Sep 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielderLorenzo Cain
(6) makes a catch on a fly ball by Chicago White Sox center fielderAdam Eaton
(not pictured) during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
For much of the season, Rios struggled in right field. However, Alex Rios turned in a solid September with a .288/.308/.466 line. Yet, given Alex Rios horrendous first half and his sometimes lazy defense, don’t be surprised to see Ned Yost substituting liberally if Rios struggles in the post-season.
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Ben Zobrist played left field in place of injured Alex Gordon during his first month with the Kansas City Royals after general manager Dayton Moore dealt for him at the deadline. Zobrist could sub at right field if Rios’ bat goes cold and Omar Infante is available.
However, if Infante is not available the Kansas City Royals could field six outfielders (seven if you include super-sub Zobrist, who can play every position except catcher). Speed demon Jarrod Dyson is certain to make the playoff roster. His speed and defense are a weapon in the late innings. He’s also the only left-handed bench bat on the team.
Gomes is a veteran hitter who has had a tough season, but is still very effective against left-handed pitchers. He’s a valuable bench bat in the playoffs. Paulo Orlando is a 29-year-old rookie, but he brings a nice combination of speed, pop, and range. Meanwhile, minor-league base-stealing artist Terrance Gore isn’t effective at the plate, but his base-running tool is special. He succeeds more than 90% of the time when he attempts to swipe a base in his minor-league career.
Yost could keep all three if he decides to leave Luke Hochevar off the playoff roster. If Yost decides he needs the bullpen options, I expect Orlando to draw the short straw.
The biggest weakness of the Kansas City Royals bench figures to be the lack of a left-handed pinch hitter other than Jarrod Dyson. Aside from that short-coming, the KC Royals boast both versatility and game-changing speed off the bench.
The Kansas City Royals showed last season they know how to win in the playoffs. Now, they just need to bring home a title.