One of the lower profile trade pick-ups of 2013 was the Kansas City Royals grabbing Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros. At the time it seemed like the Royals were simply trying to add bodies in the outfield that they had struggled with all season long, not looking for someone to permanently be an option out there. Maxwell tripled his run production from earlier in the season with the Astros however and left a big impact on the Royals.
The big question going into 2014 spring training is whether or not Maxwell can pick up where he left off in 2013 and keep the momentum going. I doubt very seriously that anyone would pick Maxwell as a sure-thing all-star but at the same time he could well provide a solid outfield production that they lacked at the beginning of last season.
As young as he may look, Maxwell is going to be 31 years old this upcoming MLB season. His time as a professional has mainly been spent bouncing back and forth for years from the minors to the majors and back again. What he did last season, specifically during his time with the Royals suggests that he has finally found his grove and is ready to produce.
At worst the Royals are looking at a guy who can be a very successful bench bat and role player in the outfield situation. At best however, they could have a more productive outfielder in Maxwell than they ever thought possible when they picked him up late in 2013. We’ll know which way it will go fairly early during the season.