When someone mentions a Kansas City Royals up-and-coming star, the first name that leaps to mind for most is third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has been groomed to be the next great player in Kansas City. But there is another (semi) youngster who is having just as impressive a Spring, and who could end up being just as big, and that’s center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Cain was traded to the Royals in 2010 in the same deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers. He spent a little time in the majors as a late season call-up with the Brewers in 2010, and spent most of 2011 with the Royals’ Triple-A ball club,the Omaha Storm Chasers.
In 2012 Cain again saw some limited action at the major league level, appearing in 61 games and totaling 59 hits, seven homers and 31 RBI. He came into the 2013 Spring camp with high hopes of making the Royals club, and so far he’s proving himself worthy of the job.
Through this week’s games, Cain is boasting a .474 batting average for the Spring, as well as adding in 6 doubles and a homer–helping the Royals to the best record in the Grapefruit league. Of course, wins in Spring Training don’t mean much, but when you are the Royals you celebrate the little victories too.
The Royals have their share of young talent, and even at 26 Cain can still be considered somewhat young, and he could turn out to be the nicest surprise of the bunch. Having always shown great potential since being taken by the Brewers in the 2004 amateur draft, he’s bounced around different minor league organizations, trying to get it all put together.
Based on last season’s stats and his tremendous Spring, it looks as though he’s done it.
Right now Cain is listed first on the Royals’ depth chart at center field, sitting above the man who got most of the 2012 center field starts, Jarrod Dyson. In 102 games last season, Dyson totaled less home runs and RBI than Cain did in his 61 games, and only got 17 more hits. If Cain can stay healthy, not only will the job be his, but he can put up the kind of numbers to rival some of the better center fielders in the game.
The Royals are hoping a lot of their young stars break out in 2013, but I’m not sure Lorenzo Cain was mentioned in that group when Spring Training began. He’s definitely getting mentioned now.