Royals: Positional battle, a new face at third base? Doubtful.

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Kelvin Gutierrez
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals have some options within the organization, but most of these players need some more time before they are ready for the majors.

Kelvin Gutierrez

Kelvin Gutierrez is likely next in line within the Royals organization to take over third if Dozier moves to another position or is injured. Gutierrez saw some time in the majors during the 2019 season, but the sample size is still small.

Over 20 games, Gutierrez managed to slash .260/.304/.356, scoring 4 runs, hitting in 11 RBIs and 1 home run. To his credit, Gutierrez put up these numbers over his first 20 major league games, and it’s likely that given time he could find his footing.

Where Gutierrez starts to slip is in his defense. In his 18 games at third base, Gutierrez managed a .951 fielding percentage with 3 errors committed. These numbers definitely need some work, but like his offense, it may just need some time to come around.

Gutierrez is likely not going to start at third in 2020, but if the Royals needed the fill the spot, he would be a definite contender. More likely, Gutierrez will spend some more time in the minors trying to refine his skills until the Royals decide it’s time for him to take the third base corner office.

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Other In-House Options

The Royals have a few other in house options, but they are far down the line. One of these options is Humberto Arteaga. Royals fans got to see Arteaga during 2019, but it was typically at shortstop. Arteaga did play one game at third base but likely wouldn’t see a lot of time there unless absolutely needed.

Arteaga is an average defender and has the potential to be fieldable if given the time. Offensively, though, Arteaga struggled, slashing .197/.258/.230. with 11 runs a 4 RBIs over 41 games. Arteaga is not a likely candidate but could come off the bench if needed.

Another unlikely in-house option is Emmanuel Rivera. Rivera has not found his way to the major leagues yet. In 2019 for Northwest Arkansas, he slashed .258/.297/.345 with 59 runs, 57 RBIs and 7 home runs over 131 games.

Defensively, Rivera struggled at third, holding a fielding percentage of .928 with 20 errors over 117 games at the position. Rivera needs more time before he is ready to see major league games, so it is unlikely fans will see much of him during the 2020 season.