Sports Outside the Beltway

Royals Spring Training Preview – 3B

Previous Installments: C1B/DH2B/SS

A quick look at all of the Hall of Famers who have played for the Kansas City Royals will leave you with two lingering thoughts:

1.) Orlando Cepeda and Harmon Killebrew played for the Royals? Really?

2.) Thank God for George Brett.

With a breakout performer and a sure-fire prospect competing for a spot on the hot corner, this may be the most interesting position battle since Ken Harvey and Calvin Pickering went head-to-head over the buffet table in 2005.

Mark Teahen
OPS+ 117

Perhaps the last great thing Allard Baird did as general manager of the Kansas City Royals was send Mark Teahen down to Omaha after his horrid start to the 2006 season.

KC   195  241  351
OMA  380  500  658
KC   313  384  557

Faced with fading away or fighting back, Teahen did the latter. He got angry at our little white friends with the red stitching and began thumping whenever one came across the plate.

Dayton Moore brought Teahen back up to the big league team to see if his hot streak would hold, and it did until a labrum tear ended his season in early September.

What remains to be seen is how the shoulder surgery will affect Teahen’s ability to progress this season. Mark is already a candidate to decline – his minor league stats show a lot of patience, but not as much power.

With a log jam in the outfield and golden boy Alex Gordon standing on third base in the minors, Teahen cannot afford to have another April like last year.

Alex Gordon
325/427/588 (AA)

Ahh, the golden child.

Gordon has pretty much raked the ball as far back as the stats go.

Check out his splits while at Wichita last year and you’ll see that the only time he didn’t really produce was in twelve at bats as a first baseman. (Note to the Royals, Alex Gordon is NOT a first baseman)

Most observers assume that Gordon will be the starting third baseman coming out of Spring Training, forcing Mark Teahen to the outfield.

Ideally, the two players will push each other to greatness and force the Royals to trade away some of the excess baggage in the outfield.

Realistically, the 23 year old Gordon will have a few struggles against his first taste of MLB quality competition. How few are up for debate.

        2007 Projections
PECOTA  282 364 511 875 541
ZIPS    275 361 473 834 491
CHONE   273 353 465 818 485

A 21 year old George Brett put up a 282/312/363 line in 457 at bats in his first major league season and finished second in the MVP voting at age 23.

Can the chosen one keep up?

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