The Process – A Hole 2b
The Royals as we know have a thin margin for error in regards to the 2013 season and in the future. Â While there are weaknesses in the rotation, unknowns all over the infield and outfield the most glaring weakness to the team is at second base. Â Lets look at the possible options the Royals have in the org currently.
Chris Getz – The leader in the clubhouse as they say in more ways than one is a very weak option indeed. Â The projected starter had a career year at the plate and still finished with just a 85 OPS+ and 83 RC+ in 2012, so basically he’s 15% below average with the stick at a position that has suddenly become a source of offense in the majors. Â What Getz can’t provide on offense he’s supposed to make up for with the glove yet he’s only been able to muster an average UZR in two of the last three years while putting up a solid season in between. Â If you believe in UZR then Getz defense just isn’t good enough to make up for his weak stick. Â If you prefer the eye test well then show me something that is better than average on defense cause I just don’t see it. Â The range isn’t great, the arm is blah and the turn on the DP isn’t outstanding. Â When the best you can say about Getz is that he is mistake free then that just isn’t enough praise for his defense to make up for the bat. Â On top of the weak bat and so-so defense Getz has yet to make it past 118 games in a season while playing less than half in two of his last three seasons likely meaning another player on the club would have to take up significant time at his spot. Â At 29 years old Getz shouldn’t be expected to build on his performance more than try to sustain it and considering that was a career year there is a better than average chance he returns to old form which is far too big a hole for this club to carry. Â On the Tigers, a club with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the performance Getz provides would be good enough but for this club it just doesn’t get it done.
Johnny Giavotella – As most of you know I’ve been out in front of the Gio fan club for quite sometime. Â Still I can’t believe Gio is the answer after his performance in the majors so far. Â Yes I think the Royals have contributed to the poor results with their inconsistent playing time and jerking around of Gio but it doesn’t matter, you have to perform when the lights are on and Gio hasn’t. Â The other problem with Gio is Eric Hosmer. Â What? Â Yes Hosmer is a problem for all the second baseman listed. Â If you believe in the UZR numbers then it must be pointed out that Hosmer has been an atrocious first baseman defensively built mostly on his poor range factor. Â Is that poor defensive alignment by the Royals or does Hos lack actual range on balls? Â All I know is that it doesn’t take an expert eye to realize that Eric’s defense isn’t what the Royals desired on the right side and if that is the case then the Royals can’t afford to have a limited range defender like Gio playing next to him. Â I’m a big fan of Johnny and the way his teammates seem to rally around him almost feeding off of his performance but unless he absolutely kills it in spring training I don’t see him getting a realistic shot at this job.
Miguel Tejada – A 39 year old does not a All Star defender make generally and I don’t buy that the Royals brought Miguel in for his glove at second base. Â The idea that “leadership” is more or equal to as valuable as production to this team or any team for that matter is a farce. Â The idea that a 39 year old who hasn’t produced an above average season since 2009 would be the best candidate for the position seems laughable. Â Unfortunately that might be the case as I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he put up an average OPS+ with slightly below average defense which I doubt the other two candidates could pull off at this point. Â As we get closer to the season I’m leaning more and more to the idea that he si the Royals starter at second which speaks to how poor of options KC is working with here.
Christian Colon -Â The former #4 overall pick has yet to must an average minor league season offensively so to think that he’s a true option here would be pretty shocking. Â I’ve been very critical of Colon since he’s joined the org which was surprising to me as I liked his talent in college quite a bit and wasn’t upset with the pick even though I was a proponent of Chris Sale in that draft. Â That stuff out of the way his foot speed was remarkably slow which cuts into his range and if not for his instincts would likely make him a worse defensive candidate than Giavotella. Â On top of the average at best defense he’s been a very Getzian like hitter actually putting together a worse minor league OPS than Getz with less SLG if you believe it or not all despite playing the bulk of his games in a very very hitter friendly Texas league. Â That foot speed also hampers any kind of secondary skills that Colon can provide, something Getz does very well. Â These are all bad signs for his future as a starter in the bigs and is a reason I don’t have him ranked higher organizationally.
Too Late Now – I would like to blame the lack of talent at 2b on a payroll cap but that just isn’t true. Â The Royals had the money to jump out and grab Kelly Johnson earlier than the Rays as well as outbidding them if they needed to. Â If not that move they also could have snapped up Jed Lowrie by putting together a better package than what the A’s put together. Â In the end the lack of moves at this position is a poor evaluation of major league talent on the Royals part creates a gap in their lineup and a hole defensively on the right side. Â For some teams that isn’t a big deal but to the Royals that is a major concern as they don’t have that super star player that we know of yet that can carry a lineup. Â They need average to slightly better performances all over the diamond just to be competitive and I just don’t see that happening at this position on the diamond.
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