by John Viril—
Today the Royals tinkered with 1B Eric Hosmer in right field. While many might dismiss this as an insignificant spring training experiment, I see it as a clue to the club’s thinking heading into the regular season. In short, the brain trust is more concerned than they are letting on about Jeff Francoeur repeating last season’s dismal performance.
Throughout his career, Francoeur has shown a strong platoon split. The right handed hitting Francoeur mashes lefties and is barely replacement level vs. right handers (.702 OPS vs RHP compared to .820 vs. LHP). Even if Francoeur struggles once again, he is still likely to be useful against left-handed pitching. The left-handed hitting Hosmer would be a viable platoon candidate for Francoeur, if the first baseman can handle RF.
Presumably, manager Ned Yost would then play DH Billy Butler at first base and use a left-handed bench player at DH. Current left-handed bench bats include reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson, utility infi...