Royals fourth outfielder Jarrod Dyson finished the 2016 strong to post a .278/.340/.388 slash line. Can he hold down a starting position in 2017?
It seems sabermetrically-oriented pundits and fans ask this question every year after looking at Jarrod Dyson‘s advanced metrics. For the third straight season, Dyson posted WAR (Wins Above Replacement) values over 2.0 in part-time play with the KC Royals. Many people who make this argument simply presume you can pro-rate Dyson’s performance as a part-timer to estimate his full-time value.
This inference is now more tempting than ever with Dyson posting a 3.1 bWAR in 337 plate appearances in 2016. Project that production over a full season, and you’d get a 6.2 WAR player. That’s star-level production.
With Lorenzo Cain finishing out the 2016 season on the disabled list, manager Ned Yost wrote in Dyson’s name on the lineup card almost daily in the last two weeks of the season. Dyson responded by hitting a sizzling .377/.407/506.
Even having just turned 32, when Dyson gets on base at a .407 clip, he can terrorize defenses. He stole seven bags in 19 games in the season’s final month. Opposing catchers failed to catch him even one time.
More from Kings of Kauffman
- KC Royals Rumors: Is a monster move in the cards?
- KC Royals Free Agent Hunt: 3 Tampa Bay pitchers
- Grading the 2022 KC Royals: The $25 million man
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Expectations met
- KC Royals Winter Meetings Tracker: Day 3 update
Heck, even a Dyson that hits .278/.340/.388 belongs in the lineup if he can replicate those numbers in a full-time role. With his outstanding range, surprisingly strong arm, and base-running ability, he’d become a prototypical lead-off man.
The problem is, every time Dyson plays every day, his bat tends to convince the Kansas City Royals that he’s better used as a bench player. His current production isn’t anything to sneeze at. Dyson is one of the best bench players in baseball, producing 8.1 bWAR over the last three seasons.
Many analysts speculated that general manager Dayton Moore might deal Dyson this winter after acquiring a similar player in Billy Burns from Oakland in late July. However, Dyson’s strong finishing kick is putting an end to such rumor-mongering.
Dyson has one year left before he can test the free-agent waters. He will play most of the 2017 season at age 32. He’s not going to command a major haul in trade. With Kansas City trying to win a title in 2017, dealing proven bench production for some middling prospects just doesn’t seem worth it.
Jarrod Dyson’s strong finish might not win him a full-time job with the Kansas City Royals in 2017. However, it’s likely to prevent Dayton Moore from “cashing him in” this winter.
I fully expect to see Jarrod Dyson in a Kansas City Royals on Opening Day in 2017.