Grading the KC Royals: Vinnie Pasquantino's short season

How did Kansas City's first baseman do before an injury ended his season?
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's offseason series analyzing the 2023 performances of various KC Royals players. Today, we grade first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino.

Only via the metric of a full 162-game season, with its daily grind, peaks and valleys, aches and pains, and various on and off-field twists and turns, can a big league ballplayer's annual performance be comprehensively judged. It seems in a sense almost unfair to evaluate a player who spent most of the season on the Injured List.

But not unless they play only a few games should any major leaguer escape club and external scrutiny, and that includes Vinnie Pasquantino, who made his last 2023 appearance for the Royals before June reached its midpoint. The big first baseman-designated hitter went hitless in his sixth game of the month — it was the fifth time he'd done so since June began — and the next day found himself on the IL with a torn labrum in his right shoulder that soon required corrective surgery.

He spent the rest of the season rehabilitating and watching his teammates tie the 2005 Royals for the worst record in club history. Now he waits, no doubt anxiously, for the return to regular action he'll make when the Royals host the Twins for the 2024 season opener.

Hopefully, he'll be able to play more than the 61 times he did this season.

How did Vinnie Pasquantino perform during his abbreviated 2023 campaign?

Sixty-one games were somewhat less kind to Pasquantino than the 71 appearances he put in as a rookie in 2022 when, promoted from the minors in late June to replace traded Carlos Santana at first, he posted a superb .383 OBP and a .295 average, and clubbed10 home runs. It was a nice rookie effort for which we gave him an A.

This year, though, and despite a decent first month over which he slashed .279/.375/.500 with five home runs and 10 RBIs, he dropped to .255/.310/.443 and four homers (but drove in 16 runs) in May, and was 1-for-21 for June when that torn labrum ended his season. Pasquantino finished .247/.324/.437; he homered nine times and had 26 RBIs.

Positive for Pasquantino, who again divided his playing time between first base and DH, is that he played 10 fewer games this season than last but hit only one less homer and equaled his 2022 RBI total. But for his injury, his production would have far exceeded his rookie numbers.

What grade should Vinnie Pasquantino receive for 2023?

Pasquantino's slash line wasn't as good as it was a season ago, but his other stats were comfortably similar to 2022. We'll give him a B.

More about the KC Royals