Nori Aoki will be eligible to return to the Kansas City Royals on July 6, but will his starting position be waiting for him? Jarrod Dyson has played exceptionally well and has catapulted the Royals outfield from arguably the best defensive outfield in Major League Baseball to the stand alone number 1, alongside Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. So, why the platoon?
Just the numbers; Aoki and Dyson
Aoki- .358 BA/.403 OBP/ .448 SLG (BA=Batter’s Average, OBP=On Base Percentage, SLG= Slugging Percentage
Dyson- .211 BA/.250 OBP/ .211 SLG
Aoki- .231 BA/ .301 OBP/ .282 SLG
Dyson- .309 BA/ .364 OBP/ .361 SLG
Dyson clearly has the advantage against right handed pitchers, but Aoki fairs remarkably better against left handed pitchers. The biggest question is, does Dyson’s defense
outweigh the benefits of the offensive numbers. Dyson’s range is almost 3 times that of Aoki’s. Dyson has the ability to cover more ground on pop ups, hits to the gap between right and left field, and reads the ball coming off of the bat better than Aoki. Dyson has started half as many games, yet has almost as many outs recorded as Aoki.
Defensive WAR (DWAR), or defensive wins above replacement, is considered by some to be an overly dramatic representation of a player’s skill on defense, but when you look at the pure numbers, some things jump out at you. Kansas City have 3 players in the top 10 according to DWAR, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Jarrod Dyson, but Gordon and Cain get all of the credit on defense locally, and nationally, and neither are in the top 5. Dyson however, is ranked fifth in DWAR this season in the entire league. That is staggering when you really think about.
Royals manager Ned Yost has a tough decision on his hands, but the Royals seem to be comfortable with a platoon in this situation with Dyson also being used to give Cain a day off here or there in order to protect his legs.