The Kansas City Royals have been able to have some luck with “older” rookies recently. The bonus in these situations is that you get their service during their prime seasons on the cheap. This allows for financial focus shifted to other areas.
Paulo Orlando has been one such players that have fit that mold for the Kansas City Royals. As a 29 year old rookie in 2015 Orlando displayed some promise. In 241 at bats he slashed .249/.269/.444 while adding in seven homeruns.
Injuries, injuries along with some OF uncertainty, gave Paulo a bigger role on the 2016 Kansas City Royals. In his age 30 season Orlando produced a .302/.329/.405 in 484 at bats. His homerun total dipped to just five, but he made up for it with speed. He swiped 14 bags and proved that he was a useful player on a major league roster.
This season has not went the way I’m sure Paulo would have planned. In May he fractured his shin and went on the disabled list. One has to wonder if he was healthy all season would the Kansas City Royals have traded for Melky Cabrera at the deadline?
I was able to see Paulo in action as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Kansas City Royals Double-A team, took on the Springfield Cardinals at Hammons Field.
Orlando went 1 for 3 at the plate which wasn’t amazing. He is currently carrying a .284/.337/.395 line in his minor league action this season.
What did standout, on a very overcast evening, was his work in the field. Paulo moved well in RF, tracking down balls in the gap with relative looking ease. His stride was smooth and he covered ground well.
Of course the arm appeared strong as he kept runners from advancing on more than one occasion. Overall he seems to be making solid progress as he works his way back from injury. With the big league roster constructed as it currently is the question becomes…
Will there be a role for Paulo Orlando in 2017?
The answer is probably a September call-up at best. With two months left in the season and plenty of guys to cover the corners taking it slow and allowing Paulo to fully heal is most likely the best option.
If the Kansas City Royals feel comfortable with where he is at he could be useful as another CF option. Alex Gordon is currently the default backup so it is a role Paulo could contribute in.
Honestly though making sure he is ready in 2018 is what needs to be the priority.