REAL BASEBALL IS HERE! Well, real baseball that doesn’t really count for anything unless you care about winning the Cactus League which some people (me) do! The Royals kicked of Spring Training yesterday in Surprise, AZ against the Rangers (which is not a surprise in Surprise because we play them first every year). The Roys started out strong with two shutout innings hurled by top prospect pitcher, Kyle Zimmer. In the bottom of the second, Jarrod Dyson would leave the game with a strained oblique after running a ground ball out to first. The rest of the game went downhill from there with the Royals losing to the Rangers, 6-2.
Jarrod Dyson’s injury will keep him out of baseball activities for at least a couple of weeks, though the extent of his injury and length of absence will not be known until MRI results are available tomorrow. It was reported that the average stint on the DL for an oblique strain last year was 57 days (courtesy of @shauncore). What we do know is that RF is back up for grabs!
I would say that it’s safe to bet that Ned Yost would like to continue with his platoon plan using Paulo Orlando. Paulo is a right handed hitter with a .249 batting average last year. We are all familiar with Paulo’s triple hitting ability and his average defense. Platooning Orlando with Dyson was going to work well not only because Dyson complimented Orlando as a left handed hitter, but also because subbing the much more defensive-minded, Dyson, late in games is a-typical Royals baseball. Alas, that plan has gone awry so let’s check out the Royal’s other RF options.
Number one contender seems to surprisingly be Travis Snider. The Royals signed Snider to a minor league deal late January. Snider, at 28, played for the Orioles and the Pirates in 2015, batting .232/.313/.350. Snider would be an ideal candidate for the RF spot because, like Dyson, he bats left and would play into a platoon situation well. Skipper, Ned Yost, was quoted in the Star saying, “I’m intrigued about him…Quite frankly, I’ve been very impressed with Snider.”
Jose Martinez is a close second who played in Omaha last year, batting .382/.456/.559 and pulling out an impressive 10 homers in only 102 games with the Storm Chasers. Martinez was rumored to be the frontrunner heading into Spring Training.
Brett Eibner was previewed during our look into replacing Gordo last fall (yeah, yeah, joke’s on me). Besides having some of the best hair in baseball, Eibner is defensively the most sound option the Royals have and hit .303/.364/.514 last year in AAA.
Jorge Bonifacio and Bubba Starling are longshots for the job, but could definitely glean a bench spot if the Royals so desire. Both would benefit from some more time in the minors, however, as neither has seen any action higher than AA at this point. Starling is the Royals darling prospect, but Bonifacio could be the dark horse in the contest as he hit one of the two dingers during the Royals Spring Training 2016 debut.