Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has epitomized streaky throughout his career. But this year, fans saw much more bad than good. If things don’t improve significantly at the plate for Moustakas, he may be handed a one way ticket for a bus leading to Triple-A Omaha. There are numerous prospects and other players waiting for their chance to shine, and if Moustakas can’t turn things around, one of them may get their chance in 2014.
Moose was downright horrible at the plate this year until Pedro Grifol arrived in late May. From then on, Moustakas showed slow, consistent improvement until the final month of the season. Moustakas began the year by looking clueless in the batter’s box, hitting just .195 in April and .171 in May. After Grifol’s arrival, Moustakas looked far more confident at the plate. Moose hit .274 in June, .267 in July and .301 in August.
While it’s encouraging to see the Moose and Pedro getting extra time together in Winter League ball, Moustakas has yet to prove his worth in clutch situations. He shrank in September, as the team was in the midst of a wild card chase and offensive production was desperately needed. Once the team needed him, Moustakas started reaching again and regressed to a .195 average in September.
If Moustakas continues to struggle, he will prove to be too much of a liability for KC to handle. Constantly failing in clutch situations will earn even the most renowned young player a trip to the minors. Moose has a variety of prospects eying his spot as a starter at third base, including last year’s first-round pick, Hunter Dozier. This young infielder showed consistent power while hitting above .300 in both the South Atlantic League and the Rookie Pioneer League this year.
If Dozier or any other candidate shows consistent effectiveness in Spring Training, and Moose fails to find his swing, we may see a big roster shakeup to start the 2014 season.