The Kansas City Royals Still Need Jorge Soler in 2017
The Kansas City Royals are in the middle of a playoff race. A race in which they will be without All-Star catcher Salvador Perez for about a month.
The Kansas City Royals lineup on Monday night, against the St. Louis Cardinals, featured merely FIVE hitters with an OPS of at least .750. Granted, Brandon Moss isn’t far behind at .717, including an OPS of .876 since the All-Star Break.
When Salvador Perez is in the lineup it features seven adequate hitters, as long as Moss is hitting. The problem is that Moss has been so ridiculously inconsistent this year that you can’t bank on him to be adequate for more than a couple of weeks.
Much has been made of Alex Gordon‘s struggles this season. Monday night epitomized those struggles for Gordon. He finished the game 0-4 and struck out twice, lowering his season average to .197.
The argument has been made that Gordon’s defense is the reason he’s still in the lineup. This is a ridiculous argument. Alex Gordon is averaging 1.93 putouts per start in LF. That’s literally less than two catches per game.
He had four at bats on Monday night, meaning (math experts get ready), he had twice as many appearances at the plate than he makes catches in a game on average. If Gordon gets four at bats in every game, that’s twice as many opportunities to affect the game than he gets in the field.
The Kansas City Royals have appeared to move Jorge Bonifacio to the bench for the time being, and seem content with letting Gordon start against righties. What ever.
The solution could come in Jorge Soler.
Soler has struggled during his spotty playing time in Kansas City, but has not struggled whatsoever for AAA-Omaha. Soler is slashing .301/.420/.586/1.006(!!!!!!!!!!!!!) with 15 HR. This is ridiculous.
Jorge Soler is too good to be playing AAA baseball. What’s more is that Soler has hit .417 against LHP at AAA, and the Kansas City Royals could really use a guy that hits lefties well. His .154/.245/.275/.520 slash line in 91 MLB at bats in 2017 is nothing to desire, but come on, Gordon hasn’t been much better at .197/.286/.294/.580 in 340 AT BATS. 340!!!
There is no precedent for how bad Alex Gordon has been. “The Sportster” published an article last year with the 15 worst hitters in MLB history. Alex Gordon’s 2017 season would borderline make him number one. “The Sportster” gave the number one spot to Luis Gomez, who had a career average of .210 and OBP of .261. Alex Gordon is BARELY doing that.
To make myself clear, this is not an attack on Alex Gordon. Alex Gordon does not write the lineup. Alex Gordon is one of my all time favorite Kansas City Royals. He hit the biggest HR for the Royals that I have been alive to see. He started the wave of super-prospects that eventually brought Kansas City a World Series title.
But it’s time for Alex Gordon to take a seat.
Jorge Soler has not been good. I get it. He can’t be any worse than Alex Gordon has been offensively. If NOTHING else, at least Soler is good for a HR every once in a while. If you’re worried about Soler’s defense, remember that little number about 1.93 putouts per game.
I’m not Jorge Soler’s biggest fan. I hated the Wade Davis trade because, in my opinion, it felt too in-between winning in 2017 and preparing for the future. I’d be more than happy to see Jorge Bonifacio getting Gordon’s at bats but the Kansas City Royals don’t seem ready to do that any time soon.
Next: Evaluating the Deadline Deals
Alex Gordon has nearly been an automatic out in 2017. Jorge Soler may not offer a massive upgrade, but the Kansas City Royals have GOT to try something different in LF if they want to win the World Series this year.