2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Candidate — Mike Moustakas
By sheer definition, when you are the defending World Champions and two time defending AL champions, you aren’t going to have many (if any) breakout candidates. If you did, then you would be on your way to running off a series of pennants that would be reminiscent of the Yankees in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The Royals are no different. If they were going to break out, they would have broken out already.
That being said, there are a few players that fantasy players may be undervaluing. Again, there aren’t going to be many. In point of fact, when your team wins two pennants in a row, you might tend to see guys get overvalued. This will be true of many of the pitchers on the Royals, but they still have a few position players that could be underrated.
Mike Moustakas came up as a brilliant looking third baseman, but he suffered through a couple of horrible seasons until 2015. Teams that win the World Series need players to step up and play better than they have in the past. The question always becomes whether it was an out of context season or whether it is the beginning of a long and prosperous career. Folks in Kansas City are hoping for the latter.
Where he has been
As we have seen with a number of younger players, the age old question comes up. Are you the player that is a collection of what you have already or are you the player you could become? When doing projections you end up becoming beholden to one of those philosophies and the people that are in the other camp will levy bombs against you. Moustakas is a difficult case to be sure.
He has been playing regularly since 2011 and he was never better than he was in 2015. We are talking about a guy that is still only 27 years old, so I suppose it is possible he could continue to improve, but odds are probably better that he will probably come in around the midpoint of where he has been as a big leaguer. That is where the experts tend to peg him.
Where he could go
Obviously, the experts have him somewhere at the midpoint of what he has done as a big leaguer. When you add in above average defense (+4 in 2015, +15 as a big leaguer according to defensive runs saved) then you have yourself a pretty good overall third baseman here. You might not win with a team of Moustakas’, but it won’t kill you to have one a position or two along the way.
On the other hand, there is an outside chance that Moustakas could take the next step and become a bonafide star at third base. Even going back to his minor league days, he has shown consistent power all the way up the chain. The batting average numbers haven’t always been stellar and that matches what he has done at the big league level.
The Rosy Picture
If I believe in anything, it is in playing the percentages. By the time you are going into your sixth season you usually are what you are as a big league hitter. Moustakas will likely never hit for high average, but aren’t a ton of third baseman out there that will hit 20 or more home runs and he might be one of them. He isn’t likely to be a fantasy starter in a standard mixed league, but he could be a quality backup.