Who: David Dennis Lough
DOB: 1/20/1986, Akron, Ohio
Weight: 180 lb
Acquired: 2007 Draft – 11th Round
~ Baseball America: #25
~ Royals Prospects: #13
~ Royals Review #14
~ Kevin Goldstein: NR
~ John Sickels: #22 C+
~ 2010 Kings of Kauffman Rank: #10
Rather than Mitch Maier or Gregor Blanco, the Royals signing of Melky Cabrera may affect David Lough most of all. Lough’s been waiting for his opportunity for a while now, and it seemed after a solid 2009 saw him brave the caverns of Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium and drill the ball all over Arvest Ballpark, he took a slight (but just slight) step back in 2010, delaying his major league debut.
Lough’s an athletic guy – he was the team captain of his high school baseball and soccer team and also played wide receiver at Mercyhurst (PA) College. What he brings to the Royals organization is solid bat, solid speed, decent pop and developing defense. As a left-handed outfielder, he has enough range to play centerfield but is versatile enough to play either corner position. There’s a reason a lot of people compare him to David DeJesus, because they have similar attributes, though Lough has more raw power and is a faster runner.
Last season, Lough came in at #10 in Kings of Kauffman’s prospect rankings so he’s dropped a few spots this year. That’s not a judgment on his abilities, but rather the result of adding some great talent in the past year. He’s still got a shot to be a very good outfielder for the Royals, perhaps as early as 2011 if Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur are traded, released or injured. He’s not a huge upside player, but he’s got the tools to be an everyday player. His biggest knock is a low walkrate, but he’s only struck out in 13.1% of his plate appearances.
In 2010, Lough started a little slow, hitting .262/.313/.424/.737 before the All-Star break. After, though, he hit .316/.403/.462/.865. Part of his problems in the first half were due to strikeouts, but he showed the ability to make adjustments and made more contact after the break. That’s a good sign for a player hitting Triple A. It shows that he has a chance to adjust well to a move to the majors. Last spring, he wowed the Royals brass in camp, and seems to have the attitude and work ethic to stick around the big leagues.
That is, once he makes it.
I was really surprised that Lough didn’t get a look in September while Jai Miller was flailing around at the plate in Kansas City. Lough’s approach lends itself to Kauffman Stadium, as he’s more of a gap hitter than a power hitter and the wide alleys would suit him well. In the big picture, he could be a part of a late-2o11/2012 outfield with Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. Once the Royals start developing their prospects and making a move within the division, he would be a capable fourth outfielder (assuming he doesn’t break out or an injury pushes him into action elsewhere). He’s a player that’s good enough for the Royals to rely on for a few years and will still be good once he gets older.
Is this the year he finally makes his debut? Or does the glut of outfielders at the big league level spell another season in Omaha for Lough?
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