In the second installment of a series looking at the Kansas City Royals 40-man roster and beyond, we analyze the depth at first base. This is not an issue that came up much during the season, but interleague play and late injures did force the Royals into some very odd arrangements.
Eric Hosmer – Hosmer was the Royals’ everyday first baseman this year until the last week of the season, when he went down with a shoulder injury. Even having a poor season with the bat, his glovework was incredible and there was never any hint that he would lose his place in the starting IX. He is expected to be back fully fit next year and should once again play almost everyday.
Billy Butler – Butler is the everyday DH, but started out at first base and is the main choice to fill in on days when Hosmer needs a break. He is a significant downgrade with the glove, but he also tends to feature at first base during games in National League ballparks where his bat is preferred to Hosmer’s glove.
Clint Robinson – Hosmer and Butler cover the Royals’ needs almost entirely, but if one of them goes on the DL, the likely callup is Robinson. Robinson is currently the first baseman at AAA Omaha and has decent numbers. He has also been a fixture at Spring Training for a couple of years and got four at bats with the Royals this summer. With his long term path blocked, however, he could be traded.
Brayan Peña – An injury to Hosmer that causes him to leave during a game puts the Royals in a tricky position. With Robinson at AAA, the Royals would be in a position of having to take Butler out of the DH role to play first and go the rest of the game without a DH. Whilst I, not being a fan of the DH, am quite happy with that it is hardly an ideal situation. Peña, however, provides a solution as an emergency first baseman. This has actually already happened twice in 2012 and very much appears to be the plan of Ned Yost.