Young outfielder Kyle Isbel had a discouraging season with the KC Royals.
Kyle Isbel, a fine Kansas City prospect who’d never seen a pitch or caught a fly in the majors, found himself patrolling Kauffman Stadium’s right field when the 2021 season opened. He banged three Opening Day hits off Texas pitching, including one in his first big league at-bat, and drove in two runs. And he was hitting .292 in his first seven games before a 2-for-10 stretch in his next five contributed to a demotion to Triple-A.
Isbel returned to the Royals in mid-September and the .286/.362/.524 he slashed in 16 games down the stretch thrust him back into the 2022 picture.
The expectations were high. But the subsequent performance wasn’t good.
Manager Mike Matheny played him 106 times and in left, right, center, and DH, but Isbel struggled to hit .211 and struck out 27% of the time. It wasn’t the season either he, or the Royals, hoped for, especially for a prospect the club sems so much to like; nor does it guarantee him a starting, or even reserve, role for next year.
Isbel possesses an excellent glove and the speed to cover The K’s outfield. But 2022 represents a step or two backward for him.
And a major disappointment.
The Royals had a bad year. Three players had especially disappointing seasons.