Taking the Next Step: Johnny Giavotella


Although it shouldn’t surprise most, the recently announced call up of Johnny Giavotella to Kansas City may still be a shock given the unwavering praise that Chris Getz has received.

After Thursday night’s win against Baltimore, the Royals announced that they had purchased Giavotella’s contract from Triple A Omaha and he will be placed on the big league roster.  No corresponding move has been announced yet.

It’s speculated that Everett Teaford will get optioned back to Omaha or that Getz could be optioned (or released).  I’d guess the Teaford move is more likely.  Bob Dutton suggests it’ll be Yamaico Navarro, to get regular playing time.

No matter what the move is that opens a spot on the active roster for Gio, it’s clear that he deserves his shot at the major leagues.  The second round pick of the Royals in 2008, Giavotella has been knocking the ball all over the Pacific Coast League, which he departs as the league leader in base hits.

Giavotella was our #13 prospect entering the season and drew passing comparisons to Dustin Pedroia.

I’ll offer one caveat.  Giavotella has the hitting skills to be good at the big league level, but his glove will never be any better than average.  He’s put in a lot of work to get to an adequate level but there are still plays that he should make that he doesn’t.  The bat should balance out the glove, though, and the rest of the way, we get to see what he can do at the plate with an eye towards a full season in 2012.

The drive seems to be there, as Kansas City Star blogger Rustin Dodd passed along an anecdote about Royals minor league coordinator asking him if he’d rather work on double plays in Triple A or go to the big leagues.  Giavotella has chosen the latter (whether the option was really there or not).

The Royals hope to get Gio 100-150 at bats the rest of the season so he should get regular duty while newly acquired Yamaico Navarro fills a role of utility infielder.  That seems to leave Getz – who has played all but nine defensive innings at second base – out of the picture.  The Royals get to see how Giavotella handles the big leagues and can judge if his bat will play at this level (despite his defensive shortcomings) or not, which is a good thing if they expect him to be part of a contending team.  He should play five times a week according to Dutton.

And, if you’re the type to do such a thing, you can congratulate Giavotella yourself on Twitter, where he logs in as @Gio2BKC.

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