We don’t know it for sure yet, but it seems that Mike Moustakas is going to get a pass on his Spring Training. After Johnny Giavotella was sent down to “work on his defense” in Omaha, I wondered why Moose gets a pass for his Spring. I understand that Giavotella has more competition, but wasn’t Yuniesky Betancourt also brought in to play a little third base?
These are very different situations. Last season, Moose tallied 365 plate appearances, while Giavotella racked up just 187. For comparison’s sake, Chris Getz was able to squeeze in a tiny sample size of 429 plate appearances. Let’s hope that never happens again.
So, Moose had a rough start and hot finish, while Giavotella had a quick start and slow finish. Gio also walked very little, and that should be a focus this spring. However, in 44 and 47 plate appearances respectively, Gio and Moose have 1 and 2 walks, with Moose striking out three more times than Gio. Moose has also batted worse, finding himself with a worse triple slash line in every stat than Gio. Meanwhile, Getz hit like Getz hits and Yuni played like Yuni.
Moose notoriously has slow starts, so I guess he gets some relief there. And Gio came into camp with more competition, as Moose only had to fight off Kevin Kouzmanoff and the 10 plate appearances he got. I understand that Moose comes in with loftier expectations than Gio, who has scrapped and fought his way to the majors (not that Moose hasn’t worked hard). They want to give Moose the benefit of the doubt. I get that.
However, since I’m sticking with this, I’ve had more problems with Moose’s defense than Gio’s. Since Moose plays at the hot corner, he needs to tighten up the screws a bit. Maybe he needs to go to Omaha to work on his fielding skills. Maybe he needs to get those throws on line and work on fielding grounders.
Whether you look at the bat or the glove, I can’t really separate the two from needing more time in Omaha, if Gio does need that. There’s no sense in rushing Moose if he’s not totally ready, right? So, what’s the deal?
This argument isn’t really about Moose needing to go to Omaha. It’s about the inconsistencies of the Royals’ reports. It’s about their dishonesty in this case, as I’ll never believe that it’s just defense that Gio needs to work on. Moose is just as guilty of a poor spring as Gio is, and since they brought in Yuni to play a little third anyway, why not stick with Yuni and Getz with a utility infielder while Moose and Gio both tighten up their skills to better prepare them for the future?
I hope Gio comes out firing and Moose gets that hot start he’s missed out on. I hope Yuni and Getz are Yuni and Getz, providing just what we expect and no more. And I hope for these things to happen not only because I want to see the young, touted prospects succeed and the Royals win, but because I want to see what the front office says when Gio deserves a May call-up to replace a bumbling Getz. I want to hear their justifications then.
And I bet you anything that it won’t mention how amazing Gio’s defense has become over the following couple months.
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