Sunday, August 06, 2006

Organizational Outlook: Corner Infield/Outfield

The next two posts will look at the Royals' organizational depth chart and look at what the team will look like by 2008-2009. This post will focus on the Royals' position players. The Royals' greatest organizational strength is at the corner positions, where they have a strong group of power bats approaching the majors. Dayton Moore's plans include power at the corners and speed up the middle. The Royals should have plenty of power bats at the corner positions by 2008-2009. The Royals have some speed up the middle, but those players might not be more than part-time players.

The Royals have some important questions to answer at the corner spots. The Royals depth chart has a lot of overlap at the corners, so it's very difficult to project what position the organization's corner infielders and outfielders will eventually play. The Royals have two excellent third basemen, but one will have to be moved to first base or the outfield. Justin Huber and Billy Butler are currently playing outfield in the minors, but both are defensive liabilities there and may have to move to first base/DH. Mitch Maier and Chris Lubanski project as much better defenders, but have much weaker bats. The Royals also already have a solid corner outfielder in David DeJesus, but he could be moved back to centerfield.

The best way to look at the corner positions is to look at all of the potential players in general for the 4 corner positions and the DH spot. If you consider Gordon, Teahen, and DeJesus as locks for future positions, then the Royals have the following players competing for the the remaining two or three corner spots (depending on if DeJesus moves back to CF):

Billy Butler, Ryan Shealy, Justin Huber, Chris Lubanski, Mitch Maier

Butler, Shealy, and Huber project as above-average to All-Star corner bats and two of them will likely reach those projections. Lubanski and Maier will provide some insurance in case more than one of those players doesn't pan out or they may become trade bait.

Organizational Needs at the Corners: The Royals are in a very good position at the corner spots by 2008. The Royals might need a stopgap outfielder or 1B/DH for next year. Sanders and Sweeney will likely be those stopgap players because of their expensive contracts.

Offseason Moves: The Royals will try to move Sanders and Sweeney and perhaps resign Mientkiewicz or another stopgap first basemen or outfielder. Lubanski or Maier might be added to sweeten a deal.


At 12:29 AM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

So, how do you see the Royals' corner positions unfolding over the next few seasons?

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Royals have not seemed to tip their hand at all concerning a position move for Teahen or Gordon. I'm guessing both will stay on the infield corners, pushing Shealy to DH. Assuming DeJesus moves back to CF (which I personally am in favor of), that leaves Huber at one corner and either Maier or Lubanski or Costa at the other. Lubanski and Costa seem very similar with Lubanski having just a bit more power and more upside due to his age. Maier is a great backup for CF and can play the corners as well. I don't expect to see Butler until 2008, putting off any decisions about fitting him in.


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