This morning, Bob Dutton tweeted the following:
Royals_Report) June 13, 2013
Back in the halcyon days of the Best Farm System Ever, Cuthbert hit his way to prospect darling status with a strong start to his 2011 campaign. The last half of that season saw his stock plummet, but the whispers of many in the know possibly attributing his struggles to wearing down as full-season ball had its way with him. As an 18-year-old in his first taste of full-season ball, he managed a respectable.267/.345/.397 line over 81 games with 22 extra-base hits in 300 at-bats. He walked at a 10.5% clip, had a .345 wOBA and a 114 wRC+. His impressive start to the season was still enough to find Cheslor Cuthbert ranked 84th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list heading into the 2012 season.
Then came 2012. If 2012 was unkind to the Major League club and its franchise cornerstones Mike Moustakas and especially Eric Hosmer, it was damn near sadistic to Cuthbert, who was said to look lethargic in the field and was positively putrid at the plate as he made the transition to the notoriously hitter-unfriendly confines of Wilmington, DE, and the Royals high-A affiliate. He triple-slashed .240/.296/.322 in a full season as an overmatched 19-year-old, collecting just 25 extra-base hits in 517 plate appearances. Looking at things in a more advanced way, his wOBA (.285), wRC+ (73) and walk-rate (7.2%) were discouraging to put it mildly. Anyone hoping for Cuthbert to realize his potential was placing a whole lot of hope in two months worth of solid play in the Midwest League.
As a 20-year-old in his third season of full-season ball, the Royals kept Cuthbert down in Wilmington to start this season. His line has been much more akin to what he did in 2011. Through the first 60 games of the season, Cuthbert hit .280/.354/.418 with 25 XBH in 225 AB, managed a .354 wOBA and 116 wRC+, and increased his walk-rate back to 10.4%.
It's hard to know exactly what Cuthbert is. A more prudent approach might be to temper expectations and look at the entire picture rather than a nice stretch to start his first season of full-season ball. Regardless, the time to promote Cuthbert to Northwest Arkansas was probably now.
Hopefully, he hits .500 for the next month with a .900 SLG, and they'll finally send Moustakas down to find himself in the West, even if it means taking the route that Kwai Chang Caine took.