With Jon Jay and Kelvin Herrera having already been traded, and Mike Moustakas almost certainly on the trade block, the season appears lost and in full rebuild mode. That would assume more playing time for younger players like Adalberto Mondesi, but one obstacle has been Alcides Escobar, who has started over 400 games in a row at shortstop.
That streak could be coming to an end, and soon. Manager Ned Yost today signaled that Escobar could find a seat on the bench in favor of Mondesi.
Ned Yost says Mondesi will start to play shortstop a few times a week.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 19, 2018
Shortstop is Mondesi’s natural position, and he has the physical talents to play the position at a high level, although he needs some consistency. Escobar has hit .206/.253/.293 so far this year, and he has the second-lowest wRC+ out of any qualified hitter this year. He has also lost a step defensively, and has ranked among the worst defensive shorstops in baseball, according to Fangraphs.
Escobar is “on board” with sitting, according to Yost, but you could see him pop up at other positions.
Ned says they’ll move Escobar around to some other positions in the infield and even center field. But he’s going to sit, too. They’re moving on from the streak. Escobar is on board.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 19, 2018
Escobar appeared in a handful of games in the outfield his rookie year with the Brewers, the only time in his Major League career he has played anything other than shortstop. He started seven games at second and played a few innings at third as a minor leaguer.
Why the Royals feel compelled to keep his weak bat in the lineup at another position is pretty baffling. Maybe they just mean he’ll be a backup to fill in if they run out of players, but Whit Merrfield and Rosell Herrera already provide a fair amount of positional versatility.
If you are concerned about the streak however, never fear. Alcides Escobar is starting at shortstop tonight for the 406th consecutive time.