Kansas City Royals newcomer Danny Valencia commemorated his first in-game action as a Royal with his first home run as a Royal. It sure didn’t take him long to make a good impression.
A previous article of mine details the ups and downs of Valencia’s career so far. However, since the possibility for failure still looms large for Mike Moustakas this year, Valencia’s potential output deserves a closer look. Steady production could yield Valencia steady playing time, especially if Moose fails to turn things around quickly.
It doesn’t take long to find something to be optimistic about on Valencia’s latest stat sheets. His most recent numbers could even inspire excitement if you could ignore the meager sample size — Valencia recorded a .611 average in his five total games played during August of last year. He was then able to follow that stint of greatness with a .329 average through 73 September at-bats.
Valencia’s 162 game average for doubles already sits at 32. With the long alleys of Kauffman Stadium, that could translate to Valencia giving the team 15 or more doubles while playing in less than half the games this year.
Also, according to my probably-accurate prediction of the Opening Day lineup, Valencia will often be sandwiched between two emerging hitters. Both Lorenzo Cain (if he can stay off the DL) and Salvador Perez could have breakout performances in 2014, which would make Valencia more offensively effective in every way possible.
All in all, the Royals are looking at some remarkable projected contributions from what they hope to be a backup infielder.