Mar 16, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) is congratulated after scoring during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
Lorenzo Cain's strong Spring Training performance was one of the few good stories of the off-season for the Royals, especially on the field. Cain ended up hitting .377/.449/.754 in near-constant Arizona action, all while presumably playing the kind of pristine defense expected of him. In 77 PAs Cain hit 5 HRs and added 11 2Bs.
We've had versions of this discussion before, but after the last month's performance from both Cain (good) and those around him (generally bad) along with a dash of "hey this guy's a semi-prospect and we traded for him and he hasn't failed yet" optimism, this is, perhaps, the Lorenzo Cain moment.
Last year in AAA, Cain hit well enough to earn a callup, but there wasn't a place to play him. Cain hit . 312/.380/.497. The additional power was a nice supplement to his game, especially after rather punchless 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 3107 Major League PAs, Cain owns a .295/.368/.430 line.
So now it is fully his time, his turn. He's headed into his age 26 season and is the athletic CF Dayton Moore has spent over half a decade trying to insert into the middle of the outfield. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are the icons of the team's rise to
contention, prominence, relevance, being on Baseball Tonight every third day future shersey sales, but Cain might be ready to have the most productive 2012. Hosmer and Moose aren't likely to contribute much defensively and in Hosmer's case have stiff competition offensively at their position.
The Melky Cabrera interregnum was odd when it began and figures to be odd in retrospect as well. Unless, that is, Cain falters.