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

spring training.�

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.