The outfield seems like a “let’s see what sticks” philosophy currently, with the only regular at his position possibly in his last year.
Since the departure of Lorenzo Cain, center field has been a revolving door of players and right field has been held down by a combination of Merrifield and Jorge Soler. It would be nice to see a strategy that seems more together than drawing names out of a hat.
Insert Kyle Isbel. In 2018 at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas he turned heads by clubbing 14 home runs, batting .357, and producing an OPS of 1.084. It was impressive enough for Kansas City to nab him in the third round of that year’s draft.
Isbel continued his strong season with a .326/.389/.504 line in 64 games split between Rookie League Idaho Falls and Class-A Lexington. He did struggle with Wilmington in Advanced-A for 2019 but rebounded to finish strong in the competitive Arizona Fall League. There he hit .315 and reached base at a .429 clip. Driving in 16 runs in only 21 games was impressive as well.
A left-handed hitter who can hit for average and pop, cover the center field position well and has speed as shown by his 24 swipes in 2018, Isbel is ready for a chance at the big league level. He can spell Gordon or Merrifield on doubleheader days, give relief starts during the dog days of summer, and would be a good late inning option for Matheny.
It is important that the KC Royals use the extra roster spots with an eye towards the future. Filling them with veterans who will have little positive impact this year or in the future is a waste of resources.