Kansas City Royals: Jarrod Dyson And His Golden Ticket
By John Viril
Jul 9, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson (1) connects for a single in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Though aging curves suggest Jarrod Dyson’s speed and defense are already on the downward slide, speed-demon players like Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, and Maury Wills ran well deep into their 30’s.
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Maury Wills might be the most hopeful career comparable for Jarrod Dyson’s KC Royals future. While Wills played shortstop, he was late-bloomer whose game depended on speed. He also held down a premium defensive position.
The Dodgers didn’t call up Maury Wills until age 26 (though Dyson got MLB cameos at age 25 and 26, he didn’t earn comparable playing time until age 27). Though Wills took over the starting shortstop job in LA at age 27 while Dyson has yet to escape the bench at age 30, Wills played as a starter through his age-38 season. Wills was a 2.5 bWAR player that year with a .281/.323/.329 triple slash, and a 39.6 bWAR player over his career.
While Maury Wills peaked at age 29 with a 6.2 bWAR season and 104 stolen bases, he put up a 94-steal, 5.2 bWAR campaign at age 32. He remained a base-stealing terror through age 36 when he swiped 40 bases while producing 4.0 bWAR in 1969 for LA and Montreal.
Overall, Wills led the N.L. in stolen bases for six straight seasons. He racked up one MVP award, two Gold Gloves, and five All-Star nods. Two of his All-Star appearances, and two of his base-stealing titles, came after age 30.
Despite his slow start, Jarrod Dyson could still have a dynamic future for the Kansas City Royals. With 8.8 bWAR as a bench player, a 30 WAR career isn’t out of the question if Dyson can get on base enough to hold a starting job.
That would be one heck of an accomplishment for a guy picked in a round (50) that doesn’t exist anymore.
As silly as it sounds, Jarrod Dyson is not only in a position to achieve more than he ever believed possible, he can inspire baseball fans across the world to grab success that seems well beyond their current circumstances.
That’s one of the reasons I watch Kansas City Royals baseball. Even if I can’t make something like that happen my own life, I can still set forth on a vicarious hero’s journey by following Jarrod Dyson.
It sure beats video games.
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