Ryan O’Hearn’s last 627 plate appearances: .200 BA, .281 OBP, .359 SLG, 70 OPS+
Kelvin Gutierrez’s career 244 plate appearances: .229 BA, .279 OBP, .308 SLG, 59 OPS+
Hunter Dozier this season in 277 plate appearances: .174 BA, .242 OBP, .344 SLG, 58 OPS+
Jorge Soler this season in 314 plate appearances: .186 BA, .279 OBP, .320 SLG, 64 OPS+
Ryan McBroom’s career 168 plate appearances coming into this season: .269 BA, .321 OBP, .436 SLG, 100 OPS+
Let’s first be clear, the point of providing these stats isn’t to say that Ryan McBroom is a good major league hitter. Maybe he’s not even an average major league hitter if given full-time at-bats.
The point is that, for the umpteenth time, the Royals are continuing to give at-bats and money to players that aren’t appreciably better than those that are already in the system. Or, they’re continuing to feed at-bats to players having woefully dreadful seasons and pretending there’s just no possible way to find at-bats for the players in Triple-A with major league experience having a great season.
Such is the biggest flaw with saying you don’t believe in tanking, spending money on redundant players and not focusing on the aspects of your team you’re weak, and still putting up a record that makes it look like you’re tanking. Even an acquisition like Carlos Santana, which I loved at the time and still do because he brings a skill to the team that isn’t found anywhere else on the roster, is being paid $7MM to have a .368 OBP and a 116 OPS+. Good numbers, and meaningful numbers because he’s the only one in the lineup that will draw a walk, but what’s the value of Santana over McBroom when you could save $6.5MM?
Or better yet, what if you played both? That’s what makes the playing of O’hearn, Dozier, and Soler every day particularly frustrating.
O’hearn was a fringe prospect that started to put it together late in his minor league career. He’s exactly the kind of guy you give a shot at the major league level because if it works out, you’ve got Whit Merrifield: a cheap, veteran player that performs well and eliminates all the growing pains you get with a younger player that doesn’t know how to win yet.
But now, what’s the point? Especially now that he’s seeing playing time in the outfield, a position he’s learning on the fly and there’s yet another player in Triple-A, Edward Olivares, that could be getting those at-bats. His power potential is enticing, he slugged .597 his rookie year, but hasn’t come within .200 points of that since. And this is a lineup starved for power (again).
Dozier is a guy that’s clearly in need of a phantom IL stint. He isn’t someone you give up on just yet (and you probably can’t given the inexplicable contract he was given before the start of the season) but he’s obviously someone the either 1. Needs to stop playing a different position every night or 2. Should take a seat for a few days just to get a mental break.
Soler is an all-time #Royaling. Two years removed from leading the American League in homeruns with 48, he’s slugging .320 with a 64 OPS+. I get playing Soler and hoping something clicks to position him for a trade, but that ship clearly sailed long ago.
The Royals have played this year with a DH that’s been the worst player in baseball, a third baseman playing right field that’s been the second worst player in baseball, a third baseman that forced the other guy to right field that had a 51 OPS+, a centerfielder with a .301 OBP, and a left fielder that’s going to miss a couple months with an injury. They’re 25th in baseball in homeruns and 24th in on-base percentage.
Ryan McBroom is a career .287/.352/.478 minor league hitter and he’s batting .272/.347/.548 with 17 homeruns this year in Triple-A. With all the struggles the Royals have had on offense this year, and how terrible the guys in his would-be role have played, there’s easily some at-bats to find for the guy.
Photo credit Minda Haas Kuhlmann, the best