It's pretty much inevitable.
Stranger things have happened, but the reality is that Chris Getz is the heavy favorite to break camp as the Royals' starting second basemen again this April. Sure, there will be mention of 'if Johnny Giavotella can hit enough' and 'what if Miguel Tejeda comes back as 2006 Miguel Tejeda?'. All talk.
Chris Getz will be the Royals' second baseman.
Like many things associated with Kansas City's upcoming season, if enough other things go right, the Royals can live with Getz at second. Eric Hosmer has to hit, Jeff Francoeur has to be better, Lorenzo Cain needs to be healthy...you all know the list.
Of the 289 players who have compiled 750 plate appearances or more over the last three seasons, Getz ranks:
- 285th in slugging percentage (.301)
- Tied for last in home runs (0 - tied with Ben Revere)
- 288th in isolated power (.047 - sandwiched between Revere and Juan Pierre)
- 281st in wOBA
- 231st in on-base percentage
- 250th in fWAR
Not exactly a glowing statistical resume, but we all know the powers that be have an almost crazy disdain for those 'numbers'. To the point, in fact, where I am pretty certain they assume there is some firewall on Fangraphs that keeps anyone that has played or seen a baseball game from logging in. To that end, Chris Getz - stop right there - Gritty Mistake Free Chris Getz is one of the organization's poster children for the old school approach they take to player evaluation. Just ask Lee Judge, we simply don't have the ability or the baseball acumen to analyze or even realize all the things Chris Getz does on a baseball field.
Instead of relating to one of the most attentive and knowledgeable sectors of their fan base in a logical and respectful way, the Royals instead belittle the talk of 'new fangled statistics' and force feed absolute lunacy to the masses. Listen, Chris Getz is a solid fundamental player who generally is where he should be and, particularly in 2012, makes good decisions when he is there. The problem is that Getz is not a particularly talented player. He may be the best option for Kansas City to start the 2013 season, but stop force feeding us the company line that 'we just don't understand how good Chris Getz is as a player.'
All the random oddities that spew forth from the rather clumsy public persona of the Kansas City Royals tends to distract us from the fact that Chris Getz was somewhat better in 2012.
After slugging just .277 and .287 in his first two years with the team, Getz slugged a beefy for him .360 in 2012 thanks to a revised batting stance. While we laughed at Ned Yost telling us that 'Getzie has more power this spring, you just might not see evidence of it on the field', it actually ended up being true. To get back on my public relations diatribe for just a second: why say something goofy like that, when one could just as easily say 'Hey, Getz needs to hit with more authority. He has changed his stance and his approach, we think he will end up hitting more doubles.'
Anyway, the added power did not detract from Getz's on-base percentage (although it still was not good - just .313) and his strikeout rate was down (although his walk rate decreased as well). All in all, it was improvement in an area that desperately needed it. Enough to make Getz a viable everyday regular? I don't know, but a step in that direction.
Getz does bring good baserunning and good base stealing (45 of 57 steals over three years) to the table. He plays average, not great, defense: a statement based on statistical data, but also on my own basement dwelling impaired eyesight. Although cringe at it, Getz can bunt and handle the bat. Those are good skills to have and Getz does not deserve criticism for having them just because his manager has a sick addiction to overuse of said skills.
I have written said this a 100 times: if Getz could play short and third, I would have zero problem with him getting 200 plate appearances a season as the Royals primary utility infielder. The problem, as we all know, is that Getz is basically the Royals' STARTING second basemen.
In that capacity, Getz does not hit enough. In 2012, among players who spent time at second base and garnered more than 200 plate appearances (albeit not all of them may have been at second), Chris Getz ranked as follows:
- 32nd in slugging percentage
- 30th in on-base percentage
- 13th in batting average (threw that in for Ryan and Rex)
- 41st in isolated power
- 30th in wOBA
- 37th in fWAR
Yet here we are facing the inevitable.
We know the Royals really don't believe in Johnny Giavotella (I'm not sure I do anymore, either) and if you don't think Giavotella can play in the majors, what has Christian Colon done in the minors to make you think he can, either? They have signed Miguel Tejeda, a shell of his once powerful self, who posted a .259/.325/.296 line in AAA last year.
So yeah, Chris Getz might be the Royals' best option to start the year. Heck, they can even win with Getz at second every day....if a number of other things go right. The list of things that have to go right for Kansas City to contend in 2013 is long and Chris Getz does nothing to make it shorter.