For the third straight game Monday, David Lough started in right field and batted leadoff. Lough, a 26-year-old whose minor league numbers look like those of a minor leaguer and not a prospect, has been the quintessential “guy that deserves a shot” within the Royals organization for a few years now.
What’s most puzzling about the move isn’t so much that Lough is seeing playing time in the Major Leagues – he’s probably better than Jeff Francouer at this point anyway – it’s that he’s seeing playing time ahead of Wil Myers, the Baseball America Minor League Player Of The Year. And, he’s batting leadoff instead of Alex Gordon.
“It’s not perfect. If I had a leadoff hitter, he wouldn’t be hitting leadoff. It’s just a spot where he kind of fits right now,” Yost said.
Read that back one more time and try not to cough up some Kool-Aid. The “he” Yost was referring to was Lough who had a .317 on-base percentage this season in Triple-A. The neon-colored elephant in the room wearing bells around its neck singing “Hello My Baby” like Michigan J. Frog Yost was referring to when he said “if I had a leadoff hitter…” is Alex Gordon.
The argument for Gordon staying as the leadoff hitter of an offense that struggles to score runs is compelling. The argument against Gordon staying as the leadoff hitter is flimsy. The argument that the Royals don’t currently have a leadoff hitter on their roster is insanity.
It’s one thing to send mixed signals to your franchise’s best prospect who is tearing apart the minor leagues the same way the two chosen ones did, and you pass him up for a promotion for some contrived Rule V, 40-man roster reason. It’s another to stick your head completely in the sand to having Gordon’s .360+ on-base percentage getting as many at-bats as possible in a lineup that shows no regard for the value of outs.
But, I guess that’s exactly why Gordon isn’t batting leadoff.