Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Matchup: Last Outfield Spot

Assuming that Marrero, Long, DeJesus and Stairs are shoo-ins to make the team (barring injury), the Royals are down to one available outfield spot to begin the season in 2005. Abraham Nunez is considered the incumbent and favorite, with Aaron Guiel, Matt Diaz and the super long shot Brown brothers, Adrian and Emil (no relation).

Although I'd like to believe the the Royals are holding an open competition, I'm fairly certain that Nunez will begin the season as the Royals' starting right fielder, unless he completely collapses or another candidate plays too well to be ignored in Surprise. I can't understand for the life of me why this is the case, since Nunez is an unqualified failure as a major league baseball player. He doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt, in any case, and should have to earn his way onto the roster.

I don't have any information for the Browns, but the ZIPS projections for 2005 suggest pretty clearly who is in line for the more productive 2005:
       AVG  OBP  SLG  RC*
Diaz .300 .346 .487 80
Guiel .261 .338 .430 61
Nunez .233 .311 .363 36
* Runs created
Diaz, even with his poor plate discipline, is still projected to be a much, much more productive player than Nunez. Even Guiel would be a serious upgrade over Nunez, assuming he's all the way back from his eye problems. Nunez probably has the edge defensively, which is important in the K these days, and I know nothing of Diaz's abilities in the outfield. But Nunez's glove does not come close to justifying taking the bat out of Diaz hands.

The bottom line is that Nunez is not a major league baseball player, despite his past "potential" and prospect status. I'm not sure what the Royals are thinking.


At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why IS Nunez considered the favorite? I don't get that either.



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