Slam Dunk Certain To Be In Kansas City
There are three players whom I am almost sure will get called up to Kansas City in September, pretty much whatever happens over the next ten days:
Orlando has bounced between the Kansas City Royals and AAA Omaha this season. And, yes, Paulo Orlando is on the current 25-man roster, so this isn’t much of a prediction. However, when Alex Gordon returns (he’s heading out for a AAA rehab assignment soon), Orlando would figure to return to the minors. Yet, since Gordon is unlikely to return until September, he won’t force Dayton Moore to send out a player when he comes back to Kansas City.
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The 29-year-old rookie Orlando has shown some flashes in part-time play this season. He’s slashing .237/.267/.410, with 8 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 home runs. His OPS+ (on base plus slugging adjusted for opponents and park factors) is only 83 (17% below a league-average hitter), but he’s displayed impressive athleticism on the base paths and in the outfield.
Paulo Orlando was a track star in his youth in Brazil, and he showed off his speed by racking up five triples before the end of May. While he only has three stolen bases for the KC Royals, Orlando can go first to third with the best of them, and will get the most out of balls hit into the gap.
Paulo Orlando has been even more impressive in the field. He’s posted a 4.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) in only 56 games, which projects to an outstanding UZR/150 (UZR per 150 games) of 15.9 [note: UZR is an estimate of runs saved vs. an league average player at that position] He’s ANOTHER defensive outfield marvel, that can compliment Jarrod Dyson, except Orlando brings more pop.
He’ll be on the Kansas City Royals roster in September. Count on it.
The 29-year-old Joba Chamberlain pitched for division-rival Tigers in 2014, and early this season. While effective last year, Chamberlain struggled this season and was designated for assignment. The KC Royals picked him up this week by signing him to a minor-league contract.
Given Chamberlain’s major league experience, he’s certain to be playing for the Kansas City Royals in September, if nothing else than to help out a tired bullpen after a long season. Chamberlain’s 4.09 ERA in 2015 doesn’t look too impressive, but he can—at the very least—eat some garbage time innings and act as a righty specialist.
Don’t expect to see Chamberlain on the post-season roster unless the KC Royals have a bullpen injury in October. Left-handed hitters have absolutely killed him to the tune of .419/.444/.791 in 2015. Chamberlain provides nice insurance in that he’s got extensive playoff experience, including a 2009 World Series ring he earned while with the Yankees. But, the Kansas City Royals REALLY don’t want him to face a left-handed hitter with a playoff game on the line.
The 36-year-old lefty starter Rodriguez signed a minor league deal the same day as Joba Chamberlain, and also figures to join the KC Royals in September come hell or high water.
Wandy Rodriguez has been a starter the bulk of his career, including 15 starts for the Texas Rangers this season. His results have been a rather unimpressive 4.90 ERA with a moderate K/9 of 7.5. However, his adjusted Fielding Independent Pitching suggests Rodriguez has gotten a bit unlucky this season, with a 4.36 estimated ERA (xFIP) if we strip away defense and include park factors and opponent quality.
Rodriguez is much more likely than Joba Chamberlain to make the post-season roster since the Kansas City Royals bullpen has only one lefty (Franklin Morales). Unfortunately, his splits against left-handed batters haven’t been particularly impressive this season, checking in at .287/.344/.494.
Wandy Rodriguez is emergency depth as a starter, and—maybe—a bullpen LOOGY in October. His playoff role will likely depend on whether his performance against lefties improves when he only has to get one hitter in September.
Next: The Base-Stealing Specialist