KC Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert barely had to time to check in at AAA Omaha before he was recalled to Kansas City due to Mike Moustakas‘ injury on Sunday. Expect him to go back down when Moustakas knee contusion heals.
Cuthbert returned to the Kansas City Royals lineup Tuesday night, racking up a single and an RBI in four at bats. While he certainly looks like he belongs in the big leagues, he returned to the KC Royals to play third base only because of Moose’s injury.
When Mike Moustakas is healthy once again, manager Ned Yost will probably prefer an outfielder to take the roster spot of Alex Gordon and use Whit Merrifield to back up at the infield positions. As of now, he’s acting as both the fourth outfielder and utility infielder with Paulo Orlando and Jarrod Dyson in the starting lineup.
This realization begs the question: just which minor league outfielder will get the call to Kansas City?
There are four obvious candidates. Three of them are players that I wrote about a little over a week ago as potential candidates to give an offensive boost in right field (just before Paulo Orlando’s recent tear).
However, since I wrote that article, the Kansas City Royals designated Jose Martinez for assignment and replaced him on the 40-man roster with Whit Merrifield. That pretty much eliminates Martinez from consideration.
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Snider signed a minor-league deal with the KC Royals this winter after a brief stop with the Pirates last season. Though once a top prospect, the 28-year-old Snider has an unimpressive .244/.311/.399 career triple slash with 54 home runs.
Snider does have extensive major-league experience after appearing in 630 games and compiling 1971 plate appearances in his career. However, he’s hitting a mere .271/.379/.373 in AAA: which is significantly worse than both Brett Eibner and Jorge Bonifacio, and only slightly better than the much more athletic Reymond Fuentes.
Add in that Snider is not on the 40 man roster while Eibner, Bonifacio, and Fuentes are, and I doubt Snider gets the call.
Of the remaining three, I still think Eibner is the one that will end up in Kansas City once Moose returns to the lineup. Eibner is more athletic than Bonifacio and can play all three outfield positions while Bonifacio is really only a corner outfielder. Also, Eibner’s .411 on base percentage driven by his solid strike zone recognition will help him tame major-league pitchers.
Though the 23-year-old Bonifacio probably possesses signification more upside than the 27-year-old Eibner, Eibner is probably better ready to help the Royals today.