Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Yanking of Johnny G

The manner in which Johnny Giavotella has been handled is somewhat mind boggling. Giavotella, who has pounded Minor League pitching to .308/.380/.443 career line, has been unable to break into the lineup as an everyday player for Kansas City. 

What is bizarre is that Giavotella isn't a holdover from a previous regime. No, he was a second round draft pick of the current administration. Different scouting director? Yes, but same general manager. 

The closest Giavotella has had in terms of regular at bats came last season following his call up. In that Giavotella was unable to perform at a high enough level to earn his spot for 2013, and after a poor Spring, he would eventually lose out to Chris Getz. 

On May 9, Giavotella would return to Kansas City but over a 29 game period, would only record 69 at bats with 15 starts. On June 11, Giavotella would be shipped back to Omaha and after tearing up the Pacific Coast League he would resurface in Kansas City following Chris Getz's season ending injury. Finally, I thought, Giavotella would get to be the guy in Kansas City. However, it hasn't been that way.

Sure Giavotella has been playing pretty regularly since his call up in mid-August, but even now I feel like the Royals haven't given him a chance to really get going, so I decided to check the game logs. In the 40 games since his return, Giavotella has started in all but 9. Here is what caught my eye: in the 10 games that Giavotella has not played, seven of them have come after Giavotella recorded a hit in his last game played. Here is the breakdown:

August 24: Giavotella goes 1-for-4 with an RBI at Boston. The following day Giavotella was given his first day off since his return.

September 1: Giavotella goes 1-for-3 with an RBI against Minnesota. Giavotella would then sit out the next two games.

September 5: Giavotella goes 1-for-4 against the Rangers. The following game Giavotella would not play.

September 20: Giavotella goes 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI against the White Sox. Giavotella would then sit out back to back games.

September 28: Giavotella goes 1-for-4 at Cleveland. Tonight he is not in the lineup.

For an organization that prides itself (even though they've have nothing to show for it) on player development, they don't appear to be trying to put Giavotella in the best position to succeed. Giavotella is a guy that is going to either start at second, or not be in the Major Leagues. He doesn't fit as a utility player. The Royals should have used two and a half months to start Giavotella 90% time. 

Giavotella has always been a slow starter and taken a few months to adjust to a new level. Ideally, those months should have already occurred and I fear that Giavotella has missed the small opportunity that the Royals actually granted him.

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