Jarrod Dyson has been solid as a fourth outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. What could the Royals reasonably expect from him if he was to be an everyday starter next year?
The Kansas Royals outfield is very likely to look a lot different at the start of the 2015 season than it did just over a month ago. Alex Rios will not be back, and Alex Gordon may find himself outside the Royals price range. In fact, with the prices for outfielders going beyond what the Royals may have expected, they have been rumored to be considering a trade for Todd Frazier to play left and may even consider moving Cheslor Cuthbert to the outfield.
One thing that does appear to be certain, at least at this juncture of the offseason, is that Jarrod Dyson will be given a larger role. Dayton Moore has stated that it is time for Dyson to see more playing time, and at a salary that is expected to be under $2 Million through arbitration, he would be a cost effective solution in either right or left.
While it is known that Dyson would provide solid defense at whatever position he ends up at, the biggest question is whether or not he can hit enough to be close to an every day player. Considering his career .255/.320/.325 batting line, this question does seem to be a legitimate concern.
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Early projections show more of the same for Dyson. According to Marcel Projections, Dyson is expected to produce a .256/.316/.364 batting line with 20 extra base hits and 30 steals in 342 plate appearances in 2016. Not only would those numbers be roughly in line with his career production, but that plate appearance total seems likely, given that Dyson may well find himself in some sort of a platoon against lefties with Paulo Orlando.
That ability to hit any left handed pitching is the greatest question facing Dyson. While he has been serviceable against righties, Dyson only has a career .211/.288/.249 batting line against left handed pitching. Even though the Royals may want Dyson’s glove out there virtually every day, those struggles against lefties, as well as his inability to generate an extra base hit, limit his offensive upside.
Dyson does bring qualities to the lineup that the Royals value. He makes contact, has excellent speed and puts pressure on opposing defenses. But he is not going to replace Gordon, Ben Zobrist or even Rios in the lineup. Dyson, even though his numbers may be serviceable, is not the type of bat that the Royals need to replace in their lineup.
Last season, Jarrod Dyson got more playing time when Alex Rios was injured, and was exposed in the Kansas City Royals lineup. His struggles historically against lefthanded pitching and his general inability to do more than get singles limit what he can give to the offense. Dyson is great as a fourth outfielder, but he is not someone that should be relied upon as an every day starter.