With the return of Aaron Crow, Christian Colon and Liam Hendriks from Northwest Arkansas today, plus the introduction of Terrance Gore from there as well, the Royals have a dugout full of players.  More options for the manager who loves to ‘mix and match’.  If that last sentence didn’t make your stomach a little queasy, then you haven’t been watching Ned Yost manage.

That said, here is a quick guide to all the many options now at the fingertips of the Ned.

CATCHER

  • Salvador Perez
  • Eric Kratz
  • Francisco Pena

Yost has played Perez just about as close to everyday as one can for a catcher and there is no reason it won’t continue in September.  Kratz is a nice back-up, who has some quality at-bats from time to time.  The addition of Pena, who hit 27 home runs in Omaha this year  (but also posted a .280 OBP), allows the Royals to pinch-run for the heavy footed Perez and not worry (and listen, Ned does worry) about being down to no back-up catchers on the bench.  Yost could also use Kratz, if so desired to pinch-hit, but just a heads up:  Kratz actually hits right handed pitching better than left.

INFIELD

  • Eric Hosmer (L)
  • Billy Butler
  • Jayson Nix
  • Omar Infante
  • Johnny Giavotella
  • Christian Colon
  • Alcides Escobar
  • Mike Moustakas (L)

Escobar is going to play short everyday and Infante is going to play second most days and bat second, just because.  What happens at first base and designated hitter is going to be interesting.  If you were asking me – and no one has, shockingly – I would play Hosmer at first and Butler at DH against right-handed pitching and Butler at first and Willingham (bad back willing) at DH versus lefties.  My assumption, jaded as it may be, is that Yost will find a myriad of other options to employ as well, many of which are based on a) keeping Eric Hosmer’s dome all rosy and b) a given batter’s performance in five at-bats against the starting pitcher.

One would like to think that with Nix and Colon on the roster that pinch-hitting for Mike Moustakas would become almost a nightly occurrence, but I am skeptical of that as well.  Also, as mentioned above, Omar Infante is going to play most nights, which I don’t hate as I have given up on Johnny Giavotella and not sold on Christian Colon in the heat of a pennant race.  That said, could we please, please, please NOT bat Omar second?!!!!

 

OUTFIELD

  • Alex Gordon (L)
  • Lorenzo Cain
  • Nori Aoki (L)
  • Jarrod Dyson (L)
  • Josh Willingham
  • Raul Ibanez (L)
  • Terrance Gore
  • Lane Adams
  • Carlos Pegeuro (L)

That is a whole bunch of guys, but we already discussed the Ibanez/Willingham situation.  Other than to add that neither should set foot in the outfield grass this month.   It is no secret that Gore was called up exclusively to be a pinch-runner and that is mostly Adams’ role as well.  Pegeuro, who got a start last night, really should not take at-bats away from any of the top four guys on this list.  Pinch-hitting against a right-hander now and then?  Sure, I’ll take a few of those from Pegeuro – he just might ‘Justin Maxwell’ one over the wall, but no more than that.

Gordon, obviously, plays everyday.  The odd and often unpredictable rotation of Dyson, Cain and Aoki is likely to continue and I don’t hate it.   Submitted without further comment:  Aoki’s on-base percentage versus LHP this season is .410, but his OBP versus RHP is just .300.

All these shiny new toys are going to tempt Yost to be extra-creative.  Truthfully, he should settle on a first base/designated hitter rotation and do the same for center and right and limit the creativity to pinch-running for Butler and Perez and pinch-hitting for Moustakas and Infante.   Anything more is likely to do as much harm as it does good.