If there is one thing the KC Front office likes it is speedsters. Whether it is Scott Podsednik or Joey Gathright down to Jarrod Dyson and Hilton Richardson the Royals under the Dayton Moore regime love them some speedsters and where do those guys play? Centerfield of course, so lets take a look at what KCs system has to offer currently at that position.
David Lough- Lough is probably the least "speedy" of the group but offers the best overall tool set. While he ultimately is the best overall prospect of all the players listed in this group he won't get all the exposure that he should in Center field when Dyson becomes healthy. I think he can be an above average defensive centerfielder as well as hit for a decent average with some average pop. He needs to become more patient at the plate and control the strike zone better though. AAA will be a good test for him as he'll see more breaking pitches and plenty of junk balling lefties. He has had a lot more trouble making contact than I anticipated but that could be due to his impatience at the plate, it's definitely not for a lack of bat speed. He's off to nice start versus lefties going 4 for 10 with a double and his only walk.
Stats thru April 12 .250/.280/.417 1 HR 1-7 BB/So
Jarrod Dyson on the DL
Jose Duarte- Another speedster Duarte has previously been profiled as having the best arm in the Royals minor league system and being the best outfielder in the system. Duarte is nothing more than minor league filler despite being an excellent defensive outfielder as he has little pop with the bat. Actually on a deep team with a solid 9 he could be a good pinch runner/defensive substitute but in and on the KC roster he is nothing more than a 4th outfielder in the minors.
Stats thru Apr 12 .250/.250/.250 0-2 BB/So
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Derrick Robinson- Robinson has parlayed his late season success in '09 to a decent start in 2010. Everyone knows about Robinson's blazing speed but he also has decent plate discipline. He changed his batting stance last season and that success is carrying over this season with 4 extra base hits out of his first 7 hits. I'm not a believer in Robinson but hopefully he'll prove me and a few others wrong. His speed doesn't fully translate onto the base paths as he as almost as good at getting picked off as he is at stealing. This season will be interesting as Dyson has seemed to squeak ahead of Robinson with the FO but a turn around season by Derrick might change things for him.
Stats thru Apr 12 .333/.391/.619 2-2b 2-3b 2-3 BB/So 2 Sb 2 picked off
Wilmington Blue Rocks
Patrick Norris- Not much needs to be said about Patrick Norris so far. He is a definite speedster but looks to be completely overwhelmed at High A. He is another Royals speedster as evident with his 45 stolen bases at single A ball last season but like the others besides Lough lacks any true pop. 12 strikeouts in 23 abs with 3 singles isn't a good sign for Norris.
Stats thru Apr 12 23 ABs .130/.200/.130 2-12 BB/So 1 SB
Hilton Richardson- Richardson like Lough could be more than just a one trick pony that Norris, Duarte, Dyson and Robinson might be. Richardson has a thick body with plenty of muscle but I don't like his crouching hitting approach. He is a good bunter which will earn him alot of praise in the FO but he should have some more pop in that bat than his line drive swing allows. He does have a patient approach at the plate and works the count well but I think long term he is going to have to modify his stance and swing.
Stats thru Apr 12 .250/.348/.250 3-5 BB/So 2 SB
Overall this position is actually somewhat a position of strength for the Royals. While there are quite a few light hitters here there are also a couple 4th OF types and pinch runners. I think Lough is the only legit starter in this group unless Richardson can modify his stance to take advantage of his strength. Dyson and Robinson could turn into 4th OF options though which considering the overall weakness of positional players in the system isn't half bad.