Found July 19, 2012 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
For most of 2011, the Royals and their fans figured they had one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball in Alcides Escobar. They also figured they had a light-hitting shortstop, a fact they were willing to live with. As it turns out, the Royals and their fans won't have to live with the latter anymore. Escobar, 26, has emerged as an offensive weapon, so much so that skipper Ned Yost has implanted Escobar in the No. 2 spot in the order, where he may have found a home for years to come. I don't think there's a better shortstop around, teammate Eric Hosmer said. Defensively he's the best shortstop. I have no doubt about that. He's got the best arm and the best range. And now he's doing things offensively we kind of knew he could do. Escobar hit just .254 last year in his first season with the Royals and, at times, he looked worse offensively than the numbers suggested. For much of the first half in 2011, Escobar had trouble hitting the ball out of the infield. He seemed overmatched. Not anymore. Escobar has arrived offensively, now hitting. 309 and already matching a career high with 21 doubles and four homers. It's all a far cry from 2011 when Royals fans and talk-show hosts were repeatedly angered when Yost refused to pinch-hit for Escobar in crucial situations, even though Escobar failed time and time again. He's got to learn, Yost said often in 2011. Someday he's going to be expected to produce in those situations and he's never going to if he doesn't get exposed to it and learn. That some day is now. I give (Yost) all the credit for sticking with me during those times, Escobar said. I got to learn a lot. I feel more confident now. But that wouldn't have happened if not for (Yost). Escobar also credits hitting coach Kevin Seitzer for the massive turnaround. We work very hard, every day, Escobar said. Seitzer said a few mechanical flaws were the culprits. I think the big adjustment he worked with was the loop he had in his swing last year, Seitzer said. We've done a lot of drills to get him to come down and through the ball. When he has gotten too big with this swing, that's when he gets pull happy and then some bad things happen. But when he stays to the middle of the field, he's got such good hands he can be that .300 hitter, though I don't like to label guys. And sometimes when he goes to load up, he'll crouch, and that makes him more uphill. We've tried to keep him taller at the plate and that keeps him more level. Seitzer practically beams when he discusses Escobar's progress at the plate. He's been great, Seitzer said. I don't know what his ceiling is. I thought last year he could hit .280 or .290. He's proving me wrong. He doesn't have a ceiling right now. He can go as high offensively as he wants. Escobar himself isn't setting any limitations. But he's certain that his lofty average this season is no accident. I think I am a .300 hitter, he said. I hit .300 before in the minor leagues. I know I can do that when I get enough at bats. Last year was my first year in the American League and I learned a lot. Escobar also should project to be a player who steals 25-30 bases. Maybe he even turns into a 15-20 homer guy. He has a solid build and is strong in his upper body, much more than fans may see on television. I'm not looking for home runs, he said. I'm looking for base hits. I'm not a 20-homer guy I don't think. I could hit 10 homers, maybe 15. But I'm looking for hits not home runs. Escobar has settled in comfortably as the team's No. 2 hitter, though he knows he still has work to do. He has drawn only 15 walks over 327 at bats, not acceptable for a table setter. I will get better at that, he said. But I like to hit second. I'm in front of Hosmer and Billy Butler and I see a lot of good pitches. I hit a lot of fastballs. The rest will come. And actually, it's all happening quickly for Escobar, who has Hosmer suggested, might just be the best overall shortstop around. Escobar, though, remains humble at that notion. I'm playing good but you have (Asdrubal) Cabrera and Elvis Andrus and (Yunel) Escobar, he said. They can hit and play. You have Derek Jeter, a Hall of Famer. There are a lot of good players at shortstop. Right now, hopefully, I 'm one of them.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Wil Myers Promotion, Jeff Francoeur trade on the Horizon in Kansas City?

Jim Bowden of ESPN is reporting that the Kansas City Royals are in talks to trade RF Jeff Francoeur to the Cleveland Indians or the Cincinnati Reds. The article is part of the ESPN Insider subscription, so you must be a member to read it. The Royals motives behind the shopping of Jeff Francouer - The promotion of phenom OF Wil Myers to Kansas City from triple-A Omaha Storm...

Jason Kendall a member of the Royals once again

The Kansas City Royals have signed catcher Jason Kendall to a minor league contract Thursday morning. Kendall has been assigned to the double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Kendal spent 2010 and 2011 as a member of the Royals, but missed the end of the 2010 season and the entire 2011 season due to a shoulder injury. In 2010, Kendall caught 118 games and batted .256/.318/.297...

Royals sign Kendall to minor league deal

Courtesy: Kansas City Royals KANSAS CITY The Kansas City Royals have a signed veteran catcher Jason Kendall to a 2012 minor league contract. Kendall will report to Double-A Northwest Arkansas today and is scheduled to start at catcher at Springfield tomorrow night. The 38-year-old Kendall is a three-time National League All-Star (1996, 1998, 2000) and a career .288 hitter in 2...

What Went Wrong With Jonathan Sanchez

On Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals designated left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez for assignment. The Royals, of course, acquired Sanchez and right-handed pitcher Ryan Verdugo from the San Francisco Giants over the winter, in exchange for Melky Cabrera. At the time, the trade came in for criticism and praise on both sides, which suggested it was a fair deal. Obviously...

Royals Awarded Top Honor in 2012 Competitive Balance Lottery

What is the Competitive Balance Lottery? Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com ...is a mechanism designed to help teams perceived to need the most assistance by awarding extra Draft picks to some of them. The 10 smallest-market teams and 10 lowest-revenue teams will have the chance to win one of six extra selections in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Those half-dozen picks will be made...

Royals, Pirates win lottery for draft picks

The Royals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Orioles, Reds and Marlins won picks after the first round of next year's draft in Major League Baseball's competitive balance lottery. The lottery involved the 10 teams with the lowest revenue and 10 in the smallest markets and was six picks after the first round. A club's odds of winning the lottery were based on its winning percentage...

Acquisition of Guthrie good for Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Royals took a shot Friday at softening the blow from the disastrous Jonathan Sanchez off-season trade. The Royals acquired Colorado right-hander Jeremy Guthrie in exchange for Sanchez, who had been designated for assignment on Tuesday. Essentially, that now makes the off-season trade of Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Guthrie and prospect Ryan Verdugo. And...

Hosmer, dropped in lineup, enjoys two-hit day

Eric Hosmer's prolonged struggles at the plate have again led to him being dropped in the Kansas City Royals' batting order. Manager Ned Yost moved Hosmer from the third slot to the sixth slot Thursday. "It's just that simple as that," Yost said of trying to take some pressure off Hosmer. "He's battling through a lot of different things. Some of...

Royals acquire Guthrie for Sanchez

KANSAS CITY, MO The Kansas City Royals today acquired right-handed starter Jeremy Guthrie from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez. Guthrie, 33, is 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA in 19 games, including 15 starts, for Colorado in 2012. He has pitched well away from Coors Field, posting a 3.67 ERA in 10 games (8 starts) on the road. The six-foot-one, 205...

Royals designate pitcher Sanchez for assignment

Jonathan Sanchez, the primary player involved in the trade that sent Melky Cabrera to the Giants, has done little for the Kansas City Royals, so the Royals essentially replaced him on the roster with the minor-league player acquired in the Cabrera trade -- Ryan Verdugo. Verdugo was scheduled to make his major-league debut Tuesday. Sanchez has been designated for assignment after...

Royals sign Jason Kendall… No, this is not a joke

The Kansas City Royals announced that they have signed veteran catcher Jason Kendall and have assigned him to the Royals' Double-A team. Kendall, 38, last played in the Majors in 2010 with the Royals. He hit .256/.318/.297 with 37 RBI's and a 91 OPS+ in 490 plate appearances. He missed the entire 2011 season due to a shoulder injury. Image by Lordcolus under the Creative...

Royals ready to admit Sanchez deal was a flop

The trade -- outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and minor league lefty Ryan Verdugo -- seemingly made sense for the Kansas City Royals when it was announced last Nov. 7. Sure, Cabrera was coming off a career year in which he batted .305 with 44 doubles and 201 hits. However, the Royals needed starting pitching, and Sanchez had...

Rockies, Royals swap Guthrie, Sanchez

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Royals and Rockies have swapped troublesome starting pitchers, with Jonathan Sanchez heading to Colorado and Jeremy Guthrie heading to Kansas City. Upon hearing about this deal, my first thought was "holy crap, Jonathan Sanchez in Coors Field!" Sanchez is familiar with Coors thanks to his time with the Giants, and...

Rockies, Royals swap pitchers

The Colorado Rockies acquired left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for right-hander Jeremy Guthrie on Friday.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.