Welcome to part two of I don’t know how many. Here are the links to the ones I’ve written already:
Part one was all about Brady Singer’s development as a legitimate #1-2 in a big league rotation. Having a home grown James Shields is massive because it allows you to spend the resources you would normally have to use to acquire that player elsewhere. Go get another one and now you have two big league starters instead of one! Hence the importance of developing your own starting pitching… 🙂
Anyway. Part two is all about Vinnie Pasquantino solidifying himself as a legitimate middle-of-the-order big league bat. We tried to tell y’all this would be a thing before the season began, but I understand why there may have been hesitancy to fully buy in on Pasquantino before this year. A 23-year old hitting at AA isn’t exactly a rare development, after all.
After seeing Vinnie in the big leagues this year, there should be zero doubts left in anyone’s mind that this dude is legit and should be able to carry a big league lineup at times during his career. Since July 11th, Vinnie Pasquantino is hitting .294/.364/.472/.837 with a 135 wRC+ in 184 PA. It took him, like, a week to get used to big league pitching and then this dude took off and resumed torching pitchers like he did all throughout his minor league career.
The Royals have six years of control left on Vinnie Pasquantino. By the time Vinnie reaches free agency he’ll be 30 years old heading into his age-31 season. Unless the Royals choose to extend him and give him some money up front, he will be one of the most valuable hitters in all of baseball for the next two seasons while he plays for a league minimum salary, and then he’ll still be one of the better bargains in the game for a couple years as he enters arbitration. This is massive for a team who is building around its young hitters and, in theory at least, doesn’t have to go searching for this wave’s version of Kendrys Morales. You’ve already got him, and you’ve got him on the cheap long-term.
Vinnie has been by far the most successful rookie in the Royals lineup this year. Michael Massey is currently the only other Royals rookie with a wRC+ of 100 or better (100 is league average) and he’s still 13 points behind Vinnie. Having one rookie show signs of being dominant takes pressure off of the organization to go out and look for a veteran slugger this offseason, I think. I’m personally of the opinion that they should still be looking for a big righty to get in there between Vinnie, Massey, Nick Pratto, and MJ Melendez, that way you can let Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez hit second and third long-term, but Vinnie’s success lessens the need for that extra bat for sure. Now the Royals should be able to focus their attention and resources to fixing the pitching staff this offseason, something I’m not sure would be as easy without Vinnie.
I honestly thought that first poll I put out would be much closer than it wound up being. You guys voted overwhelmingly in favor of Vinnie as the most important development for the Royals this season and it’s pretty clearly a fair take. Vinnie has been by far the Royals best rookie hitter this season and if it wasn’t for Edward Olivares looking like a damn All-Star in a limited sample Vinnie would just be the Royals best hitter period. Vinnie’s overall value will always be a bit limited by the fact that he’s a 1B/DH, but he is pretty clearly the best pure hitter of the bunch and another feather in the cap of the Royals scouting department.
Just for fun, there are currently 313 hitters in MLB with at least 230 PA. Here is how Vinnie ranks in certain categories:
- wRC+: 73rd
- BB%: 53rd
- K%: 22nd
- Hard%: 23rd
- HardHit%: 31st
- Chase%: 85th
- SwStr%: 30th
- Barrel%: 91st
- xwOBA: 15th
Dude is a top-60ish hitter in baseball depending on how you look at it. An incredible value for the Royals.