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Grading The Royals - Infielders

Jul 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Royals beat the Blue Jays 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Jul 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas (8) bats against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Royals beat the Blue Jays 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Back to the classroom, this time with infielders.

In case you missed the previous installment, click here to study up on the catchers.

The infield has been a mixed bag. Some good, some bad. Good on the left, not so good on the right. It's like politics these days... If you're positioning yourself in the middle, you're on an island.

Eric Hosmer
.231/.299/.371, OPS+ 84

There's no way to sugar coat this. No way to look at this line and feel anything positive. Hosmer's 2012 campaign has been a bust.

There's been a ton of speculation and dissection as to why he's performed at a level far below any of us thought he would perform.

Since he took that break in mid-May, he's hit .282/.352/.417 in 182 plate appearances. And his BABIP is .316. This is one of those cases where he dug himself such a deep hole to open the season, it's difficult to notice when he puts together a string of decent performances. Overall, his walks are up and strikeouts are down. His line drive rate of 18.3 percent is barely under where he finished last season. He'll be fine.

Don't get me wrong. There are still problems. Power, for starters. Since getting his OBP back on track, he's hit just 14 extra base hits - 10 doubles and four home runs. He's hitting far too many grounders - 54 percent - for him to take advantage of his power potential.

Yuniesky Betancourt

When Dayton Moore goes on trial for crimes against The Royal Universe, The Yunigma will be exhibits A and B. Seriously, Dayton... Twice? No fan base deserves this.

The "pop" he allegedly brings is in no way offset by what he surrenders with his glove.

Grade: D-

Chris Getz
.290/.327/.380, OPS+ 95

Remember back in spring training when the Royals were talking about Getzie retooling his swing to generate more power? That was the 2012 version of "Billy Butler can steal bases." Although to be fair, he is currently at a career high in slugging. That's because he's hit five doubles and a pair of triples in 100 at bats. For Getz, that does represent a power explosion.

Defensively, he's no great shakes, but he's better than Yuni. Better than Johnny Giavotella, too. Which is why he will get the majority of the playing time over the last half of the season.

I'm not certain I want to admit this here, but I'm beginning to gain a slight appreciation for Getz the ballplayer. Yes, "mistake free" and "plays the right way" makes me want to smash things, but I do appreciate his approach to the game, even if he's not successful. Getz would have value if he were versatile. Or if he was in a stacked lineup that could carry a little light weight toward the bottom. But when your team's offense is scuffling, he's out of place.

Grade: C+

Johnny Giavotella
.217/.260/.261, OPS+ 45

Gio has accumulated 73 plate appearances this year. He was pretty bad. His defense has been dreadful at times, almost to the point where you're nervous when the ball is hit anywhere on the right side. Yet I still want the Royals to give him a fair shake. An opportunity to play everyday. For three months. Yes, the early returns are discouraging, but we're never going to know about Gio when he's in and out of the lineup and getting his plate appearances as a pinch hitter.

It's the frustrating part of The Process. Getz and Betancourt don't figure to be around if when the Royals are competitive. If you have a young player in Triple-A who deserves a look, why not?

Grade: D

Alcides Escobar
.307/.350/.410, OPS+ 109

Anyone who says they saw this kind of offensive explosion coming is a liar.

We can torch GMDM all we want, but getting The SS Jesus in exchange for Greinke was genius. The fact he's under contract for the next six years makes the trade a win. If anyone else develops, it pushes this deal to major win.

We've discussed how the defensive metrics aren't smiling on Escobar, but I'll still take his glove up the middle over anyone not named Brendan Ryan.

Grade: A-

Mike Moustakas
.268/.327/.490, OPS+ 121

Over the first half of the season, the best hitter on the team not named Billy Butler. His 21 doubles and 15 home runs both rank second on the team.

Defensively... My god. His reaction time is outstanding. His movement to the right is insanely good. And his arm has to be one of the best in the league.

The Royals best all around player in the first half.

Grade: A

Irving Falu
.321/.333/.434, OPS+ 110

I really like Falu as a utility guy. He can play all over the field and is steady enough he's not hurting the team with the glove. For a team that pays extreme lip service to versatility, its baffling why they seem to prefer Getz and The Yunigma over Falu. Pick one to be your everyday second baseman, (I prefer Gio.) and keep Falu around to make the spot start anywhere around the diamond. Just the kind of guy who can make a spot start once a week and not hurt the team with his presence in the lineup.

Grade: B