FLB: Royals preview

Updated: February 1, 2006, 2:47 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
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The worst team in the majors in 2005, at 56-106 (.346 winning percentage), the Royals also held the distinction of being arguably fantasy baseball's worst team. The highest-ranking Royal on the Player Rater went largely undrafted; outfielder Emil Brown finished 115th, though that placed him a mere 31st in one of the game's deepest positions. First baseman Mike Sweeney, a .304 hitter with an .874 OPS for his career, finished 134th, though he ranked just 13th at another deep position and missed at least 40 games due to injury for the third consecutive season. No other Royal cracked the top 200.

Kansas City's problem has been largely payroll-related. This team lacks the budget of the larger- or even middle-market teams, which is why fantasy-worthy players -- Carlos Beltran, Paul Byrd, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Raul Ibanez, to name a few -- have since left the team for greener pastures (pun intended). Through the 2005 season, the Royals were the only one of the 30 major-league teams to have never spent $50 million or more in player salaries; they topped out at $47.6 million in 2004 and had ranked among the bottom 10 in payroll every year since the strike ended in 1995.


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