It seems that every spring, injuries are nearly unavoidable for every club. This year, Jarrod Dyson was the first to be bitten by the injury bug. As he was running out a ground ball, Dyson appeared to have a slight limp. It was announced during the game that he’d been laced with a strained oblique, potentially sidelining him for up to four weeks and expected to miss at least two weeks. With the speedster out, this gives guys like Brett Eibner, Bubba Starling, and Travis Snider a chance to show off their skills while Dyson heals.
With Opening Night coming on April 3rd, there’s absolutely no point in having Dyson play at all during Spring Training, and it might even be a good idea to start him on the 15-day DL. The Royals’ outfielder was going to get a substantially greater amount of playing time than last season, thanks to the departure of Alex Rios. In 2015, Dyson played 90 games, stole 26 bases, and hit .250/.311/.380 with two home runs. In the field, he had eight outfield assists, four that came from center field, and four that came from left field.
Should Dyson miss any regular season time, there are plenty of guys who are willing and able to fill his position. A prime candidate for that spot is Paulo Orlando. Orlando was said at the beginning of camp to be Dyson’s main platoon partner. Orlando is a very average player, and would need someone else to fill in, as he cannot play everyday. In 86 games last year, Paulo Orlando hit .249/.269/.444 with seven homers. His outfield numbers aren’t too eye popping either. He had five outfield assists, with four errors. He did not walk once after the All-Star Break.
Brett Eibner would be another right-handed candidate. Last year for Omaha, Eibner posted a .303/.364/.514 line, with 19 home runs and 10 stolen bases in the 103 games that he played for the Stormchasers. Eibner had eight outfield assists, and only made three errors. He has been in the system since 2011. He can play any of the three outfield spots.
Another is Bubba Starling. The Royals first round draft pick in 2011 has progressed well, but is still not quite ready. He ended last year in Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he only hit .254. Said to have been MLB-ready defensively for a while now, his bat needs a little bit of work before being ready to face Major League pitchers.
On the flip side, you have left-handed hitting Travis Snider. Recently, Snider played four seasons with the Pirates, including a brief stay in Baltimore. There is little to say for Snider. In his eight years on three different clubs, he’s posted a .244/.311/.399 line, with 54 career home runs. He has thrown out 31 guys in his eight seasons, which is about the average total of assists that Alex Gordon has in one year. He is a former top prospect for the Jays, who once refused to include him in a deal for Zack Greinke.
Logically, the two best guys should get the spot. Eibner was a long shot to make the roster before this injury, but now becomes an intriguing option. He and Orlando are the best available, but since they are both right-handed hitters, only one of them will make the cut. Out of the two, Eibner would make more sense, even though Orlando has proved that he can handle himself in the big leagues. Either one of them would do a fine job of filling in while Jarrod Dyson recovers. For a left-handed option, Snider, who is a seasoned veteran, might not be quite what the team is looking for, but will get the job done. He probably makes the team even if they carry five outfielders. Starling, who is still very young, isn’t ready to see Major League pitchers at the current moment.
There is no need to rush Dyson back. With four other outfielders, and still a month of Spring Training left to go, Dyson’s injury obviously won’t impact the team as much as it would during the regular season. If the team was smart, they would even put Dyson on the 15-day DL to ensure that his oblique injury doesn’t nag him for the rest of the season.
Follow us on Twitter: @KCSportsNation
Like us on Facebook
Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahDInKC