Kansas City Royals 2014 Spring Training Profile: Mike Moustakas

Moustakas

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

If Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is going to be a reliable MLB player, the 2014 season may be his last chance for him to show what he is capable of.

Moustakas was a solid prospect for the Royals, but to this point in his career, he hasn’t delivered the kind of numbers that the Royals have been expecting. In about half a season in 2011 as a rookie, Moustakas hit .269 and delivered a modest five homers and 30 RBIs. These numbers were nothing to go crazy over, but for a player in his first 89 major league games, there was no reason for Royals fans and management not to be excited.

But given a chance to play almost full time throughout 2012 and 2013, Moustakas has been a disappointment. He did hit 20 homers in 2012, but the rest of his numbers were below average, including a .242 batting average, .708 OPS and 124 strikeouts (to just 39 walks).

About the only good news for Moustakas in 2013 was that he did manage to lower his strikeout totals. While he did play 13 fewer games (136 total), he reduced his whiff mark by 41. That’s an impressive sign of improvement in a young player. He only walked 32 times, though, so plate discipline is still an issue. Moustakas hit just .233 and his OPS dropped off to an embarrassing .651.

To be an effective piece of the Kansas City batting order, Moustakas has to either hit for power and thus increase his OPS, drive in runs, get on base more often, or hit for average. The concerning thing about him at this point is that the Royals don’t quite know just what Moustakas is going to bring to the table in 2014.

Improvement has to been seen in one or two major categories on Moustakas’ part for him to still be considered a serious player in Kansas City’s long-term plans, especially as the franchise appears to be turning the corner toward competitiveness in the AL Central.

Ed Morgans is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @writered21 and add him to your network on Google.

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