Grading the 2022 KC Royals: Outfielder Kyle Isbel

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Prospects for plentiful playing time were excellent for KC Royals outfielder Kyle Isbel going into the 2022 season. Although he spent much of 2021 at Triple-A Omaha, memories of his success that season in Kansas City remained fresh when the club broke spring camp and headed north to begin a new campaign.

Isbel opened the 2021 season, his first in the majors, in right field at Kauffman Stadium and went 3-for-5, then collected two hits in four at-bats in the club's second game. But his bat cooled and Kansas City optioned him back to Omaha before April ended.

Isbel's .269/.357/.444 line and 15 homers with the Storm Chasers were good enough for a late-season ticket to Kansas City, and he slashed .286/.362/.524 in 16 games to finish with an overall .276 average and place himself squarely in the Royals' outfield mix for 2022.

And after a solid spring (he slashed .290/.389/.774 with three homers in 15 Cactus League games), Isbel made the Opening Day roster for the second straight season and appeared ready, given his outfield versatility, to play nearly every day.

Isbel ended up playing 106 games for the Royals. How did he do?

Outfielder Kyle Isbel had a disappointing 2022 season for the KC Royals.

Like he had the season before, Isbel started well in 2022: he was hitting .274 in 24 games at the end of May. But the rest of the season was little more than one prolonged, painful slump: he posted a .191/.255/.340 line, and hit only five home runs, from June until the campaign's early October conclusion. His .211 season average was well below expectations.

The performance made Isbel one of 2022's most disappointing Royals.

Fortunately, Isbel's glove was a bit better than his bat. Playing 49 games in right field, 30 in center and 29 in right, his .979 fielding percentage wasn't great, but he had +9 DRS and 11 OAA. Isbel's premier speed enabled him to make his share of spectacular plays.

So, what kind of grade does Isbel deserve for last season? His hitting was poor, but his defense was decent, although not as good as it can be. We'll give him a C.

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Kyle Isbel didn't have a stellar season for the Royals.