The Kansas City Royals are coming off their best season since 1989, and are looking to improve on their 86 wins in 2013. Going forward, we are going to take a closer look at the players that should play significant roles for the Royals in 2014, as they try to make their first post season appearance since winning the World Series in 1985.
If you want read the other completed profiles, just click here. This link will be updated as we add more profiles over the upcoming weeks.
Up next: outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Jarrod Dyson is starting his 5th season with the Kansas City Royals. That is a little hard to believe but it is true, even though he only appeared in 44 games in 2010 and 2011.
He is the prototypical back up outfield type. He is good center fielder who earned an excellent 10.4 Ultimate Zone Rating last season, according to Fangraphs.com. He also brings one intangible every team needs from at least one bench player – speed.
In his career, Dyson has swiped 84 bases in just 97 attempts (86.7%). Last season, he stole 34 bases on 40 attempts. He is a great weapon to have late in the game, down by one, or with the score tied. He can make things happen on the base paths.
The problem with Dyson is that he really doesn’t do much well at the plate. His batting isn’t horrible at .251 but it is an empty average. He hits for almost no power and he doesn’t really walk enough considering his other faults. He has more than twice as many strikeouts in his career as walks (131 to 64) and that really shouldn’t be the case.
Dyson’s biggest problem at the plate is that he just doesn’t hit with much authority. According to Fangraphs, He is an overwhelming ground ball hitter (which he should be), who puts the ball on the ground 59% of the time on his batted balls.
He gets his fair share of balls to trickle through, too. According to Baseball-Reference.com, his Batting Average on Ball in Play is a solid .312. A lot of this is due to his improved bunting skills. Again according to Fangraphs, he bunted 21 times and got a base hit on 10 of those attempts.
Before 2013, he had bunted 30 times but was successful only 8 times. This is a huge improvement to his game and an important one as well. Without his bunt hits last year, Dyson was only a .234 hitter.
Jarrod Dyson is only making $506,000 in 2014, but he turns 30 in August. This very well could be his last season with Kansas City. While his speed is very helpful late in games, and he can fill in on a limited basis for the oft-injured Lorenzo Cain, the Royals can’t really afford to pay him more than basically minimum, like they are now.
His speed is a huge luxury, but it can at least partially be replaced, and cheaply. He isn’t a wasted roster spot because with Cain’s fragility, a reliable back center fielder is necessary. Since he is still cheap, and can still rack up stolen bases, he has value on this roster.
Look for more of the same from Jarrod Dyson in 2014 as last season. He will be a back up center fielder, and a pinch runner extraordinaire, who can leg out a bunt single on a regular basis. Do not expect more.