This is our series of deep dives on depth charts for each team in the MLB. I use the term ‘deep dive’ very loosely as I examine specific questions for each team because that will allow me to do as little research as possible. Thanks for reading, make sure to click on the ads or at least view them a handful of times
QUESTION: DO THE ROYALS FINALLY HAVE A RIGHT FIELDER?
Jorge Soler was traded to the Royals in exchange for sending one of the best relievers in the game, Wade Davis, to the Cubs. It was a trade the worked for both teams as each gave up what was a strength on their current roster. The Royals have an electric bullpen and the Cubs have like a billion good hitters.
Soler got overshadowed in Chicago because of the other young talent around him. In a normal organization that wasn’t beaming with young players overachieving very early in their careers, Soler likely would’ve been given more time to develop. A change of scenery might be exactly what he needs, not surrounded by the pressure the stars around him were bringing on.
Royals fans should know that his power is legit. He can hit it anywhere and I don’t think the big dimensions in Kansas City will hurt his power numbers much if he’s going right. However, if he’s not going right he’s the type of player that will make you slam your face into a car door. If he’s not making contact, he’s not very helpful.
QUESTION: CAN DANNY DUFFY LEAD THIS STAFF?
Oh Danny boy, what are you? Are you an ace that can pump 95 MPH from the left side or simply a bullpen pitcher whose stuff only plays in one-inning spurts? I guess we’ll find out considering he’s penciled in as the Royals ace for 2017.
Duffy struck out a ton of players last season, probably because he came out of the pen more in 2016 than he ever has. Considering he was so good and every other Royals starter is average at best, we’ll likely continue to see a revolution in terms of how Ned Yost manages his pitching staff. I feel dirty giving Yost that credit, so I’ll take it back and give Dave Eiland the props he deserves.
It probably doesn’t matter if Duffy can pitch like an ace because he won’t need to. That’s not how the Royals are going to use their starters. Just like the last few seasons, they’ll be asked to get through the lineup twice, maybe three times, and hit the showers so we can leverage all the guys who throw 100 MPH in our bullpen.
QUESTION: CAN SALVADOR PEREZ STAY HEALTHY?
The shelf life for good catchers who catch every day is about as long as those bananas turning brown on your kitchen counter. Salvador Perez is a big guy who has already caught a lot for a 26 year old. His batting average has steadily gone down every year since 2012, but his OPS was actually the highest it’s been in three years.
But his main value comes from the fact that he can catch a Major League game while not being a sieve on offense. He already got hurt at the World Baseball Classic after a collision at the plate, so it will be interesting to see how far the Royals push him during the regular season.
QUESTION: IS WHIT MERRIFIELD AN EVERYDAY PLAYER?
In short, no. Not really. He’s like the Tyler Naquin of the Royals. He’ll hit for a decent average but provide nothing in terms of power and very little in terms of speed. However, unlike Naquin there really isn’t much competition from his job coming from the minor leagues.
Hunter Dozier is a top Royals infield prospect who could be ready for the Bigs very soon, but he’s more likely to replace Mike Moustakas at third base…considering that’s his position. In all likelihood, this won’t totally be Merrifield’s job as Christian Colon can provide average Major League play as well.
QUESTION: HOW MANY WINS?
I ask these questions in every deep dive because it’s the easiest way to end these posts. Plus if I nail a win projection I can ride it to fame and glory.