A few weeks ago, I wondered about the impact of events and their symbolism in regards to the progression of the Royals. Eric Hosmer‘s call-up generated national attention as the first big name prospect from the vaunted Royals system. That was on another Thursday afternoon following an afternoon game.
After Thursday’s win, Kansas City announced that Mike Moustakas would be joining Hosmer in the majors.
It’s fitting that during the same week of the MLB draft, Dayton’s Moore’s first draft pick is brought into the big leagues. Mike Aviles, struggling for most of the season with the exception of a couple of weeks, was optioned to Omaha.
Our #3 Prospect coming into the season, Moustakas has some big shoes to fill. Hosmer is hitting .309/.349/.485/.835 and has driven in 21 runs with five homers already.
After a slow start to 2011, Moustakas has turned things around and his numbers nearly match his time in Omaha from 2010:
|AAA (2 seasons)||AAA||107||486||74||130||31||1||25||92||27||69||.290||.331||.531||.862|
|A (1 season)||A||126||549||77||135||25||3||22||71||43||86||.272||.337||.468||.805|
|AA (1 season)||AA||66||298||58||90||25||0||21||76||26||42||.347||.413||.687||1.100|
|Rk (1 season)||Rk||11||47||6||12||4||1||0||10||4||8||.293||.383||.439||.822|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||129||530||66||123||32||2||16||86||32||90||.250||.297||.421||.718|
There are concerns with Moustakas that aren’t there for Hosmer. He’s not the athlete that Hosmer is, and his defense won’t be a strength either. Kevin Scobee examined other questions about Moustakas about a month ago and some of them will be in the air until Moustakas proves otherwise.
He’s been a slow starter in years past, but, as in 2010, he heats up as the weather does. After an April where he posted a .714 OPS, he followed up with .942 in May and .849 in June. He’s never been one to walk a lot, but he’s increased that ratio in 2011 compared to his 2010 Triple A season. He’s even hit lefties consistently.
But that’s in the minors. It’s the big time now. Moustakas will make his debut in Los Angeles, not far from the San Fernando Valley where he went to high school. He’ll get full time work at third base while Wilson Betemit … well we’re not sure where he’s going to go yet.
To make room, someone will have to drop off the 40 man roster, most likely pitchers Kevin Pucetas or Jesse Chavez. Meanwhile, Mike Aviles will spend some time in Omaha. I’m surprised he was sent down, but someone had to go and the organization seems to have a love affair with Chris Getz (who, to be fair, has been fairly productive lately). There’s still a good chance that Aviles will be back very soon, especially if Betemit is traded to someone in need of corner infield help. Aviles himself could be on the move, as he’s capable of filling a spot on the diamond at three infield positions and can be a solid producer at the plate at times.
But the focus is, of course, on Moustakas. Fans need to temper expectations. Hosmer forced the Royals hand and, combined with the terrible start to the year by Kila Ka’aihue, made it an easy decision to promote him. His performance advanced the timetable. Moustakas, with his slow start, wasn’t pressing anybody out of action and the logical decision was to wait until after the start of June to delay his arbitration to call him up. The Royals now retain his rights for the rest of the year and for six full seasons and he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after 2014.
The Royals return home from a road trip on Tuesday the 21st. Expect Ryan Lefebvre to say “No, they aren’t booing. They’re saying ‘Moooose!’ ”