March 6, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) hits a double in the third inning during a spring training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Off Day Thoughts: Second Base, Mike Moustakas, and Prospect Praise

Royals off days are no fun. Even if spring training results aren’t the most important thing, it’s better to have a day with baseball in it than one without. The Royals took Monday off, one of three open dates on their spring calendar, but play Oakland on Tuesday afternoon (and James Shields is scheduled to throw four innings).

They’re coming off two games in which they scored a combined 30 runs, including some big days for Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella. It’s been expected that the two would go to the last day before the team made a decision, and as it stands now, their numbers are close.

Giavotella:

Year Tm G PA R H 2B RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB OppQual
2013 KC 11 24 3 7 1 7 0 3 .304 .333 .348 .681 8 8.8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/11/2013.

Getz:

Year Tm G PA R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB OppQual
2013 KC 11 26 8 8 1 1 4 2 1 1 5 .320 .346 .480 .826 12 9.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/11/2013.

The difference is still the Getz homer, but they’re otherwise about as even as you can get. There’s a lot of time for the battle to play out, and for one or the other to get separation. The weekend’s games saw both get three hits, first with Giavotella doing damage against the Giants and Getz’s answer against the Angels. The big days and small sample size gave both a boost in the numbers.

Also, apparently Giavotella has earned the nickname of “Wreck-It Ralph”. According to Jonah Keri, it’s because he has long arms and large hands for being only 5’8″. I guess I’d never noticed that before…

-Two interesting takes on the same situation: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star and Dick Kaegel of the Royals official site talked with Mike Moustakas. Dutton was able to coax a slight admission that an injured knee may have resulted in Moustaka’s struggles at the plate in the second half, but Kaegel made a point to let Moustakas and Ned Yost dismiss the notion.

Dutton’s passage:

Moustakas now admits, albeit grudgingly, that a sprained right knee suffered July 28 in Seattle might have been a factor. He suffered the injury while making a diving stop in the first inning on a Casper Wells grounder.

“It’s whatever you guys want to make of it,” Moustakas said. “It definitely didn’t feel like it was 100 percent, but that didn’t affect me on the field. Any time I step on the field, my body is 100 percent.”

And Kaegel’s:

Did the knee injury affect his bat?

“No, I’m not going to ever be one to make excuses,” Moustakas said. “I was on the field, so I was 100 percent. Any time I’m on the field, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’ll go out and play as if everything was 100 percent, and that’s how you have to approach the game.”

Both did point out the splits pre- and post-injury, and Damion Mandalas Royal Revival provided a nice examination of this question a couple of weeks ago. I’m convinced that, despite Moose’s pleas to the contrary, there was something affecting his performance. That it coincides with a documented injury is awfully coincidental to me. Good news is that he’s healthy now and hitting the ball well.

Salvador Perez (Venezuela) and Luis Mendoza (Mexico) should be back with the team on Tuesday after their teams were eliminated from the World Baseball Classic. Eric Hosmer is still with Team USA as they move onto the second round. He’s 3-13 but blew the game open against Canada on Sunday with a bases-clearing double in the ninth inning. Tim Collins is with him in Miami, while Irving Falu (Puerto Rico), Miguel Tejada, Atahualpa Severino, and Kelvin Herrera (all the Dominican Republic) are still active in the WBC as well. Tony Botts says that might not be a good thing, though.

– Finally, I had to share some comments from J.J. Cooper on Twitter. Cooper is the primary writer for Baseball America when it comes to Royals prospects, so he sees Kansas City’s minor leaguers often. He was discussing Adalberto Mondesi today and noted:

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Tags: Adalberto Mondesi Kansas City Royals Mike Moustakas Spring Training

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