Sep 18, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson (1) fields a fly ball to right field in the fifth inning of the game against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Royals have a potentially dynamic center fielder, a player who may be able to be a game changer in their lineup. A center fielder who could not only be a solid addition to the lineup, but could also be an excellent defensive player, as he has ranked amongst the best defensive center fielders despite his lack of playing time. A player that, if he could remain healthy, could be an important part of the Royals future. That player is none other than Jarrod Dyson.
Yes, that same description could be applied to the Royals likely starter in center in Lorenzo Cain. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the friendly rivals for the starting center field position – both have been excellent defensive players, they have the potential to be solid offensive contributors and have dealt with injuries throughout their time with the Royals. However, where Dyson truly stands out above Cain is with his blazing speed.
Even after a sprained ankle sapped Jarrod Dyson of some of his speed and limited him to only 87 games and limited his effectiveness, Dyson still outperformed Cain last season. Dyson produced a .258/.326/.366 batting line, which was similar to Cain’s .251/.310/.348 rate. Yet, where Dyson separated himself was with his speed, stealing 34 bases to Cain’s 14. With the Royals looking to put more pressure on opposing defenses this upcoming season by getting on base and making things happen upon the basepaths, Dyson could be a perfect fit.
Lorenzo Cain also has something that Jarrod Dyson does not have – experience playing different outfield positions at the major league level. While Dyson did play in left and right field in the minors, he has not appeared in either since 2011, and has yet to play a major league game anywhere aside from center. While it may not take much time for Dyson to acclimate himself to playing the corner outfield positions in the majors, his comfort level playing there could be a concern. Cain, meanwhile, has played 46 games in right, while making a couple of appearances in left. With the spacious outfield in Kauffman Stadium, it may be better to have Cain moving between the different spots to give the other outfielders a day off.
Cain, with his defensive versatility, may make a better fourth outfielder than Dyson. That role could keep Cain in the lineup a few times a week, and give the Royals an excellent option should anything happen to Dyson. Meanwhile, Dyson would slot in nicely at the bottom of the Royals lineup, potentially capable of stealing over fifty bases if he can remain healthy and get into 120 games. With that type of speed and the Royals expected ability to put the ball into play, Dyson may be the best option to start in center field come Opening Day.
While Lorenzo Cain is a solid player, Jarrod Dyson brings a potentially game changing element to the Kansas City Royals lineup. With everything else being essentially even, Dyson’s speed gives him an edge over Cain, and may give him a leg up to be the Royals starting center fielder.