Another day, another waiver claim on a light hitting middle infielder. However, it would be a bit unfair to put Lance Zawadzki's bat in the same category as Joaquin Arias. Sure Zawadzki posted a .557 OPS in a twenty game stint this eason in San Diego and a .607 OPS in double and triple A this eason. But entering this season he had posted a minor league career line of .283/.362/.430, so unlike Arias he has shown some promise in a professional uniform.
Using the scouting reports that I have at my disposal that were written prior to the 2010 season, most felt as though there was a strong possibility that Zawadzki could at the least become an average utility player, with the potential of being a regular middle infielder or utility guy with an above average bat. His defense is average at short, which is more than can be said about the other short stops on the 40-man and he has a strong arm that some scouts graded as a 70 tool. He also has the capability of playing an above average second base.
Zawadzki had displayed a good line drive stroke, even hitting 10 home runs in the hitter friendly California League before a demotion into the Texas League. Zawadzki also probably becomes the most patient short stop on the 40 man roster. He has two options, which will be critical in his opportunity to stick with the organization.
I like the Zawadzki claim much more than the Arias claim if not simply for the fact that Dayton Moore gets out of his shortstop shell a little bit here and away from the Latin American flashy overrated defense low on base cast type that he seems to be in love with. But like the Arias claim I'll have to wait and see what guys are left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft as a potential result of this move. After a huge step back in 2010, Zawadzki is going to need to regain some of the prospect luster before I get excited about this waiver claim.
Also, as a result of this move Jai Miller will become a free agent tomorrow afternoon. It would be pulling hairs to determine which player will have the more lackluster future in the big leagues between Miller and Zawadzki, but at the moment the Royals have a stronger need at the upper levels for a shortstop than outfielder so the move makes sense.