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Vinnie Pasquantino to undergo shoulder surgery, will miss the remainder of the 2023 season

The Royals lose a key bat for the year

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, who has been sidelined since June 10 with a shoulder injury, has been diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He will undergo surgery to repair the injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2023 season, per an announcement from the team.

Pasquantino, 25, had gotten off to a torrid start to the season, producing a line of .298/.383/.539 through May 10, good for a 149 wRC+. His numbers dropped off considerably after that as he hit just .167/.227/.278 for a 35 wRC+ after May 10, including going just 1-21 in June. The shoulder may have played a role in the declining numbers and he was placed on the 10-day injured list on June 10 with what was termed at the time as “right shoulder instability.” After undergoing an MRI, the severity of the injury turned out to be worse than anybody had hoped and Pasquantino will go under the knife as a result.

Nick Pratto appears primed to take the first base job with Pasquantino on the shelf. The pair had been splitting time at the position since Pratto was called up in late April, and he has started every game at first base since Pasquantino hit the IL. Pratto has hit .281/.367/.425 (120 wRC+) in 169 plate appearances since being called up, though with a hefty 34.3% strikeout rate. He also has hit just .230/.320/.349 (85 wRC+) over his last 100 plate appearances, so it’s hardly a given that he can maintain the job all season.

There is no clear alternative to Pratto currently on the 40-man roster. Salvador Perez could see time at first base if the Royals are interested in getting Freddy Fermin more reps behind the plate. Samad Taylor is the only 40-man infielder not currently on the major league roster and he’s hitting well in Triple-A, but his defensive versatility would be better suited away from first base and his bat likely wouldn’t play there anyhow. Non-40-man options currently in Triple-A include:

  • Matt Beaty: Signed by Kansas City to a minor league deal in the offseason, cut before the season, signed by San Francisco, DFA’d, and resigned with Kansas City on a minor league deal just couple days ago. Beaty is a career .249/.319/.403 (95 wRC+) hitter in 608 big league plate appearances.
  • CJ Alexander: Acquired from Atlanta last summer, has big time power with plenty of swing and miss and not a lot of OBP. Alexander is currently hitting .239/.287/.509 in 171 plate appearances in Triple-A.
  • Logan Porter: Has split time between catcher, first base, and DH over the past few seasons. He put up big numbers last year but hasn’t been able to repeat them and is currently hitting .264/.360/.425 in 203 plate appearances in Triple-A.

Losing Pasquantino is a substantial blow to a team currently starved for offense. Kansas City ranks tied for last in the majors in wRC+ (81) and second to last in runs scored (251). Giving the multitude of struggles the team has also suffered on the mound, the Royals desperately need to find some offense somewhere to avoid the ignominious title of most losses in a season in franchise history.