The door is open for Moustakas
By Greg Echlin
Dec. 15, 2010
The door is open for the Royals best minor league prospect, Mike Moustakas.
But conscious of rushing a prospect like they did with Alex Gordon in
2007, the Royals are more methodical with Moustakas. Both in what they
say and in their actions.
�I think our team�s more positioned for a young player like Mike
Moustakas to break into the major leagues at some point in time than it
was four years ago, in 2007 when Alex Gordon broke in,� said Royals
general manager Dayton Moore earlier this week. �I think we�re better
off as an organization roster-wise, talent-wise, experience-wise for
that to happen. But that�s not to say he�ll be on the opening day
Don�t count it out either. Moore relies a great deal on what he is told
by his associates.� Though Moustakas might be rough around the edges at
third, scouts are saying his bat is major league ready.
�You look at Mike Moustakas as probably the position player that we
have who is most ready based on his production and who he is as a
person,� said Moore.
Catcher Lucas May had a chance to play with Moustakas in Omaha last
summer. Moustakas hit .297 with 15 homers and 47 RBI in 51 games with
the Omaha Royals (since re-named the Storm Chasers).
�That guy can play. It was fun to watch last year,� said May while at
Kauffman Stadium Tuesday for the Kids Holiday Party, a charity event
that involved around 80 children. �I�m looking forward to seeing him in
Moore would rather be late on a prospect than rushing him to the majors
too early. But if Moustakas demonstrates in spring training he can make
the most important step in his career, he�ll make it difficult for the
Royals to hold back from including him on the opening day roster.
�The important thing is we don�t hold any of our young players back,
but at the same time we don�t want to put them in a position where
they�re not ready to compete and be successful,� said Moore.
As it stands, excluding Moustakas, Wilson Betemit and Mike Aviles are
the most viable candidates for third base. But neither are long-term
solutions there. Betemit, who took over regular duties at third last
season on the heels of the Alberto Callaspo trade to the Angels, is
looked at as 2011�s Willie Bloomquist. He�s not as versatile as
Bloomquist, but can play in left field or right on occasion in addition
to the infield.
Aviles came up as a shortstop, but Yuniesky Betancourt has that
position locked up. Then Aviles learned to play second base last season
when his bat gave the moribund Royals lineup a spark early in the year.
When Chris Getz was sidelined by a concussion late in the season,
Aviles� power re-emerged with six home runs in his final 20 games. More
importantly, Aviles is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery on his
throwing elbow, which enables the Royals to consider him an option at
In early November the Royals added Joaquin Arias to the infield mix.�
Arias was claimed from the New York Mets, who acquired him via trade
from the Texas Rangers for Jeff Francoeur. During
Arias� brief major league career (113 games), he has played more at
second (70) than any other position.� The Royals also claimed infielder
Lance Zawadzki off waivers. A fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft by
the San Diego Padres, Zawadzki, 25, broke into the big leagues last
year. He played the majority of his 20 games at second.
The Royals helped clear space for Moustakas by allowing Josh Fields to
hit free agency.� After hip surgery sidelined Fields for most of the
season, he made 12 starts at third for the Royals once he was ready
from his rehab assignment in the minors. He hit .306 with three homers
in 13 games.