As a fantasy baseball owner in 2011, the Kansas City Royals might the first franchise you ignore. If you play in a 12-team mixed league, there is Billy Butler, Joakim Soria, maybe Mike Aviles and ... Jeff Francoeur?
Things, however, are looking up in K.C.
Baseball America ranked the Royals' minor-league system as the best in baseball, and third baseman Mike Moustakas is one of three Kansas City position-player prospects ranked in Baseball America's list of the top 10 prospects in 2011.
We chose Moustakas for this series on the top 10 prospects from a fantasy baseball perspective because of his track record of tearing the cover off the ball in the minor leagues.
Moustakas was The Sporting News' 2010 Minor League Hitter of the Year after tying for the most home runs in the minors with 36.
For now, he's a third baseman who doesn't field that well who seems to have a future at first base or the outfield. Regardless, he's a hitter, and he's No. 3 on our list.
As we wrote in the debut piece on Lonnie Chisenhall, we started this project with three rules of thumb: 1. Each player must be under 24 years old. 2. A position player has to have fewer than 100 at-bats in the majors, and a pitcher must have thrown fewer than 40 innings in the bigs. 3. The top 10 are ranked according to how effective we think they will be in fantasy baseball. The 2011 season would be nice, but we're more focused on how they will perform in the future and their staying power.
Up next: The Royals' cleanup hitter of the future.
3. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
- Height, weight: 5-11, 228
- Bats/throws: Left/right
- Born: Sept. 11, 1988 (22 on opening day)
- Rank on Baseball America's top 100 for 2011: 9
Two quotes to remember
- "I came out here to try to make the team, and I just didn't play well enough to. It just happens sometimes. That's how baseball is. I'm going to go down to the minor-league camp tomorrow and keep working to get better and, hopefully, come join these guys soon." Moustakas, to mlb.com, after he was sent to the Royals' minor-league camp on March 16
- "He's a future .280, .290 hitter with the capability to hit 30, 35 home runs every season. He's going to be a middle-of-the-order guy here for a long time." Royals manager Ned Yost, to SI.com, on Moustakas
Moustakas didn't wow the Royals in spring training in 2011, which was his only chance to make the team, but we should expect him to be on the roster as soon as the All-Star break.
The No. 2 overall pick of the 2007 draft, Moustakas has batted .282 with 74 homers and 291 RBI in 1,513 minor-league at-bats. In 2010, he was the Double- and Triple-A version of Albert Pujols -- batting .322 with a combined 36 homers, 124 RBI, 41 doubles and 94 runs in 484 at-bats.
Did we mention the Royals' opening-day third baseman could be Wilson Betemit, a .266 career hitter who has struck out 401 times in 1,419 career at-bats?
Moustakas was a batboy for the Mets when his uncle, Tom Robson, was the hitting coach for Bobby Valentine.
His future position is uncertain, but his bat is not. As Yost said, he's a .280 to .290 middle-of-the-order hitter.
Believe it or not, fulfilling that role for the 2013 Kansas City Royals might not be such a bad thing.
PREVIOUS: No. 4, Jeremy Hellickson
NEXT: No. 2, Mike Trout
2011 fantasy baseball rankings:
Catchers, First basemen, Second basemen, Shortstops, Third basemen, Designated hitters, Outfielders, Starting pitchers, Closers, Top 100 overall, Guide to our 2011 fantasy rankings, Guide to the top keepers
For updates, analysis and links during the season, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.