KC Royals Opinion: Right field is officially a problem

By Paul Thompson

Northeast News

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Below, I promise a well-reasoned take on the issues that the Kansas City Royals are currently experiencing with the right field position. With the Gods as my witness, I’ll even propose a solution for the quagmire. But first, allow me a brief monologue about the value of new-age, statistical mumbo-jumbo as it relates to production on a baseball field.

Perhaps the most informative of any offensive statistic in baseball is on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), which simply combines a player’s on-base percentage (how often a batter reaches base in his plate appearances) with his slugging percentage (which calculates how often a batter registers an extra base hit – defined as doubles, triples, and home runs).

In Major League Baseball, a .700 OPS is considered roughly average, an .800 OPS is above-average, an .850 OPS is well above-average, and a .900 OPS is elite. Anything above .950 is rarefied air – reserved for the game’s multi-generational talents. For reference, 115 MLB players registered a qualified OPS above .700 during the 2015 season. Of those, only 46 ended the season with an OPS above .800, 25 reached .850, and just 11 finished with an OPS above .900. The .950 OPS club consisted of only five members – perennial all-stars Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, and Bryce Harper.

In 2015, 51 MLB outfielders registered enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. Of those, the worst OPS (.635) belonged to San Francisco Giants left fielder Angel Pagan. To be clear, that figure is considered well below replacement-level for an outfielder. Pagan’s 2015 season artfully combined a proclivity for making outs with non-existent power, all while relying on his team to overlook those negative contributions and offer him more than 500 at-bats. That the Giants did so was a minor miracle. More often than not, a team will eventually tire of the lack of output and unceremoniously shift the struggling player to either the bench or the minor leagues.

All of this brings me back to the case of the 2016 Kansas City Royals and the position of right field. Specifically, how long will management put up with the dearth of production coming from Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando?

Dyson was limited by an injury in the early going, but he’s registered just a .546 OPS and four extra base hits in 69 at-bats since his return to the lineup. Orlando hasn’t been much better, posting a batting average-aided .653 OPS with two extra base hits, one RBI, and zero walks while striking out 13 times in 47 at-bats. Casual fans can easily decipher the problem: neither player represents a legitimate threat to hit the ball hard. With both Dyson and Orlando now on the wrong side of 30 years old, that doesn’t figure to change.

Here’s the part of the story where I present a potential solution to this problem. His name is Brett Eibner, and he’s a 27-year-old post-hype prospect who’s putting up an .882 OPS with solid walk rates at Triple-A Omaha. A former second round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, Eibner is a converted pitcher who has flashed serious power (as well as a tendency to strike out at alarming rates) during his admittedly lengthy minor-league career.

Historically, Eibner seems to take one step back for every step forward. After a promising 2011 short-season debut in which he hit 12 home runs in 76 games, Eibner was promoted a level in 2012. He would go on to hit .196 with 165 strikeouts in 120 games. He bounced back the next year to hit 19 home runs, 17 doubles, and nine triples at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, posting a respectable .781 OPS in the process. But true to form, Eibner stumbled in his first experience at Triple-A in 2014. There, he posted a .697 OPS with middling power, suffering through a disappointing season. Needless to say, astute fans braced for the worst after Eibner came back in 2015 with 19 home runs, 23 doubles, and an .878 OPS in just 289 at-bats. The breakout, we figured, was simply another tease.

And yet here we are in 2016, with the major-league team struggling and Eibner once again raking in Triple-A. Now with nearly 800 total at-bats in Omaha, the 27-year-old appears to have taken a real step forward. Meanwhile in Kansas City, only Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have produced an OPS above .850 this season, and Moustakas is currently on the disabled list with a fractured thumb. The next most productive hitter at this point is Lorenzo Cain, who currently sports a .730 OPS.

While I expect the team’s power numbers to improve significantly over time, I tend to doubt that either Orlando or Dyson will be the catalysts to an offensive renaissance. At this point, we know what those guys are. But who exactly is Brett Eibner? It’s time to find out.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Disc golfer shot in Kessler Park

    16 hours ago
    by

    Saturday afternoon a man was shot on the Kessler Park Disc Golf Course during the 2022 Kansas City Flying Disc […]


    Disc-O-Mania!

    May 28th, 2022
    by

    Over 250 disc golfers are in town this weekend playing four different courses across the city for the second annual […]


    Woman shot by KCPD at Family Dollar

    May 27th, 2022
    by

    The Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP) is investigating a Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officer-involved shooting at Family Dollar near Sixth […]


    Carjacking gone bad leads to KCPD Officer involved shooting at 6th/Prospect

    May 27th, 2022
    by

    A carjacking gone bad in Kansas City Kansas has led to an officer-involved shooting near 6th and Prospect in Kansas […]


    Rep. Cleaver introduces legislation to withhold lawmaker pay following mass shootings

    May 26th, 2022
    by

    The No Pay Until Peace Act would withhold pay of members of congress when a mass shooting occurs in the […]


    Pedestrian dead, police pursue stolen car

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    One man is dead and a male suspect is on the run following a police chase of a stolen vehicle. […]


    Condemned apartment catches fire at Scarritt and N. Lawn

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Just after 7:30 p.m. on May 25, crews were called to a fire at 135 N. Lawn Ave., where the […]


    Homicide 7th and Dittman

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Just after 8:30 p.m. on May 24, officers were dispatched to the area of the 700 block of Dittman after […]


  • Today: Give input on proposed Energy Efficient Building Code

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Councilwoman Andrea Bough and City staff will host a Public Information and Input Session on the proposed adoption of the […]


    Kansas City’s Most Wanted

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    KC Crime Stoppers has partnered with The Northeast News to help track individuals in Northeast KC on the Kansas City’s […]


    Community Calendar

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Wednesday, May 25th – Whack-It Wednesdays. Come join neighbors to help get Kessler into prime shape for the season! Cycle […]


    Northeast HS JROTC’s Colonel Hilliard retires

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    By Abby Hoover Beloved Northeast High School JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) instructor Colonel Richard Hilliard is retiring after […]


    Faces of Northeast – Jason Nickles

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Jason Nickles is interning this summer with the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce to gain experience in his field […]


    AAPI Heritage Month Event in Columbus Park

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Cafe Cà Phê hosted an Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month celebration this weekend in Columbus Park with some […]


    CVS Pharmacy Career Opportunities

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    At CVS Health, we are joined in a common purpose: helping people on their path to better health. We are […]


    Community Outreach Programs brought to you by The Kansas City Museum

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to build healthy, sustainable communities and how to prevent and address […]


    Community Outreach Programs brought to you by Mattie Rhodes Center

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    On Friday, May 20, the Mattie Rhodes Center hosted its 10th annual Brightening Lives, Building Futures luncheon, honoring those in […]


    Classifieds

    May 25th, 2022
    by

    101 Contractors & BuildersMARK’S REMODELINGROOFING, SIDING, DOORSWINDOWS, PLUMBINGSHEETROCK, ELECTRICAL NO JOB TOO SMALL816-537-3193 103 Lawn Care HANDY SAM’SLAWN SERVICE PLUSMOWING, WEED […]


    Missing/Endangered Person:

    May 24th, 2022
    by

    John M Smith WM 34 YOA 6’02”, 245lbs, Blonde Hair, Green eyes Was last seen on Tuesday, 05/24/2022 around 1200 […]


    Memorial Day: City offices closed, trash delayed

    May 24th, 2022
    by

    Administrative offices at City Hall and other city buildings will be closed on Monday, May 30, in observance of the […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Remember This?

    Remember This?

    May 25th, 2022
    by

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.