The KC Royals appear to be looking for a strong lefthanded bat, but they may have to search outside the organization to find one.
By all accounts, General Manager Dayton Moore wants to add a hefty lefthanded bat to the KC Royals’ lineup. Chances are he envisions a player with pop and power who drives in runs—in other words, a traditional middle of the lineup type.
Kansas City, of course, could use such an addition. Good lefthanded hitters are always handy to have, especially for clubs like the Royals who continually find themselves long on righthanded hitters, yet still strive to avoid too many righty-righty matchups.
But the club would be short on lefthanded bats if the 2021 season started today. Among catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Carlos Santana, second baseman Nicky Lopez, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, third baseman Hunter Dozier, left fielder Franchy Cordero, center fielder Michael A. Taylor, right fielder Whit Merrifield and DH Jorge Soler, are two lefties (Lopez and Cordero) and two switch hitters (Mondesi and Santana). Only Santana has consistent power; Mondesi’s remains in development.
Consistent power, usually required of a middle of the order batter but too frequently only a luxury for KC, is primarily provided by Soler and Perez. Of the lefties, Santana has clubbed most of his home runs (175 of 140) as a lefthander, although he slashes better (.276/.379/.452 vs. .235/.360/.443) from the other side of the plate. Mondesi is similar, hitting 20 of his 32 homers as a lefty, but with a righty line of .261/.286/.436 compared to .246/.283/.405 as a lefty.
Ideally, an additional lefthander will possess power, hit for average, get on base and be able to fill the left field hole created by Alex Gordon’s retirement. Can Cordero, or one of the other two lefthanded hitting outfielders on the 40-man roster—Khalil Lee or Nick Heath—fit that entire bill? Or does the club need to look outside the organization?