Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals Advanced Scouting: Emilio Bonifacio


 

 

Hit: 40

Bonifacio’s production spiked in 2011 thanks to a short-lived bump in line drive percentage. He hit .296 that year. It was the only season he hit higher than .261. He has a slightly below average line drive rate and isn’t a very good fastball hitter (although he seems to feast on anything with a sinking motion). He’s always had trouble keeping up to fastballs on the inside part of the plate, but in this past year, he also developed a tendency to chase hard stuff on the outside and couldn’t make contact.

 

Batting Average vs. Hard stuff.

Batting Average vs. Hard stuff.

His speed down the line helps makes up for the fact that he can’t barrel up the ball on the bat and has given him a career .332 BAbip. He’s a singles hitter with a low contact rate, which has limited use at the MLB level.

His average walk rate is due to a very good eye at the plate. Pitchers aren’t afraid of his bat and certainly don’t want his speed on base. His 8% walk rate is a testament to his patience and discernment.

Power: 35

His career isolated power only .078 and it has never topped .100. Even in 2011, when he had 167 hits, he only had 38 extra base hits. He has only hit 10 home runs in 2299 plate appearances.  His career .340 SLG is 75 points below average. Again, his speed and hustle have given him a few extra bases.

Fielding: 50

On the infield, his range and instincts are pretty good. He bumbles balls hit right to him way too frequently. Balls bounced off his glove and went through his legs when he played for the Blue Jays, but his defense looked better with the Royals.

He has the basic ability and range to play all up the middle positions: second base, shortstop, and center field, which is a valuable attribute by itself. He’s a valuable utility player for any team.

Arm: 60

His decent arm gives him the ability to play shortstop or fill in at third base when necessary, which is a vast improvement over Chris Getz. His arm wouldn’t be ideal in right field, but he has enough arm strength to cover the position in a pinch. He can play every position on the diamond except pitcher and catcher.

Speed: 80

Game-changing speed. He can round the bases in 14.85 seconds. He has been clocked at 3.86 seconds from home to first on a hit and 3.68 seconds on a bunt as a lefty. That’s Willie Wilson fast.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t always have the baserunning instincts to go along with the speed. He was thrown out eight times trying to steal second and was picked off five times after joining the Kansas City Royals (eight on the year).

Overall

Bonifacio is a probably among the most useful utility players because he can play up the middle as well as come off the bench as a pinch runner, or even a defensive replacement at weaker positions. He’s a switch hitter, but it’s of limited use when smacks the ball on the ground most of the time. His average walk rate and elite speed should encourage pitchers to approach him with more care than they would other batters low in the order.

If he remains in the two-hole for the Royals, his .332 OBP over the past three years isn’t bad and when he bunts, he actually has a decent chance to reach base. If the Royals are stuck with him as their every day second baseman, they should be disappointed that they couldn’t land anyone better; however, they’ve proven they could do much worse.

 

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