Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman's offseason series analyzing the 2023 performances of various KC Royals players. Today, we consider Edward Olivares.
Kansas City outfielder-designated hitter Edward Olivares is at a critical career point. He's arbitration-eligible for the first time, which may not bode well for a part-time player on a team in need of immediate and significant change.
His status means the Royals have a decision to make. Because Olivares is sure to receive a healthy raise if he stays with the club, general manager J.J. Picollo must decide whether he is, in the grand scheme of things, a player to keep, and has until Nov. 17 to decide whether to tender or non-tender him.
His performance this season will, of course, influence that decision.
How did Edward Olivares measure up during the 2023 campaign?
Olivares finally enjoyed more consistent big league playing time this season — manager Matt Quatraro used him 107 times after he appeared in only 110 games over parts of three previous campaigns with the Royals.
Quatraro giving him more chances in 2023 seemed to benefit Olivares. In 354 at-bats, he homered 12 times, had 23 doubles and four triples, and posted a 109 OPS+ and a 105 wRC+. And on a team with too many free-swingers, he struck out a respectable 16.6% of the time. He also stole 11 bases.
His defense, though, is a different story. Gold Glove-caliber he isn't — his 54-game left field OAA was -5. (Olivares also was -2 OAA in right, but played there only three times; he played center on three occasions but had no chances). His meaningful fielding percentages — .966 in left and .968 overall — were both below league average.
We gave Olivares a B last season. What grade should he get for 2023 considering his decent season at the plate but less satisfying work in the field?
We'll give him another B.