Can Jarrod Dyson Get On-Base Enough to Be Productive?

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 12: Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Kansas City Royals leaves the field after striking out while facing the Chicago White Sox in the sixth inning of their MLB game at U.S. Cellular Field on May 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

With three walks yesterday, Jarrod Dyson nearly doubled his season total, and pushed his OBP up to .375. His season line, in 72 PAs, is .306/.375/.355.Two days ago, he had three walks total. So, progress. Progress and White Sox pitching.

I'm of two-minds regarding Dyson. At a more emotional level, I'm happy for him. He's a 50th round pick and looks almost physically vulnerable at the plate. The only other player from his neighborhood of the draft to make the big leagues is Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks, who was taken in the 49th round. He's faced long odds just to make the Major Leagues and I'm happy that he's gotten some playing time and some Major League minimum checks over the last three seasons. (To be sure, he's gotten a boost by glint of the fact that he fits our GM's platonic ideal of a CF/leadoff hitter, but still, 50th round.)

As a wannabe analyst who basically spends his days staring at baseball-reference tables, I've never loved Dyson. His composite line in AAA (659 PAs) is .282/.348/.367 which just doesn't suggest real Major League viability as a hitter. When he was coming up in the minors, he was a contemporary of two highly similar players, Hilton Richardson and Derrick Robinson, which further minimized him in my mind. Despite a reputation as one of the fastest players in the game, he's only 3 for 5 in stolen base attempts. He pretty visibly takes non-optimal routes to the ball in centerfield, but he also is quite fast.

I wish the Royals wouldn't try so damn hard regarding baserunning, especially with Dyson. If they just let him focus on going from first to third and matters like that, he'd probably still be able to make a positive impact. But again, I'm sure sometime this week, Yost will tell him to steal two bases at once. Moreover, while OBP is life and is the key stat to look at, power counts too, and Dyson's never going to hit for power. He never even seems to manage any legged out doubles.

Still, on this rainy morning (for me) dude's got a .375 OBP, he's probably a slightly net positive defensive player in CF and the range is especially valuable playing in between two arm-first corner OFs. One of Dayton Moore's weirdest fixations is his perpetual need for a new CF, which has gone back to his very first days on the job, when he acquired Joey Gathright. David DeJesus was never good enough, never superficially fast enough, never enough of a slap hitter, and in the last six years we've had some truly amazing names in center for the Royals: Josh Anderson, Ryan Freel, Gregor Blanco, Dick Ankiel, Willie Bloomquist, Scotty Pods, Melky Cabrera, MITCH, Shane Costa, Coco Crisp, Lorenzo Cain, Jason Bourgeois, etc. Some of those guys weren't even bad. But the sheer amount of churn speaks to some gnawing, unfulfilled desire. Last week it was rumored that the Royals were inquiring about that other Bourjous, the one who plays for the Angels. (There's only one way this can end, of course, which is with Yuni playing centerfield.) Dyson's the latest expression, and right now he has a .375 OBP.

Carry on with your day.

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