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 to 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 Justin Maxwell.
One thing is for sure – Justin Maxwell looks good in a uniform. He looks like a ball player. At 6’5″, 220 pounds, he is the kind of ball player scouts would have drooled over in the pre - Moneyball days. Unfortunately, he barely hits his weight against major league pitching – .228 to 220 pounds.
In all truthfulness, Maxwell should not make the Opening Day roster. The Royals need a good utility middle infielder before they need a fifth outfielder.
Maxwell’s biggest asset is his raw power against left-handers, but even this is a myth. His overall career slash reads .228/.316/.430/.745.
Now let’s take a look at his lefty/rightly splits. Against right-handers, his slash is .220/.287/.429/.715. Not very good at all!
Against southpaws, it isn’t much different – .241/.358/.431/.789. Yes, his average is a bit higher, but .241 is nothing to be proud of. Interestingly enough, his power against lefties is almost identical to his power against righties, as indicated by the third number in the slashes – the Slugging Percentages.
The only thing Maxwell does significantly better against lefties than righties is walk. His On Base Percentage is 71 point higher, and hits only account for about 21 of those points. In his career, Justin Maxwell has 55 walks in 358 plate appearances against left-handers, and only 38 walks in 516 plate appearances against right-handers.
Now, Maxwell does have some attractive right-handed power off the bench but now that right-handed Danny Valencia is on the team, wouldn’t it be better to have a strong back up like Pedro Ciriaco on the bench, who can also play some outfield, than a 5th outfielder with decent power coming off the bench.
Maxwell is a likable player. His attitude is great, and it looks like he wants to be hear. Who can forget his 10th inning walk off grand slam last September? The Royals were still in the wild card race at that point, and it was incredible to be that excited that late in the season.
He belted out 18 home runs in 2012 for the Houston Astros, with a .460 SLG% in 352 plate appearances – that’s decent. In his brief stint with the Royals, Maxwell his 5 home runs, slugged .505 in 111 at bats. That is really good in a small sample size.
The downside though, is last year, before his trade to the Royals, Justin Maxwell hit only 2 home runs, slugged only .387, in 50% more plate appearances than with the Royals – 151.
If the light bulb somehow would clearly come on for Mike Moustakas against southpaws, the Royals wouldn’t need to carry Valencia as insurance, and Maxwell could stay on the roster, and Kansas City could carry a back up middle infielder, as they need to.
Like Emilio Bonifacio, the Royals got the best Justin Maxwell had to offer in the last two months of the season. Will he be able to duplicate those percentages for a whole season as a Royals? History say no.
Still, we have that 10th inning walk off grand slam against former Royal stalwart, Joakim Soria, in September. Here is a nice walk down memory lane.