Friday, February 28, 2014

Breakout on the Horizon

I won't be shy about my feelings regarding the Royals off-season. I love the trade for Nori Aoki and the signing of Omar Infante. I'm really looking forward to watching these two at the top of the order in 2014. 

I've made no secret that I think Aoki is going to be a breakout performer in 2014. I look at his batted ball frequencies and I get giddy thinking about the BABIP he could post this season. When I think about how beneficial Kauffman Stadium is for batting average and gap hitters, I get even more excited.

I couldn't be more relieved that the Royals didn't bring in a lumbering "power" bat to fill the right field hole. I was dreading the announcement of a Mark Trumbo acquisition. Entering the off-season an Aoki type player was exactly the guy that I would have targeted and I'm ecstatic to see that the Royals played it out this way. 

The decision to acquire a player like Aoki gives me faith that the Royals have finally embraced Kauffman Stadium. Instead of slow corner outfielders who can "knock in" base runners, they have realized the importance of outfielders that can cover ground in the spacious Kauffman outfield. Aoki, who is an excellent corner outfielder as a defender, should post some excellent defensive numbers for the Royals this season.

When you consider the defensive value and the fact that he is constantly putting pressure on defenses, Aoki was a savvy acquisition by the Royals brass this off-season. I've said this on Twitter, but I think Aoki will hit .310+ this season with 30+ doubles. If it turns out that the Royals have added that kind of hitter to the top of the lineup, the summer of 2014 could be a special one for Kansas City.

Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams!

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