Spring Training Questions – Second Base


Spring training games begin on Friday which will kick off one of the few position questions the Royals have. Who’ll win the second base job in 2013? Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella seemingly will go head-to-head all spring.

Let’s start with Getz since I feel he’ll get the first chance at the job. When last we saw him, he took a ball off his hand trying to get a bunt down on August 17. After the unsuccessful try Getz missed the rest of 2012 with a broken thumb.

Who will win the Kansas City Royals second baseman job? Johnny Giavotella or Chris Getz? Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

In 64 games he hit .275 which was a career high for him (he had hit .286 for the White Sox in 2008 but it was in just seven at bats) in addition to having 10 doubles and three triples last season with a .312 OBP. Besides the thumb he missed time with a left leg strain which led to him playing the second fewest total games played, with 72 in 2010 being the next lowest.

Let’s look at his 2011 season which he played in 110 games making 97 starts in and he played in 95 complete games at second base. During this season he set career highs in games played (118), plate appearances (429), at-bats (380), runs (80) and tied his career high in walks (30).

In three years with the Royals he’s appeared in 254 games all but nine games played at second base. Only nine other second basemen didn’t homer last season and only Ben Revere hasn’t hit a homerun in the past three seasons. Fans want to see more than what he’s provided the team or give someone else an opportunity even if that means Christian Colon or dare I say Miguel Tejada (hopefully not) gets a longer look.

Giavotella whole spent most of the past two seasons in Omaha but as a minor league player he’s hit at each level. The issue that’s holding him back is his defense which always gets mentioned when you hear from the front office. Over the last two seasons he’s played in 46 and 53 games at second base.

While Giavotella’s hit in the minors, he hasn’t done so in the majors and hasn’t taken the job from Getz. He played about everyday in 2011, but until Getz got hurt in 2012, he played more sporadically.. This could be a factor for why his batting average went from .247 to .238, RBIs fell from 21 to 15 while his OPS slide to .574 after being .649.

The statistics selected for Giavotella represent the greatest drops given that he’s got a small sample size to go off of. It is probably a credit that even in fewer games than Getz his numbers are close if not better in some categories despite the disparity in playing time for the two.

So who’s the better option at the position? To me it seems like a coin toss based on Getz struggles with staying healthy while with the team, while Gio’s big league career hasn’t taken off yet

What’s the way to see who can be the guy this coming season? Split-squad action which isn’t the clearest way to tell who played the best but it give both guys a chance at playing daily. Seeing both player everyday would give the team a chance to see who’s the guy.

My preference is that if the competition is close they give Giavotella the opportunity with how he’s played at every level with much of this teams core. He’s younger than Getz and I think he can still improve if given the chance.

If its Getz he’ll have my support and I’ll pray that he stays healthy and is productive but the evidence that we’ve seen fuels my doubts. A platoon could work I guess but I don’t have faith in how Ned would do this given what seems to be his preference to playing veterans.

From a platoon standpoint Getz hits lefties better at .262 over .226 for Gio against lefties. From the right side Getz hits at .256 to Giavotella being a .252 hitter. An interesting point is that in way fewer plate appearances Giavotella is pretty close despite 800 few at-bats against RHP pitchers.

Comparing these two and giving one an advantage is tough based on Gio’s smaller sample but we’ve got an idea. As of today Getz is the safe bet given that he’s been in the major’s longer but in terms of upside Giavotella offers that but his chances are probably starting to run out.