broken economics of Major League Baseball, the Royals will sadly continue to be treated as a farm system for the big spenders.
As I write this article, 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner SP Zack Greinke is still a member of the Kansas City Royals but honestly, for how much longer. Greinke's 2010 season was a disaster compared to his 2009 but has the skills and talent to warrant a keeper selection for the upcoming season, regardless of what team he opens the season with. We are talking about a 26 year old that is one season removed from a 16 win, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 242 K, 9.0 WAR campaign. The purist in me hopes the Royals keep Greinke and invest money into making this franchise competitive again but the realist in me knows the best they are going to do this offseason is sign OF Jeff Francoeur.
CL Joakim Soria was the Royals highest ranked fantasy player in 2010, according to ESPN's Player Rater, coming in at 60th overall and the 6th best closer. It's amazing that a guy on a team that won just 67 games could rack up 43 saves. His 1.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 9.7 K/9 and 4.44 K/BB ratios are why Soria is worthy of a keeper tag for 2011.
The Royals second-best fantasy player in 2010 was 88th-ranked 1B Billy Butler, who produced a .318/77/15/78/0 line. Those numbers were enough to rank him 12th among first basemen but hardly puts him in the class of "must own" players. One has to wonder if he will ever have the numbers (.300/30/100) to join the rankings of the "elite". At this point in time, I wouldn't consider using a keeper selection on Bulter unless he's your only option at first base in a league where very few other options will exist come draft day.
Unfortunately, these three players are all the Royals roster has to offer you if you are searching for keepers on your fantasy baseball roster. The best you can hope for is that they acquire several major league ready players in exchange for Greinke and many of their own top ranked prospects become impact players at the major league level in the near future. I did say "hope".