2013 Season Review: SS and 3B

USA TODAY Sports

In breaking news, the non-Hosmer part of the Royals infield could not hit last season.

We're moving on to the left side of the infield today in our recap of the 2013 Royals. For those hoping to see some better offensive numbers we saw at second base, prepare to be disappointed.

Mike Moustakas: After three seasons in the majors, Moustakas appears to be an all-glove/no-bat player. Just like everyone predicted.

The third baseman's bat took a step back in 2013. He did post a very low BABIP, but there is enough evidence to suggest that Moose will not consistently post a high BABIP unless he changes his approach.

Not everyone here is a sabermagician, so if you don't know the meaning for one of the statistics used or just want some context for it, click on the statistical category. It should take you to an explanation, occasionally long-winded, of the specific stat.

PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K%
514 .233 .287 .364 6.2% 16.1%
BABIP ISO woBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
.257 .131 .287 77 1.1 -.1

Moustakas has a career .274 BABIP, so his 2013 campaign is not completely out of place. He continues to pop-out an alarming rate; his 16.6% infield fly-ball rate was the lowest of his career, but it was still the fifth-highest infield fly-ball percentage in MLB. It's difficult to sustain a high batting average when you have popped-out almost 1/5 of the time you have made contact during your career.

The 25-year-old has not shown the power potential that made him one of the top prospects in the Royals farm system a few years ago. His .131 ISO left him tied for 104th-highest in the majors among qualified hitters.

Moustakas' defensive numbers were more of a mixed bag this season after posting eye-popping numbers last year.

GS UZR FRAA TZ RAA DRS RAA dWAR
126 7.6 3.4 -3 -3 .1

There were some concerns about Moose's defense when he first came to the league, but he has alleviated those concerns. He has shown that he can be an asset at the hot corner, but last season's stats were probably an outlier. Moustakas still projects as an above-average defender next season.

After 1493 career at-bats, it may be time to accept that Moustakas is a platoon player (although his career wRC+ against right-handed pitching is 90) and find a right-handed hitter who can compliment him at third.

Alcides Escobar: Compared to Escobar, however, Moustakas deserves a Silver Slugger. After experiencing a nice BABIP-fueled 2012 offensive campaign that nearly reached league-average, Escobar completely collapsed in 2013:

PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K%
642 .234 .259 ..300 3.0% 13.1%
BABIP BsR woBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
.264 8.0 .247 49 1.1 .3

Escobar's .259 OBP was the worst in major-league baseball among qualified hitters. Esbocar's 49 wRC+ was also the worst in the majors among qualified hitters. Ned Yost decided to hit Escobar second in the lineup multiple times during the season.

There's almost no chance that Escobar is this bad in 2014, but the Royals need to have a contingency plan if he continues to be an almost automatic out. It should be noted that he swiped 22 bags without being caught stealing, which is impressive.

The shortstop kept his season from being a complete disaster by posting strong defensive numbers at an important position.

GS UZR FRAA TZ RAA DRS RAA dWAR
156 10.9 -1.5 4 4 1.4

It's comforting to see Escobar's defensive statistics bounce-back after strangely low numbers in 2012. He played somewhere between above-average to great defense, depending on your preferred metric of choice. I'm not sure Escobar is going to grab a Gold Glove during his career, but he should keep himself in the conversation.

Escobar will only make $3 million next season, which increases his value on a budget-conscious team. He should start at shortstop next year as long as he isn't a complete liability at the plate, but his offensive inability keeps his ceiling low.

Miguel Tejada: I already wrote 1000+ words on some of the story lines that emerged from Tejada's suspension, and don't really think they need to be re-visited.

Tejada's signing didn't make a lot of sense at the time, and it doesn't make a lot of sense in retrospect. The veteran certainly didn't hurt the Royals, but he didn't contribute much at the plate.

PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K%
167 .288 .317 .378 3.6% 15.0%
BABIP BsR woBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
.326 1.0 .305 88 .4 .5

Tejada seemed to contribute well early in the season when he only played once a week, but struggled later in the year when the Royals started to play him more often. His defensive statistics suggest he was competent if uninspiring in the field, but the sample is too small to make any sweeping claim.

GS UZR FRAA TZ RAA DRS RAA dWAR
22 -1.3 -1.8 -6 1 .3

The infielder provided the team with veteran leadership before an injury and suspension finished his season, but had little impact on the Royals record. Hopefully the Royals can fill his bench spot with a more productive player in 2014, but the Tejada era was mostly a wash.

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