Justin Maxwell Earning Backup Role With Kansas City Royals Is Good News
The 58 year-old manager, who now finds himself in control of a winner and on the hot seat, tried to backpedal slightly to make things sound less official, but the cat’s out of the bag. Considering Maxwell’s current streak of outstanding offensive output, it should come as no surprise.
After 43 at-bats in the Cactus League, Maxwell’s average now stands at .419. That ties him with Billy Butler for most ABs with the team so far, and puts Maxwell behind only the Venezuelan Winter League duo of Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez in batting average. In the biggest sample size he could possibly offer us so far, the now-30 journeyman infielder has given management every reason to add him to the 25-man roster.
That regular season roster begins to take shape once you couple this with the announcement that the dominant Yordano Ventura will be the team’s No. 3 starter. A solid and strikingly promising plan is taking shape as the Royals edge closer and closer to Opening Day. One inevitable improvement this year that most fans have already forgotten about is the lack of a struggling Jeff Francoeur in the lineup.
The lovable but recently unproductive Francoeur hit a woeful .208 with a .249 on-base percentage for KC last year. This season, the vast majority of those 183 at-bats will go to the team’s prototype leadoff man in Norichika Aoki and the aforementioned Maxwell. While they surely miss Frenchy in the clubhouse, nobody misses that glaring weakness in the lineup.