[table id=1329 /]
Yordano Ventura is probably going to be the SP1 of the Royals if James Shields walks in free agency. Ventura is currently only 23 and is most known as a young flamethrower. He averaged 96 MPH on his fastball in his rookie campaign and can hit triple digits on the radar gun. Additionally, Yordano Ventura posted a 3.20 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 183 innings. I would expect a touch of regression as you can see in the table, but his big fastball always makes him an intriguing option.
While I assume James Shields will be pitching somewhere else next season, this is as good of a place as any to talk about him. In the past two seasons, Big Game James has slightly outperformed his peripherals, which means I expect a slight regression like the 3.64 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in the table.
The most exciting part of the Royals is found in the latter innings where Wade Davis and Greg Holland make up arguably the sickest 1-2 punch in the 8th and 9th innings. I do not need to delve into their stats because they will produce at an All-Star level and offer huge benefits in the ratio categories.
Wade Davis was so spectacular in 2014 that he warranted ownership as a reliever even with only three saves. In addition to having filthy stats across the board, Wade Davis did not allow a single HR in 2014. Holland is my favorite elite closer because he is the cheapest. His numbers will be fairly similar to Davis in the ratio categories, but he also can record 40 saves.
Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball has created all of the projections seen in this post. You can read about how he develops his projections here. His projections are invaluable to this site. You can also visit his site at www.smartfantasybaseball.com.