Danny Valencia has provided serviceable offensive production this year for the Kansas City Royals, especially when compared to the guy he replaced. His .262/.319/.369 line won’t get him many All-Star votes, but it places him in the better half of hitters on this offensively weak club. Will his marginal success so far be enough to hold down the job for the rest of the season?
Valencia is, was, and probably always will be an expert against lefties, but his success against lefties is matched by his problems with right-handed pitching. Over his career, Valencia hits .230 against right-handed pitchers and .328 against lefties. A left/right split of .314/.231 indicates that this won’t change any time soon. This means his role as a starting third baseman against lefty starters isn’t in jeopardy. Yet. Probably.
I’ve written before about the possibility of Johnny Giavotella taking Mike Moustakas‘ place at third base, which comes with a lot of ifs and caveats. I only bring that option up because of the current ineptitude from replacement Royals Jimmy Paredes and Pedro Ciriaco, who have filled in for injured infielders throughout the year.
Picking up a free agent before or during the All-Star break is always possible, but fans shouldn’t expect the Royals to shell out big dough on a big-name, mid-season move. Nobody in Omaha is blowing scouts away, so there’s really no clear path for the Royals at this position. I hear the three people shouting about Moose hitting well in Omaha right now, but I need to see him completely dominate AAA pitching before he comes back to the bigs. As they say, trust is easy to lose and hard to earn back.