Welcome back to our KC Royals player projection series for the 2024 season. Over the next few weeks, we'll be reviewing how various Royals performed last year and predicting how they might do this season. Up today is first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino.
If J.J. Picollo has a 2024 wish list filed somewhere in his Kauffman Stadium office, bet the farm Vinnie Pasquantino's name is on it. The general manager. who's spent the winter so efficiently restructuring his team that it can't help but improve, knows the Royals will be even better if Pasquantino is available for the entire 2024 campaign.
So, Picollo and everyone else associated with the Royals, including their fans, want Pasquantino to be healthy when the club begins full-squad spring training workouts Feb. 19, and to stay that way all season. The big first baseman hasn't played since early last June, when issues with his troublesome right shoulder forced him onto the Injured List, then required season-ending surgery.
Losing Pasquantino for over half the baseball year hurt the Royals; he'd figured prominently in their plans, so much so that the lack of a consistently good replacement added to the deep disappointments their 106-loss season occasioned. Sorely missed was his power bat and decent defense, valuable commodities he proved were his when he slashed .295/.383/.450 with a 135 OPS+ and 10 homers, and made only three errors, in his 72-game major league debut two seasons ago.
What should the Royals expect from Pasquantino this year?
How FanGraphs projects Vinnie Pasquantino's 2024 season
FanGraphs' prediction (Depth Charts version) has Pasquantino homering 23 times, driving in 81 runs, and slashing .277/.357/.482. Those numbers, if achieved, will make for a pretty good season.
How will Vinnie Pasquantino actually perform for the Royals this year?
Especially considering what he endured last season, the quality of Pasquantino's 2024 performance will depend as much on his health as almost anything else. Fortunately, he opted for corrective shoulder surgery last year, and the videos of his winter hitting currently circulating on social media suggest he's recovered nicely and is ready to go.
Assuming his shoulder issues are resolved, and barring any long-term injuries, look for Pasquantino to return to the form he displayed as a big league rookie and throughout his minor league career (.292/.382/.569 with 56 homers in 246 games). Reasonable to expect from him are a line consistent with FanGraphs' prediction, at least 25 homers and possibly 30, and 85-90 RBIs.