Over the past couple of weeks, I have postulated an ‘everything goes right’ scenario for the everyday positions in the Kansas City lineup. I did my best to keep ‘everything going right’ from becoming ‘a walk through utopia’ and also ignored potential future free agent signings and possible trades. As we summarize this series, I will dabble ever so slightly into the trade market, but otherwise try to remain quasi-realistic.
Let’s get started with the upcoming season, which has already been altered from our original scenario by the signing of Scott Podsednik. I have injected totally unscientific projections for each player, based somewhat on past performance, somewhat on comparable players and a whole lot on ‘everything going right.’
C – Jason Kendall (250/340/350)
1B – Billy Butler (315/385/540 – his 2nd half split of last year)
2B – Chris Getz (270/344/376)
SS – Yuniesky Betancourt (275/310/390), replaced by a healthy Mike Aviles (300/350/450) by mid-season
3B – Alex Gordon (280/380/500 – hey, it HAS to be his breakout year, right?)
DH/Utility – Alberto Callaspo (300/360/420), traded at mid-season for a outfield prospect with good numbers in AA or AAA, but maybe a touch old for the level (think Casper Wells of the Tigers or Brian Bogusevic of the Astros) and a hard throwing mid to low minors pitcher with potential but no supporting production.
LF – David DeJesus (286/358/425 – same ole David)
CF – Scott Podsednik (277/340/381 – I can’t be optimistic here, call me bitter)
RF – Jose Guillen to start out, hopefully replaced sooner rather than later by a platoon of Jordan Parraz (280/350/440) and David Lough (300/340/470)
Sure, I have not mentioned Josh Fields in here, who likely gets in as the DH and in the outfield situation somewhere and maybe, just maybe, Kila Ka’aihue gets a look at designated hitter after Callaspo is traded and Guillen sold (i.e. traded for anything) or simply let go.
C – Jason Kendall (230/325/330) and Manny Pina (230/325/330) – I know, what about Brayan Pena? Defensively he may not be able to hack it and I don’t see the current regime giving him a chance to prove it. Pina, by all accounts, is a good defender – that’s something, I guess.
1B – Billy Butler (325/410/550 – best hitter in the organization since Brett?)
2B – Chris Getz (286/377/410)
SS – Jeff Bianchi (290/340/440 – not bad for a rookie)
3B – Alex Gordon (290/400/520)
Utility – Mike Aviles (300/340/480 – playing everywhere like Willie Bloomquist…….only good)
DH – Kila Ka’aihue (250/380/490 – not great, but better than any other DH the past five years)
LF – David DeJesus (290/360/430) – this one hurts, but after picking up his option the Royals trade him for two prospects (not top 10 types, but top 30 types)
CF – David Lough (310/355/490) – he may not quite have the skills to play centerfield at anything but average, but he is better and cheaper than Podsednik
RF – Jordan Parraz (294/381/445)
The hope would be that the outfield prospect acquired via the 2010 trade of Callaspo could take over after the DeJesus trade. Heck, it is possible that Podsednik is brought back and the trade of David simply opens up full-time duty for both Parraz and Lough. Of course, Josh Fields might figure in too.
C – Manny Pina (240/330/370) and Sean McCauley (280/350/385)
1B – Billy Butler (320/410/550)
2B – Chris Getz (280/380/420) – possibly pushed by Johnny Giavotella by mid-season
SS – Jeff Bianchi (300/360/470)
3B – Alex Gordon (290/405/550)
Utility – Mike Aviles (280/340/460)
LF – David Lough (320/360/505)
CF – Derrick Robinson (280/340/350 with 60 steals)
RF – Jordan Parraz (290/380/460)
DH – Mike Moustakas (260/340/540)
Waiting in the wings would be Eric Hosmer, possibly transitioning to rightfield and Wil Myers, who is hopefully hitting so well that he is vaulting through the minors and making the Royals wonder how much inexperience they can tolerate behind the plate to get his bat in the lineup.
While we all know that not all of the above is going to happen. Free agent acquisitions and trades (even the ones we have proposed are not truly factored into the lineups above) will change the landscape we have laid out for the future. Injuries occur and finances will continue to effect the lineups.
Still, for fun, which of the above lineups compete? I think the 2012 group, performing as indicated, is good enough offensively to put the team in the mix and maybe the 2011 lineup has enough, too. Keep in mind, both of these squads is going to be augmented by the organization’s one perceived strength: starting pitching.
Trust me, if you don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling from our ‘everything goes right’ scenario for the everyday lineup, I almost can guarantee that you will get one when we move onto the pitching staff.