This is the latest post in this series reviewing the Kansas City Royals offensively, position by position. You can go back and read the posts on catcher (including a series preview), first base, second base, third base, shortstop and left field.
Let’s take a look at the how the players who got the bulk of the time at center field hit when they manned that position.
There clearly was a lot of shuffling around in center this year. No single player got even half of the games at the position. Mitch Maier was as close to a “regular” at the position as there was in 2010. Gregor Blanco was acquired via trade, Rick Ankiel was injured and then traded and Jarrod Dyson was a late season call up. One of the things that jump out at me is the fact that Rick Ankiel only played center for 24 games in 2010. I complained so much about him, that it sure seemed like he was out there more than he was. Ankiel, was a somewhat effective hitter in center field though. His 117 sOPS+ is due mostly to a decent slugging percentage, but still if you can get that out of a center fielder regularly, I’d think you’d take it. Mitch Maier and Gregor Blanco seem to be guys destined as filler, players who manned the position when there weren’t any other options. They didn’t embarrass themselves or the club, but they weren’t something special.Defensively, and just judging by what I’ve seen, I think Jarrod Dyson has the most upside, Maier was the best in 2010 and he was followed by Blanco and Ankiel.
Let’s see how the unit stacked up against the rest of the American League.
This isn’t a particularly surprising chart. The Royals clearly were a sub-par offensive team in center field. Whether you prefer judging by wOBA or OPS, the rank can move up or down by a couple of slots, but it’s still nothing to get excited about. One category which the Royals center fielders seemed to excel was in walk rate. Their 9.1% rate was third in the American League (hey, it’s something).
2011 will be a very interesting year for the center field position. I imagine there will be a pretty steady rotation throughout the season with Jarrod Dyson possibly getting the bulk of the time if he can show a decent bat when he does get a chance. I’m not convinced that the long-term answer to the position will be on the roster in 2011, but Derrick Robinson, who could be a September call-up has the best chance.