KC Enjoys Greater Depth
While both the Moustakas and the Gordon injuries could hurt the Kansas City Royals, that argument is not as easy to make as it has been in previous seasons. Gordon heated up for a few games but has batted just .192 over the last 30 days. He hits the DL with a paltry .211 average. So far, it’s been his worst offensive season since a .215 performance in 2010. He has not batted below .265 in a season since.
Moustakas got off to a tremendous start with seven home runs and a .273 average in the month of April. Partially because of another injury, Moustakas played just five games in the month of May, going 1-for-16 for a .063 average.
In previous years, finding backups for the stars may have been a tall task. That has not been the case in 2016. Cheslor Cuthbert showed flashes of brilliance during Moustakas’ first absence. He had hits in his first seven games after his May 7 call up. He’s gone cold since with just 14 hits in his last 59 at bats. He’s struck out 11 times in that span, but with a reliable glove as well, the potential is there.
Cuthbert is only 23-years-old and was a seven figure international signing. His quick bat and solid strike zone recognition have allowed him to crush AAA Omaha early this season with a .333/.402/.624 start that earned him a call-up to KC Royals when Moustakas hurt his hand. Forget about his current struggles. Cuthbert has the quick bat and approach to succeed against major league pitching.
Thirty year old Paulo Orlando has been a great surprise in the outfield. Not a starter at the beginning of the season, Orlando has taken advantage of his opportunities with a .450 average over his last seven games. That 15-for-26 stretch has pushed his triple slash to an absurd .397/.408/.534.
Orlando isn’t going to hit like this over a full season, but his recent success against right and left handed pitchers gives hope that he can be more than a platoon player. So far, he’s seized his chance to earn a full time job with both hands.
Maybe, just maybe, he’s Kansas City’s version of late-blooming Tigers star J.D. Martinez.
Next: Front Offices Faces Tough Choices