Kansas City Royals: Year-end review, outfielders

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Alex Gordon was the veteran of the Kansas City Royals outfield this season. Let’s see how each one stacked up against each other.

Outside of the pitching staff, the Kansas City Royals outfield might be the biggest question mark heading into this offseason. Alex Gordon was a mainstay in left field but everybody and their mother got a chance to claim one of the two other spots. The team saw a failed experiment in the signing of Billy Hamilton as the former Reds’ top prospect failed to produce. Terrance Gore returned to the Royals on a one-year deal and fits the speedy, slap hitter that David Glass seems to like, but he too was not long for this roster.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, not only on the Royals but in the American League, was the emergence of Jorge Soler this season. He primarily served as the team’s designated hitter but he played 56 in the outfield. Let’s see how each outfielder graded in 2019.

Chris Owings, Hunter Dozier, and Whit Merrifield will be included as part of the infielders.

B. Alex Gordon may have played his final game in a Royals uniform on Sunday but he should be up for another Gold Glove award this year. The 35-year old put up modest numbers that indicate his $23 million mutual option for next season is not worth it. On the year, Gordon slashed 0.266/0.345/0.396 with 31 doubles, 1 triple, 13 home runs, and 76 RBI’s. He did ground into a career-high 19 double plays this year but again, his glove outshined the rest. With a 0.996 fielding percentage, everything hit his way was almost guaranteed to be caught. Gordon committed just one error and helped out his team with 7 assists from the outfield.. . . ALEX GORDON

D-. The Billy Hamilton signing will forever go down as one of the biggest head-scratchers. After coming up through the Reds’ system known as a speedster who couldn’t steal first base, Hamilton struggled to live up to the contract the Royals gave him. He slashed a lousy 0.211/0.275/0.269 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, and 12 RBI’s. He had 18 stolen bases in 93 games with the team, which again, aligns with the Glass family era’s prototypical player. However, he left a lot to be desired. Hamilton had a perfect fielding percentage and contributed with 3 assists, but as Austin Powers once said “You’re not missing anything. I looked into it. There’s a gas shortage and a flock of seagulls. THAT’S. ABOUT. IT.”. . . BILLY HAMILTON

Turning from Hamilton to one of the bright spots on the entire Royals roster this season in Jorge Soler. The former Chicago Cubs played in all 162 games this year, mostly as a designated hitter but slashed 0.265/0.354/0.569 (0.922 OPS) while leading the American League in home runs and shattering the franchise’s single-season home run record. Soler did lead the league in strikeouts but they are easy to ignore when he put up the kind of production he did. He played 56 games in the outfield this season, with a 0.971 fielding percentage and committed 3 errors. Obviously, his best fit going forward is remaining as a DH.. . . JORGE SOLER. A

C. After slashing an impressive 0.310/0.358/0.448 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 7 home runs, and 38 RBI’s in 72 games with Triple-A Omaha, <a href=. . . BUBBA STARLING

BRETT PHILLIPS. C-. <a rel=. .

D. Originally a 20th round draft pick by the Royals, Terrance Gore was an integral piece in the 2014 and 2015 postseason teams. He returned to the team during the offseason on a one-year deal but was designated for assigment in mid-July to make room for Bubba Starling. Gore played sparingly, just 37 games, and slashed 0.275/0.362/0.353 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. Gore was not great on defense with a 0.971 fielding percentage and a dreadful 0.909 percentage in centerfield. The signing didn’t really make a whole lot of sense other than to try to preserve some of the World Series nostalgia.. . . TERRENCE GORE

B. <a rel=. . . RYAN MCBROOM

ERICK MEJIA. C. <a href=. .

Next. Gordon on team “Pieces are here”. dark

Again, it will all depend on what happens with Alex Gordon this offseason. The front office would be foolish to pick up his mutual option but a much smaller one year deal? Absolutely. There are plenty of opportunities for several players to claim a permanent grasp on an outfield spot next year.