September 27, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder David Lough (7) scores a run during the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Battle For Right Field: Why Lough Deserves His Chance

Imagine you’re Royals’ manager Ned Yost and attempting to fill out his roster for the upcoming season.

Most of the positions are clear cut and dry, with little need for competition.

However, when it comes to seeing who gets penciled in to right field, we’ve reached quite a peculiar situation.

Throughout spring training, you’ve cycled a few people through the spot, with mixed results, but two players seem to be the final option.

So, it’s now decision time: Player A, or Player B?

Player A is 29 years old, batting .234 through 47 spring at-bats, with one home run, 12 strikeouts and a .280 on-base percentage.

Player B is 27 years old, carrying a .543 AVG through 35 at-bats, six doubles, a .556 OBP and .771 slugging-percentage.

Defensively, neither is spectacular, however Player A has a very impressive arm from right field, while Player B has a .980  lifetime-fielding percentage.

But, as you can see, each player is having a completely different type of spring training. Which brings me to the question, why isn’t Yost putting more faith in Lough?If you haven’t figured out who each player is yet, Player A is the profile of struggling big-league veteran Jeff Francoeur, while Player B is  David Lough, the Royals’ 20th ranked prospect.

In 2012, Lough saw his first promotion to the big leagues, finding playing time in 20 games and turning in a less-than-impressive .237 AVG, while being a career .294 hitter through his multiple stops in the minor league circuit. Lough has posted four minor league seasons with a batting average over .300.

Frenchy is obviously struggling at the plate. Following last year’s eye-gouging .235 performance at the plate, Francoeur is not showing many signs of improvement, specifically plate discipline or increased contact.

With Lough beginning to drift more from prospect status, to career-minor leaguer, why shouldn’t Lough get the nod over Frenchy when Opening Day arrives? Lough obviously isn’t an offensive liability, considering the performances the Royals are used to seeing from Francoeur. Some argue that Frenchy’s powerful arm is right field is good enough to sway favoritism, but while he may cut down a runner at the plate every now and then, his range is not the most impressive attribute of Dayton Moore’s “golden-boy.”

The notion is out there that Moore is looking to find a platoon-partner for Frenchy, preferably a left-handed hitter, which Lough provides. Unfortunately for Lough, his fate will come down to whether the Royals feel if Jarrod Dyson is up to the challenge as the fourth outfielder.

I wouldn’t hold your breath that Lough makes the Opening Day roster, but it would definitely be refreshing to see someone besides Francoeur whiffing at every off-speed pitch at his shoelaces.



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Tags: David Lough Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    Dyson will be the 4th but I’m getting an intuition that Frenchy may start the year on the DL, which moves Lough up to 3rd/4th OF. If the club goes with the sensible one UIF, could even see Lough sneaking in as a 5th OF for platoon, ph, pr if Royals think he has turned a corner in SP. Most likely starts in Omaha, but if Cain truly is injury prone or Francoeur flat falls on his face or has more leg problems I think he’ll get his chance. Didn’t Frenchy have a dynamic spring last year?

    • Michael Engel

      Frenchy’s last three spring training lines

      .227/.288/.409 – 3 HR, 10 strikeouts, 5 walks

      .240/.256/.373 – 1 HR, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk

      .234/.280/.447 – 1 HR, 2 triples, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks

      I guess he’s closest to his 2011 line, but not sure the numbers are gonna be much help here. I don’t remember his spring last year all that well but don’t remember a a big narrative that developed or anything.

      • jimfetterolf

        Maybe I’m thinking of Hosmer.

        Been seeing that the R’s are looking for an LH platoon OF, so checked Dyson. Career against RHP is .263/.333/350 with a net stolen base for every ten PA, so that should play. Still think, if Cain can stay healthy, that Dyson moves into CF against RHP and Cain moves to RF. If that works, Frenchy probably gets cut by June or so, depending on what Lough does at Omaha.

        • Michael Engel

          Hosmer had a fantastic spring last year- each of the last two years even, though 2011 he wasn’t there long before he got shifted to minor league camp.

          5 homers, 29 RBI in 28 games, 13/10 K/BB ratio last spring.

          Had two homers right away into the year, then the troubles started.

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