Ned Yost claimed earlier this season that Alcides Escobar could hit something like .100 and still be valuable and play every day for this team. Whether that’s statistically accurate or not could be debated (and probably proven wrong) but still, Yost proved that he has tremendous faith in his players, even one-dimensional savants, like Escobar. Since then Alcides has proven he can hit, so we won’t have to hold Yost to his word. But, I’m pushing him to commit this kind of loyalty to Jarrad Dyson.
Dyson, like the Escobar of three weeks ago, hits well below a major league average. He also has a specific talent, like Escobar, that makes him a truly special utility — speedster. While some may argue the Royals are in no position to gamble on one-dimensional players, I would argue that the Royals should. When players such as Getz, Treanor, Penya, and even Escobar are allowed to play consistently, with limited offensive power, I think the team owes it to Dyson and themselves to put the speed threat in the lineup.
Before he was hurt and sent to AAA, the Royals’ record was respectable, and fans had something to look forward to every time he stepped on the field. He’s just such a tremendous athlete, he’s impossible to ignore. His defensive abilities are well above average. He is arguably one of the best raw base runners in baseball. He seems to exude a contagious confidence that helps the team. Jarrod Dyson needs to play in most games. Earlier this week, Sam Mellinger of the KC Star, wrote THIS article saying how much (or how little) Escobar had to do to validate his playing time and vault himself to the “best shortstop” conversation. Dyson’s talent isn’t as well-rounded, but I’d like to apply similar logic toward increasing Dyson’s playing time. He should be part of the “best bench player” in baseball conversation.
I’m not going to propose he play over anyone, because, quite frankly, I don’t know who he’d play over (slumping Frenchy? Getz?) but the coaches need to aggressively seek opportunities. His presence on the bases helps our own hitters, distracts pitchers, and greatly increases our chances of moving runners into scoring position. It won’t be easy, but truly great teams (which I’m not saying we are, though I know we have the nucleus to be) have the personnel that gets the most out of all their players and find ways to involve specialty talent. Dyson is a specialty talent and he may be the initial project that proves our current coaches have what it takes to develop and sustain a championship team.