37-Year-Old Second Baseman – Kansas City Royals
2015 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Furcal returned to the diamond at age 36 following Tommy John surgery in 2013, but could only manage 37 at-bats with the Marlins while battling a significant hamstring injury. The veteran infielder el...
Rafael Furcal Contract Information:
Signed a minor-league deal with the Royals in March of 2015.
Furcal announced his retirement Tuesday.
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Rafael Furcal: MLB Games Played By Position
Rafael Furcal: Minor League Games Played By Position
Rafael Furcal Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
|Year||Age||Lg||Tm||PA||AB||Walk Rate||Strikeout Rate||BB/K Ratio||Contact Rate||BABIP||Isolated Power|
|2011 (Multiple Teams)||33||MAJ||STL/LAD||369||333||7.6%||10.6%||0.72||88%||.241||.117|
Kansas City Royals Roster
MajorsAracena, Ricky (SS)
AAABaumann, Buddy (P)
AAAdams, Lane (OF)
A+Chavez, Johermyn (OF)
AAntonio, Mike (SS)
RookieDavila, Garrett (P)
Rafael Furcal: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Furcal didn't see a single at-bat in 2013 after going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery during spring training. The veteran shortstop signed with the Marlins to become the primary second baseman in Miami during the offseason, a move that should help Furcal defensively and help the development of Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Now 36 years old and a full year removed from his last MLB action, there are understandably questions about his value at this stage. Don't expect much in the way of speed, as Furcal had a career-low 12 steals in 2012 while racking up more than 500 plate appearances during his final season with the Cards.
Furcal's 13th season in the league wasn't as bad as his 12th, but the last two years have been the worst of his career, and the season ended prematurely with a torn UCL in his elbow. Tommy John surgery was on the table, but Furcal was able to avoid surgery and may be ready for Opening Day. His .347 slugging percentage and 20 stolen bases over his last two seasons expose what he has become - a singles hitter who is not even close to the speedster he once was. Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso - who aren't exactly future stars - are ready to take over when Furcal decides to call it a career.
Furcal looked just about done when the Cardinals acquired him from Los Angeles in July, but he showed surprising pop by hitting seven home runs in his 50 games with St. Louis. Aside from the home runs, however, he didn't do much in his stint with the Redbirds, finishing with a .735 OPS with St. Louis and .646 overall. He's already 34 and had two month-long stints on the DL last year, but the Cardinals ponied up to keep him for two more years. Considering that Tyler Greene was the top alternative, that wasn't unexpected. Just don't expect him to be the Furcal of old, and keep an eye on him this spring as he's making his way back from surgery to repair a hernia.
Furcal failed to reach 100 games played for the second time in three seasons, batting a solid .300/.366/.460 but doing so in just 383 at-bats. He did manage to swipe 22 bases (up from 12 in 150 games in 2009), so he still has speed when healthy. Furcal's fantasy value is tied directly to his unreliable health, but at least so far this offseason, all signs point to him being 100 percent healthy on Opening Day. He'll be the starting shortstop for the Dodgers again and enters the final year of his contract.
Although he managed to stay healthy enough to play in 150 games for the first time since 2006, it's likely Furcal's lingering ankle and back issues contributed to his middling .269/.335/.375 line in 2009, including nine homers and just 12 stolen bases. Encouragingly, Furcal did finish strong, batting .330 after Aug. 31 and stealing five bases in the season's final month. Look for improved fantasy numbers across the board in 2010, particularly in the stolen bases category.
In a season limited to 143 at-bats due to a back injury that required surgery in July, Furcal batted .357/.439/.573, returning in time to bat .258 in the playoffs with a key homer in the NLCS off Jamie Moyer. The Dodgers brought him back with a three-year contract in December, after the two sides agreed to a vesting option instead of a guaranteed fourth year. Assuming he's 100 percent next season, Furcal should again be a top fantasy shortstop, though at age 31, there's little doubt his stolen base numbers peaked in 2005 (46 with Atlanta).
A sprained ankle suffered during spring training limited Furcal for a good portion of the year, holding his numbers to a career-worst .270/.333/.355, including just six home runs and 25 stolen bases. The steals could have been a lot worse if not for September, when Furcal swiped 12 bags despite hitting just .210 for the month. Furcal should benefit from an offseason of rest and therapy for his ankle and back (a seemingly minor injury suffered in September) and could be a nice value if others don't take his injuries into account. He's set to be the everyday shortstop for the Dodgers again and is in the final year of his contract.
Furcal has been a model of consistency recently, scoring at least 100 runs, hitting about a dozen homers and driving in 60 or so runs in each of the last four seasons. He's also ran more the last couple years and hit .300 for the first time in his career in 2006 despite getting off to a painfully slow start for the third consecutive season. Monitor the Dodgers' lineup plans this offseason as the team is toying with moving Furcal from the leadoff slot, a move that could negatively impact his stolen base total (while potentially increasing his RBI).
Furcal's production has become consistent the last three seasons with 10+ home runs, an OBA around .350, a batting average always above .275 and at least 25 steals. After signing a $39 million, three-year deal with the Dodgers, we'd expect about the same level of production, but the move to pitching-friendly Dodger Stadium will reduce his power numbers. However, that may be offset by playing in a lineup that may need to manufacture runs, which could give him the green light enough to repeat his career-high 46 steals. That speed makes him a top-tier fantasy shortstop.
Furcal basically duplicated his 2003 season and has shown more power the last two seasons. About the only negative to his 2004 was the jail time he served after the season for an October DUI arrest. That incident isn't expected to affect his status on the field next spring. As long as he doesn't return to his 2002 strikeout total of 114, he's as good a bet as any to steal 25 bases, which makes him a top-tier shortstop.
Furcal had an unexpected career season in 2003 and enters 2004 as the Braves' leadoff hitter and shortstop. Furcal ended three years of declining walk totals and cut his strikeouts nearly in half. Additionally, Furcal increased his power, hitting a career-best 15 homers as well as career highs in double and triples. Furcal also improved on the basepaths by getting thrown out just two times in 27 chances. The key for Furcal is to see him drawing walks and not striking out as frequently as in 2002. When he falls in love with his power stroke, his ability to get on base suffers. If he can draw walks, he's a solid bet to steal 20 bases again and remain one of the best NL fantasy shortstops.
Furcal rebounded from a shoulder injury that nearly wiped out his previous season and posted solid, if not spectacular numbers. He struggled in the first month of the season with his fielding and nearly got benched, but by the end of the season he had Bobby Cox's confidence again with his glove. Furcal provides valuable speed from the shortstop position and has some pop in his bat - 10+ home runs are not out of the question. The alarming trend is that his ability to draw walks has disappeared. After drawing nearly as many walks as strikeouts in his rookie season and posting a .394 OBA, Furcal had an OBA of .323 last season and his strikeout total jumped to 114. Worse yet, he drew just 17 walks in the second half of the season for a .309 OBA. Maybe he's fallen in love with his power stroke. Drawing walks is the key to the high steals totals most fantasy owners will be overpaying for. There was some talk Furcal could be moved to second base to make room for Wilson Betemit at shortstop, but that faded with Betemit's struggles. He's set to be a starter this year, but with the worsening plate discipline and the Betemit risk, let someone else overpay.