Dyson putting himself in the big picture

Looks like a little friendly competition looming between now and the end of the 2011 Kansas City Royals spring training camp between Gregor Blanco and Jarrod Dyson. In center field and for the leadoff spot in the batting order.


By Greg Echlin

FOXSportsKansasCity.com

September 22, 2010


Looks like a little friendly competition looming between now and the end of the 2011 Kansas City Royals spring training camp between Gregor Blanco and Jarrod Dyson.� In centerfield and for the leadoff spot in the batting order.

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It�s been only eight games for Dyson since he was called up Sept. 6�he still looks wet behind the ears occasionally defensively�but he brings the element you can�t teach.� Speed.

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�I look at baserunners, or guys that have the capability of stealing bases, and I always put it in this perspective in my own mind: Does he have larceny in his blood?� said Royals manager Ned Yost during the last homestand.

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Dyson�s second appearance in the big leagues was in the series finale at Minnesota, Sept. 8, with the game on the line.� Dyson was inserted as a pinch-runner in the ninth with the Royals trailing.� Representing the tying run, Dyson wasted no time testing the arm of Joe Mauer behind the plate.� That�s what Yost wanted and that�s he got when Dyson recorded his first major league stolen base.

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Yost�s own question was answered.� �Some guys are a little more methodical.� Some guys are a little more careful,� he said.� �Dyson has got larceny in his blood.� He knows that�s a strength.� He wants to steal that base.� He knows he can do it on pure talent.�

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Royals scout Mitch Webster, a former centerfielder who remembers from his days in the National League the kind of nightmares the St. Louis Cardinals under manager Whitey Herzog stirred up against their opponents in the 1980s, believes the Royals have the type of players in their system who can rekindle Whiteyball in its heyday.

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�We talk about here in Kansas City maybe gearing toward that because we have a big ballpark,� said Webster.� �Our home run record is 36 (Steve Balboni in 1985), so that maybe tips you off that we should go that way.� I�m excited about Dyson.��� �

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Both Dyson and Blanco are 26.� Blanco, who has played in 40 games for the Royals since the July 31 trade with Atlanta, is more seasoned in the major leagues.� His .252 batting average doesn�t wow anyone, but his on base percentage is a decent .341.� When looking at the leadoff hitter he wants, Yost says he�ll choose on base percentage over stolen bases.

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Shortly after the trade was completed, Yost said Blanco was still developing the characteristics of a leadoff hitter at the plate and on the bases.� Plus, he followed the veteran Scott Podsednik, who knew how to handle himself in both areas.� �

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When speaking of Blanco, Yost said, �He�s the same type hitter (as Podsednik).� He�s a guy who can drive the gaps.� He can bunt and bunts better than Scotty does.� He has a weapon there.

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Still, Scotty was a veteran leadoff guy.� Scotty took pitches.� He knew what to do when he got on first base.� Gregor�s a guy who�s starting to come up a little bit.� He�s got great abilities, but still has some learning to do in terms of understanding jumps, when to steal and how to steal.�

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The Royals this week are looking at a rookie centerfielder in Detroit who is line to win the American League Rookie of the Year award.� Austin Jackson, 23, had no major league experience before this year.� He�s had his down moments, too, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland stuck with him and it�s paying off.

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Either way next season, Dyson or Blanco, Yost is looking for the one who�ll take the big step forward and help turn the Royals around.

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�It�s fun to take those guys who have that type of ability and mold them,� he said.