My name is KC Shankland and I’ll be covering the Royals for Prospects1500. I grew up in Topeka, Kansas and the initials are a happy coincidence (mine are for Kenneth Carl).
I’m a 43 year-old water analyst living and working in suburban Seattle. I’m about equidistant from Safeco and the Tacoma Rainiers, and plan to take in some Northwest League action this summer.
The first baseball game I remember going to was a Yankees/Royals tilt sometime in the late 70s. I watched Game Six of the ’85 series from an Aunt’s living room floor in San Diego. I always wanted to be as fast as Willie Wilson legging out an inside-the-parker.
Then the deluge: Cone for Hearn; Jeff King quitting; Scott Pose; Ken Harvey being eaten by the tarp; Lima Time!; 5-Tool Dee Brown; Mike Redmond, Royal All-Star; plus whatever it was Emil Brown was doing in the outfield.
After decades in the wilderness, it is again good to be a Royals fan. I was thrilled to take in Hosmer’s mad dash home to tie Game Five in ’15 with my three sons, and it thrills me to no end that they’ll also remember good Royals baseball.
I started out in fantasy baseball chasing down stats by hand with the weekly USA today inserts. I spent most of the 90s in the Navy and struggled to keep a CDM-by-mail team going, missing chunks of each season. I’ve been in one 20 team league with 300 minor leaguers since 2000, and since 2008 have had a franchise in a 24 team, 225 roster league.
A common refrain you hear in researching prospects is ‘you can’t scout the stat line’, and of course that is true. For scouts. I’m not a scout, but a slightly obsessive fan always seeking an edge, and often a stat line is all you have. You don’t need any research to acquire the Moncadas or Bryants of the world. I’ve identified guys like Dallas Keuchel, Jarrod Dyson, Stephen Vogt, Alejandro De Aza, Paulo Orlando, Chad Kuhl, and Kendall Graveman before they hit – guys that are waiver fodder in 12 team leagues can be very valuable when acquired on the cheap for your deep league.
This is also a great time to start writing up Royals prospects, as the cupboard is … if not bare then darn slim. I’ll write a system overview and history explaining how they got here, and then dig in to a Top 50 list. The late, great, Glenn Sparkman would have made the list but he just went to the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 draft. Daniel Stumpf, a LOOGY, and now two-time Rule 5er, went to the Tigers but it is hard for a LOOGY to be valuable, even in a deep league.
KC Shankland lives in Maple Valley, Washington. His Royals fandom runs from the Royals/Yankees blood feud of the ‘70s to Hosmer’s mad dash home.
‘People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. Obsess over prospects.’