“Most Likely” Outfield Options
Starting with some of the more basic options, Jorge Soler immediate jumps to the top of the list. After being traded for in 2016, Soler was thought to be the Royals right fielder going into the 2017 season.
He also had just six runs-batted-in, and his wRC+ was a dreadful 32. Again, for perspective, the average offensive player scores 100 on the wRC+ scale. Knowing that makes that number even harder to look at. Due to his struggles, Bonifacio was accelerated and eventually won the right field position.
On the positive side, while Soler was in Omaha he did show his upside. Over 74 games, Soler slashed a solid .267/.388/.564 and had 33 extra-base hits, 24 being homeruns. His 145 wRC+ is also something to be excited about.
So far during Spring Training, he has a less than impressive .211 batting average. However, he does have four homeruns.
Whether they decide to put Soler in right field or keep him as the designated hitter, the Royals need the type of performances he had in Omaha to translate to the big leagues. Due to the fact that he was traded for to potentially be the team’s right fielder, I would not be surprised if he gets the early nod when Spring Training breaks.
We all know Paulo Orlando. In 2015 he was seemingly promoted to the fourth outfield spot over Jarrod Dyson, typically coming in as a defensive replacement for Alex Rios. Then in 2016, after playing in 128 games, Orlando posted a surprising .302/.329/.405 slash. Therefore, going into 2017 fans had hopes of what he could do.
Unfortunately, Orlando seemed lost at the plate. Over 39 games, Orlando posted a very disappointing .198/.255/.302 slash. This resulted in him being demoted to Omaha where the unlucky streak continued. After fouling a ball off his leg, Orlando ended up fracturing his shin.
This did limit his playing time in Omaha, but overall he looked promising again. He ended up hitting .306/.375/.414 over 42 games. He has also continued those numbers into Spring Training, hitting .458 so far.
Orlando could be the starting right fielder in 2018, but the drastic difference between 2016 and 2017 may raise a lot of question marks. Who is the real Paulo Orlando?