May 5, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) catches a fly ball against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals Right Field Situation

Here’s something I’m sure most Royals fans don’t want to hear.  Thus far, Jeff Francoeur has had as bad this year as he was in 2012.  After today’s 1-5 performance, (though Frenchy did have a double during KC’s three run fifth) Francoeur is hitting .253/.295/.362 compared to last year’s .235/.287/.378.  It’s pretty clear that the Royals will have a hard time succeeding with Frenchy hitting the way he is.  So what does Kansas City do?  The Royals have a couple of options

The first thing Kansas City can do is look in house to fix the problem.  With the departure of Wil Myers, there isn’t a top prospect to fill the void, but the Royals do have a suitable candidate in David Lough.  At the moment, Lough is hitting .362/.424/.523 for Omaha.  There’s not much of a chance that Lough can give Kansas City that kind of production, but he doesn’t need to.  Lough has played 391 games at the AAA level, producing a line of .296/.349/.452.  This could be regressed a little and still be much better than Francoeur’s line.  Calling up Lough and replacing Frenchy with him might not be the best idea, though.  This is because Frenchy hits much better against left handed pitchers and Lough is a lefty.  For his career, Frenchy has hit .290/.342/.479.  This year, Francoeur is hitting .368/.429/.474 versus southpaws.  Neither Baseball-Reference nor Fangraphs have data for minor league splits, but lefties generally hit right handed pitching better than left handed pitching.  The benefit wouldn’t just be on offense, though.  Lough would provide above average range in right field in addition to improved baserunning.  Last year, Lough stole 26 bases in 30 attempts for Omaha.

There’s another reasonable alternative.  If the Royals are looking for a more proven player, they should consider trading for a former Royal in David DeJesus.  For his career, DeJesus has hit right handed pitchers much better than southpaws and carries a .292/.367/.452 against righties for his career.  This year, DeJesus has a .284/.346/.537 line.  While he won’t maintain that throughout the entire year, he will hit well enough to justify a platoon with Francoeur.  Together, the two would combine to provide above average offense in right field.

Rany Jazayerli offers another positive aspect of acquiring DeJesus.

DeJesus actually makes a shocking amount of sense. He’s a free agent at the end of the year, he doesn’t make a ton of money ($4.25 million), and the Cubs are pretty clearly playing for the future. On top of that, DeJesus has a $6.5 million club option for next year…assuming he plays well, he could be the everyday rightfielder again next year on a one-year contract, making him the perfect bridge to Jorge Bonifacio, who if all goes right could be ready by the end of 2014.

If the Royals acquire DeJesus and he doesn’t perform, they can just let him walk.  Otherwise, they have a reasonable club option for DeJesus which will last until a legitimate prospect takes his place.  Bonifacio is hitting well for the Royals high A affiliate so far and should earn a promotion to AA this year if he continues to hit like this.

No matter what the Royals do, they can’t expect to live up to their expectations if they get this kind of production out of right field for the rest of the year.  It’s time for Kansas City to put up or shut up.  They can help do that by increasing their outfield production.

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Tags: David DeJesus David Lough Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals

9 Comments on The Kansas City Royals Right Field Situation

  1. Joel Wagler says:

    I agree, they have to do something here. DeJesus would make a lot of sense and can probably be had cheap…

  2. jimfetterolf says:

    I know DeJesus is something of a fad for the Frenchy-Hate crowd, but we already have Dyson in house for a platoon with much superior defense to DeJesus, much cheaper and with no need for a trade.

    Frenchy is starting off a little softer than we would like, but is currently tied for 5th on the team in both runs scored and driven in, so is picking his spots, and his defense is at 3.3 on the bogus fangraphs pie slice system, ahead of Escobar, Gordon, and Perez while he is putting up positive fWAR, unlike last year. The negative WAR job has been passed on to Moustakas.

    As long as the Royals are playing well and winning, I see no changes being made among the starters.

    Joel, do you think DeJesus is a superior player to Dyson? I don’t. Should a platoon arise, J’Rod is the obvious choice and requires neither trade nor roster move. As I recall, Dyson is out of options, so trading for David DeJesus gets Dyson released. Sounds like a very bad trade right there, regardless of who else we would have to let go of.

    • Joel Wagler says:

      I think DeJesus is a superior batter. That being said, we really haven’t had a chance to see Dyson hit on a regular basis to see if he can produce. I certainly wouldn’t mind a Frenchy/Dyson platoon. We are all dreaming here though. That isn’t going to happen. As long as Francoeur is on the team, and KC doesn’t trade for an obviously better RF, Yost is going to play Frenchy just about every day. Fun to discuss amongst ourselves, but probably no changes in RF in sight.

  3. KCisKing says:

    Yawn … The Royals seem to be doing quite ok with Frenchy in the outfield. One thing that isn’t captured by any stats is the runs he saves in the OF from the intimidation of his arm. How many times have we seen runners held up at 3rd or runners not trying advance on balls hit to right field. There is not stat for that and if you don’t see that in games, then you are on purpose being blind.

    • Joel Wagler says:

      I saw him drop a can of corn today then not catch a ball in a no-hitter that wasn’t that hard of a play. Yes, his arm is as impressive as any but he is not a good fielder overall.

      • KCisKing says:

        And I saw that today also but also I have seen every major league outfielder drop balls like that on any given day.

  4. 27 games into the season seriously. I realize the critics are out there with their ever present knowledge of how the game should be played. You will not replace the arm with another player and who says his avg won’t go up in the 270 range. To all the writers and critics out there. Stats mean nothing until after the fact. The fact remains NONE or very few of you have EVER played professional sports of any kind. What kind of stat would that be?

  5. hemroid says:

    Frenchy has 1 more home run than Hosmer and tied with Moose. He is tied in RBIs with Hosmer and Frenchy has scored more runs than Hosmer with a batting average that is .006 lower. Maybe some ire should be headed the way of the “Wonder Boys”. I read an article written by a Tampa Bay writer who commented “how good is Will Myers, really? After all, everyone talked about how good Hosmer and Moustakas were, isn’t Myers from the same system?” LOL, it was a pretty good laugh but oh so true.

  6. Jacob Meysenburg says:

    Well, I certainly appreciate all the feedback. I would like to point out that the goal of this post wasn’t to bash on Frenchy. I would like to see him succeed as much as the rest of you. If he can put up another season similar to 2011 I’ll shut up about his production. However, this isn’t an issue of 26 games this season. These struggles date all the way back to last year. Frenchy openly admitted that he wasn’t very good last year and said that he was going to work on his entire game. I believe that article was in the KC Star. I will say that it does look like Francoeur has put in a lot of defensive work and I will give him kudos for that. For those of you wondering, I am also concerned about Moose and slightly less concerned about Hosmer. I decided that I’d write about Francoeur because this site has addressed Hosmer’s and Moustakas’s struggles recently.

    I certainly agree with the idea that Dyson could make a platoon partner for Frenchy. In his limited time hitting major league pitching, Dyson has hit right handers better than lefties and that also doesn’t take into account his value in the field and on the bases. A Gordon-Cain-Dyson outfield is truly awesome defensively. In my scenario, the Royals would use Dyson as a fifth outfielder and only have Elliot Johnson as a utility infielder. This would leave Miguel Tejada as the odd man out rather than getting rid of Dyson’s blazing speed. Hopefully, that addresses some of my opinions about the issue.

    I agree with Jim when he says that the Royals probably won’t change as long as they are playing well, but I don’t think that’s the best course of action. Regardless it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out, and if the Royals continue to play the way that they are, it will certainly be fun.

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