The 2013 season was a disappointment for Cheslor Cuthbert. While he performed relatively well with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Cuthbert seemingly fell apart at the AA level. In his 64 games with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Cuthbert produced a .215/.279/.358 batting line, hitting six home runs. Yet, when looking at his numbers, Cuthbert appeared to be approximately league average in the results of his plate appearances. Those low numbers may well have been a direct result of bad luck with the batted ball, as Cuthbert had a .246 batting average on balls in play.
That hope proved to have merit last year. Playing for the Maturals at the start of the season, Cuthbert began to look like that solid prospect once again. In 96 games with the Travelers, Cuthbert produced a .276/.342/.420 batting line, hitting ten home runs and 19 doubles while stealing nine bases. That was the type of performance that the Royals were likely looking for.
That production earned Cheslor Cuthbert a promotion to the Omaha Storm Chasers, where he continued to hit well. During his 25 games at AAA, Cuthbert produced a .264/.330/.385 batting line, with two home runs and five doubles in his 91 at bats. At age 21, and more than five and a half years younger than the average age at that level, Cuthbert certainly held his own.
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Of course, one must wonder if those numbers will be sustainable for Cuthbert. While it is a small sample size of 100 plate appearances, Cuthbert displayed a solid batting eye at the AAA level, drawing nine walks while striking out only twelve times. Those numbers are just about in line with his rates at AA, where he walked in 9.1% of his plate appearances, striking out 17.0% of the time.
In fact, looking at Cheslor Cuthbert’s batting percentages at Omaha, there is room for improvement. Cuthbert had that solid batting line despite only having a .286 batting average on balls in play, 41 points below the league average of .327. His line drive rate was only at 11.4%, significantly below the league average of 18.8%.
Chances are, Cuthbert will begin the season with Omaha once again. If he performs at closer to league average, Cuthbert’s numbers, as good as they were last year in that small sample size, could be even better. In fact, with a strong season, Cuthbert may even make his major league debut as a September callup for the Royals.
Cheslor Cuthbert needed to put together a solid 2014 after the disappointment of his 2013 campaign, and he did just that. Next season, Cuthbert could well cement his place as a part of the Royals future, potentially as soon as the 2016 season.