Grading the 2021 KC Royals, Part 2: The outfielders

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Kyle Isbel
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

A rookie grades better than a veteran and another young KC Royals outfielder.

Kyle Isbel had little reason to believe he’d start the 2021 season in Kansas City. He’d never played above High-A when spring training started and, although the Royals thought enough of Isbel to include him in their 60-man 2020 Player Pool, playing against his Alternate Training Site teammates wasn’t the same as a full season of everyday competition.

But Isbel’s strong spring (.333/.420/.548 and two homers in 23 games), and Adalberto Mondesi’s late-camp injury that ended the club’s apparent plan to play Whit Merrifield in right field, forced Kansas City’s hand. Isbel left Arizona a Royal.

He singled in his first big league at bat and was hitting a respectable .265 in late April when the Royals sent him to Triple-A. But he returned in mid-September to slash .286/.362/.524 in 16 games and solidify his chances to make the 2022 club. And he didn’t commit an error in either of his Kansas City stints.

Isbel deserves a solid B.

Jarrod Dyson returned to the KC Royals this season but didn’t finish the year with the club (Toronto claimed him off waivers in late August). Hitting just .222 but playing flawlessly in the field and stealing successfully three times in four attempts, he earned a C+ for his performance through the first 50 games. And that’s his final grade after he batted .221 and made just one error before becoming a Blue Jay.

Unfortunately, Edward Olivares couldn’t duplicate in eight call-ups from Omaha what he did for the Storm Chasers—his .238 with five homers in 39 games with the Royals contrasts terribly to the 15-homer, .313/.397/.559 campaign he enjoyed at Omaha. And his .957 big league fielding percentage left much to be desired.

A C is the best grade Olivares can get for 2021.

dark. Next. Grading KC's 2021 catchers

The KC Royals had several outfielders this season. Their final grades range from D to A.