The Kansas City Royals are planning play a very inexperienced battery on Sunday in their series finale against the Cleveland Indians. Ned Yost‘s current plan is to give an MLB debut to highly touted young pitcher Jake Odorizzi (rated the Royals’ number three prospect and thirtieth amongst all clubs) and a Royals debut his AAA battery mate, catcher Adam Moore. (Moore does have a very limited amount of big league experience with the Seattle Mariners as shown above.)
It is an interesting decision. Whilst Odorizzi has been expected to come up to the majors for some time and is also expected to at the very least compete for a roster spot next year, Moore is a rather different case. The Royals’ everyday catcher for the foreseeable future will certainly be Salvador Perez and there seems little opportunity to get around him as Perez has some truly phenomenal numbers. He missed half of this season with injury and yet still leads major league catchers in pickoffs with five. He has also set the Royals record for career pickoffs by a catcher (eight) in just over one hundred games. (For reference, the previous record was set in almost five hundred.) So it would seem on the face of it to perhaps be a better idea to introduce Odorizzi to Perez now as the Royals certainly hope that it will be Odorizzi pitching to Perez for some time.
But, as is so often the case, it isn’t quite that simple. First and foremost is the fact that Perez has a pair of sore hands. (He has taken foul balls off both of his hands during this past week.) He could play, but Yost wants to rest him until the Royals have their important games next week against the Detroit Tigers. That is a fairly strong deterrent, but not an insurmountable one. But it was hinted that Moore would catch Odorizzi before it was announced that Perez was injured so although Perez’s injury may have made the decision an easy one, it seems like it was probably not the main factor.
Instead, it looks like Yost simply wants one thing to be familiar for Odorizzi in his major league debut. Whilst there is some logic to this, it’s nice to ease him in, I’m not sure I agree. Odorizzi may not have seen Perez before in the minor leagues (he has come up through the Royals system quite quickly) but he has certainly seen a few different catchers already and has actually only been at AAA for part of this season. I would play Moore in the end, but only because Perez should rest. Otherwise I would have Perez catch Odorizzi now and I certainly hope that he does next week.