of the season Tuesday against the Rays. He went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the game.
Insight: Moustakas displayed 25- to 30-homer power in the minors, but that hasn't yet translated to the majors. He's only hitting .195 in 77 at-bats, though he does have a 1.22 K/BB after posting a 3.18 K/BB last season and has a good chance to turn things around in May. Buy low.
Description: Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer has five hits in eight at-bats against Cleveland right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez with a pair of homers and a 2.102 OPS.
Insight: Hosmer is batting .266 and hasn't hit a home run yet this season. The first baseman hit 14 last year and 19 in his rookie season, but with an OPS under .700 he's not a viable everyday fantasy option. Monday, however, he's worth a one-time flier.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-4 with a walk and his third homer of the season Sunday against Cleveland.
Insight: Gordon hit just 14 homers in 161 games last season and didn't have a round-tripper in his first 16 games this season, but he has three over his last five games. The outfielder is batting .352 with 17 RBIs and 18 runs.
Description: Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar's lone hit Sunday against Cleveland was a solo homer. Escobar also drove in a run on a fielder's choice and scored twice.
Insight: Escobar only hit nine homers in 1,153 at-bats over the last two seasons, but he has three already in 86 at-bats this year. After striking out 100 times and walking just 27 last year, Escobar has a 7/6 K/BB.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie improved to 3-0 with 6 2/3 coreless innings Sunday against the Indians.
Insight: Guthrie has been a capable fantasy arm in deeper mixed leagues this season, posting a 3.06 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP and 24 strikeouts over 32 1/3 innings this year. The right-hander has a 3.14 ERA over 123 1/3 innings since joining the Royals in the middle of last year.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon went 2-for-6 with a grand slam Thursday against the Tigers.
Insight: Gordon came in with poor numbers against Justin Verlander, but he hit the grand slam in the top of the 10th after Verlander had been removed. Gordon is hitting .337 with six doubles, two triples, two homers, 15 RBI and 16 runs in 19 games.
Description: Royals DH Billy Butler is one of the few hitters in baseball who performs well against Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Butler is 21-for-53 (.396) with two homers, nine RBI and a 1.033 OPS against Verlander.
Insight: Butler is only hitting .214 this year, but he does have 12 walks and 13 RBI. Seeing Verlander Thursday may actually help get his bat going.
Description: Royals struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas is a career .071 hitter versus Detroit right-hander Maz Scherzer (1-for-14) and should probably be watching the action today instead of playing.
Insight: Moustakas is off to a horrible start batting just .158 without a home run and just one RBI. Given the unfavorable matchup there is no way he breaks out of his slump on Wednesday.
Description: Royals catcher Salvador Perez is 5-for-7 (.714) in his career against Detroit starter Max Scherzer with a pair of homers and a 2.429 OPS.
Insight: Sure the sample size is small, but Perez seems to have Scherzer's number. Perez is off to a slow start this season (.258) after batting .301 over 76 games last year and .331 in a cup of coffee back in 2011.
Description: Royals left fielder Alex Gordon misplayed two balls in the outfield in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader at Fenway Park but he made up for it by having a strong night at the plate.
Insight: Gordon (.342, 1 HR, 10 RBI) smacked a double off the Green Monster on the first pitch of the game before blasting a solo home run in the fifth. He scored on a bases loaded walk to win the game in the tenth inning.
Description: Royals starter James Shields allowed one run on four hits over six innings and struck out eight Saturday against Boston, but Kansas City's bullpen couldn't hold a 2-1 lead.
Insight: Shields knows Boston very well, having spent his entire career in Tampa Bay prior to this season. Saturday was his 24th career start against the Red Sox. The right-hander has started out well with his new team, posting a 3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in 27 innings, but he only has one win.
Description: Royals starter Wade Davis scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter Wednesday in a win over the Braves.
Insight: Atlanta had won 10 in a row. Davis had a strong season as a reliever with the Rays last year, posting a 2.43 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and an 87/29 K/BB in 70 1/3 innings, but he has mediocre career numbers as a starter. He's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.31 WHIP so far.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie took a no decision Tuesday against the Braves after allowing a game-tying homer to Juan Francisco in the seventh inning. He allowed five hits, a walk and two runs in seven innings.
Insight: Guthrie also gave up a solo homer to Francisco in the second inning. The right-hander has been superb this year, going 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He has allowed five homers, however, which could be an issue if he starts letting more runners on base.