On Monday it was announced that speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson (Juh- ROD) had been promoted to the Kansas City Royals. I’ve been a big fan of Dyson since I saw him play for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals a couple of times last year. His primary talent seems to be his defense, where he utilizes his super-human speed to track down fly balls from center field. However, it isn’t just his speed that makes him a solid defender, he has great instincts and takes fantastic routes to fly balls. I’ve seen enough of guys like Joey Gathright in the outfield, who have superior speed but don’t have the skills to make proper use of it. Dyson, from what I’ve seen and what other scouts have said does take advantage.
Before the season started, I pegged Dyson as a candidate for a mid-season promotion, however a couple of injuries limited him to 71 games in the minors this year, mostly at AAA. He is 25, which is still young enough to develop, however he has notoriously been a slow mover through the minors.
Dyson was selected in the 50th and final round of the 2006 draft out of Southwest Mississippi Community College. If he gets in a game he will be the first player from that round of the 2006 draft to log time at the MLB level. He was selected 1,475th overall and will be the first player in Major League history to get an AB, drafted at that point. He will also be the first player in Royals history drafted in the 50th round to get Major League playing time.
Dyson might instantly become the fastest player in the majors, but he will need to find a bat to make an impact. The Royals seem to be loaded with 4th and 5th outfielder types, and unless something changes that will be Jarrod’s destiny. In five Minor League seasons, Dysons slash line is .278/.344/.343. In fact, he only hit his first homerun in professional baseball this year. Dyson doesn’t need to bang 25 homers to be a productive player, however at his age, a season with 10 or more would be encouraging. I think his upside is someone like Coco Crisp, however Crisp broke into the majors at a younger age and was producing double digit homerun seasons.
There is a lot of talk around baseball that speed and defense are coming into vogue over power. I don’t know if that is completely true, but I can assure you that teams still would prefer as much power as possible, and will sacrifice speed to get it. I am extremely excited to see a burner like Dyson get a shot at the Major League level. At the very least, it provides one of those unique baseball moments where we get to see a player get his first plate appearance and his first hit. Jarrod Dyson has a great set of unique tools, but it is his weakest one, his bat, which will make or break him.