Kansas City Royals: The Battle for the Fourth Outfielder

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Alex Gordon
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Alex Gordon /

The Kansas City Royals will have a dilemma once Alex Gordon gets back from his rehab assignment. Some guys are shining brighter than others, but could the choice may be harder than we as fans think?

Right now the outfield for the Kansas City Royals consists of Abraham Almonte, Jon Jay, Paulo Orlando, and Jorge Soler. With Alex Gordon returning soon, one of these guys will have to go.

Jay and Soler are likely safe so it appears to be between Orlando and Almonte. When looking at them, one seems to be shining brighter than the other. Therefore, let’s dive in and see if the choice really is as simple as it seems. Or perhaps we are missing something.

Paulo Orlando

Orlando has a lot of history with the Royals. In 2015 he was the defensive replacement in right field for Alex Rios during the World Series run. Then in 2016, he held down right and center field for 129 games where he had an impressive slash of .302/.329/.405 with 33 extra-base hits.

The Royals seemed to have one of their outfield positions set for a few more years. Unfortunately, since 2016 Orlando has not hit well in the major leagues.

Last year he hit for an average of .198/.255/.302 in 39 games before being sent to Omaha where he was out most of the year due to an injury. However, in 42 games between Double-A and Triple-A Orlando hit a much improved .306/.375/.414 with 13 extra-base hits.

With fingers crossed, the hope was that this year Orlando would hit better at the major league level than he did in 2017. This year he is hitting a slash of .191/.224/.234 over 12 games. Over his 47 at-bats, he has just two extra-base hits as well.

It does not look like Orlando is going to re-create his 2016 season any time soon.

Abraham Almonte

At the beginning of the season, the Royals claimed Almonte off of waivers from division rival the Cleveland Indians. To do this the Royals had to designated-for-assignment young bullpen arm Miguel Almonte who was picked up off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels. That is a different conversation to have at a different time though.

Almonte was called up when  Gordon went to the disabled list with his left hip injury. Therefore, it would have been fair to assume that once Gordon got healthy Almonte would go back to Omaha.

It does not appear to be that simple anymore. On the season, Almonte is hitting a .242/.286/.424 slash in 33 at-bats over 11 games. When you look at those numbers they don’t seem to be very impressive, although they are better than Orlando’s.

However, if you look at what Almonte has done over his last six games, he is making a solid case to stay with the big league team. During the last six games, he is hitting a much better .333/.391/.619 with two home runs (one being a Grand Slam), six RBI, three strikeouts to two walks, and a stolen base. He has also made some impressive defensive plays in center field.

He has provided some power that Orlando is not shown this year, as well as the ability to get on base more often.

Final Thoughts

The Royals have a decision to make in the outfield when Gordon gets back. To me, Almonte seems to be the guy the Royals should use as the fourth outfielder. He seems to be earning that right, while Orlando seems to be showing he might be more suited as a defensive replacement at the big league level.

Who do you think the Royals should use as their fourth outfielder? Has Almonte done enough to push Orlando to Omaha? Is there any way Orlando stays on the 25-man roster? Let us know below or on social media!