Last stop for position players. Just looking at the vast wasteland of pitching talent is making me a little nauseous, so I hung around with the outfielders longer than I intended. I also had to do a bit of ‘work’ at my day job, which is highly disappointing, because I thought they’d forgotten I was here. Oh well.
In other news, I’ve been looking through the newly-released 2005 PECOTA projections over at Baseball Prospectus. Looks like we’ll be okay on the offensive side of the ball this year and for pitching… ugh. Later. Royals Nightly has begun listing some of the numbers and their implications. I’ll probably throw in my two cents a bit closer to spring training.
On to the outfield!
Guiel spent most of his early career working his way up through the Angels and Padres minor league organizations, showing some ability to get on base and occasionally hit for power (he slugged .600 at the AA level in 1997). A few injuries and low batting averages kept him from ever sniffing the major leagues, so he followed the Jake Taylor career path and wound up in Mexico.
Allard Baird brought the Canadian back stateside and he finally broke into the big leagues in 2002 at the age of 29. Vision problems put Guiel on the DL and into the minors again last year. He’s had several eye surgeries and hopes to be back on track for a roster spot in 2005.
Guiel’s best traits are getting on base and trying hard, which are admirable in a fourth outfielder, which is what he is. All he is. Got that, Tony?
After struggling in his first call-up of the season, DeJesus was solid in replacing Carlos Beltran after the trade. He won’t put up Beltran’s power numbers, but he has above-average range in center field and his 400 plus OBPs from the minors seem to have translated well to the majors.
Oh, there is this one other thing: He can’t steal bases. Not even a little bit. Sure, it’s unfair to compare anybody’s stolen base ability with Beltran, but there isn’t anyone who can argue that getting thrown out at a 58% rate is anything but counterproductive. I mean, even Mike Sweeney managed to steal more bases than times he was caught last year, and his back is made out of kindling.
I checked, even his platoon numbers aren’t that good over the last three years. My only guess is that Allard figured he would counteract Darryl May’s unique ability to give up home runs by swapping it out with Long’s unique ability to avoid hitting home runs. (3 total last year).
I wager that Long gains 3 home runs this year by moving from PetCo Park in San Diego to the second-worst park for power hitters, Kaufman Stadium. May, meanwhile, will probably give up half as many long balls, walk five people all year, and win the National League Cy Young award.
Marrero is another guy who’s been a part-time player his whole career, either through injury or platoon splits. He only racked up 274 plate appearances last year, putting up the best numbers of his career despite some early injury trouble with a strained rib cage and respiratory infection.
Aside from last year and 2002, Marrero has never been anything but a below average offensive player. He has managed to find time to field both outfield and shortstop, so if the Royals can find an inning or two of second base time for him, he might make the Craig Biggio hall of fame.
Not to be confused with Abraham Nunez, Nunez was picked up from the Florida Marlins late in the season for Rudy Seanez. He started his career brilliantly, posting an OPS of 1.019 in his first three games, only to tailspin past mediocrity straight into the depths of very, very bad… very, very quickly.
He’s a little bit older than you’d like your young prospects to be, but then again, that’s what makes him a Royal. His last two seasons of minor league ball yielded lines of 250/329/477 in 2002 and 311/398/547 in 2003, so I guess the hope is that he was just fooling around with everybody last year and he’ll start hitting the ball “for reals” this season.