Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas – a Tale of Two Players


Mar 15, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Johnny Giavotella (9) hits a two-run home run during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

As Charles Dickens began his excellent work ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. While those words began a novel dealing with two cities, one in France and the other in England, those lines could also apply to two players on the Kansas City Royals in Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas.

Moustakas, for all of his flaws, seemingly has fans where it matters most. Dayton Moore and Ned Yost have continued to give Moustakas chance after chance to be the Royals everyday third baseman despite his continued lack of success. While Moustakas has shown flashes of the talent he displayed in the minor leagues, such as hitting four home runs in a week earlier this season, he just has not progressed into a major league third baseman. Yet, despite all the evidence staring Moore and Yost in the face, they keep setting arbitrary benchmarks for his performance, saying that he cannot be truly evaluated until he reaches 1500 at bats in his career or 100 plate appearances this season.

Giavotella, like Moustakas, has struggled during most of his time in the major leagues. However, unlike the current Royals third baseman, Giavotella has not had the opportunities that Moustakas has continually received. While Giavotella had his chances in 2011 and 2012, they were not nearly for the same extended amount of time. Having struggled during his auditions, Giavotella has been banished to Omaha, reappearing only in September or when the Royals are in a dire need of a backup infielder and have exhausted their other options.

At this point, Johnny Giavotella has to be wondering what he did to raise the Royals ire. While he received a quick appearance in Kansas City this season, Giavotella has been putting together a season in AAA that should be garnering attention. Heading into yesterday’s action, Giavotella has produced a .370/.433/.519 batting line. While he is never going to be a power hitter, Giavotella has ten extra base hits and has even walked more times (9) than he has struck out (5) on the season. Much like Mike Aviles before him, it appears as though Giavotella will have to force the Royals to give him an extended chance. Right now, with his production in Omaha, he could be doing just that.

Interestingly enough, should Giavotella get that chance, it could be at the expense of Mike Moustakas. After playing all of five games at third in his minor league career before 2013, Giavotella has manned the hot corner 41 times over the past two seasons. In fact, he has played more games at third this year than he has anywhere else on the diamond.

With Moustakas continuing to struggle, this could be the break that Johnny Giavotella has been waiting for. With Hunter Dozier and Chelsor Cuthbert on the horizon, Giavotella is certainly not going to be expected to be the future for the Royals at third. He could, however, be a better option than what Moustakas is providing presently.

The struggles of Mike Moustakas could open the door for Johnny Giavotella to get another chance. If that happens, then Giavotella’s story may not end in disappointment.