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Royals could go to Kendall in No. 2 spot

Mar 5, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

Not that manager Trey Hillman’s lineup is going to make or break the Royals offense this year — it’s already obviously broken — but Jason Kendall has hit second the last two days and could be an option there in the regular season.
For what it’s worth, Hillman told the Kansas City Star that no one had an early lead on the spot, but he’s clearly considering his light-hitting backstop.
“I know his numbers have gone down the last three years, but we’re trying to get him to focus on keeping the ball out of the air,” Hillman said. “He can still handle the bat, and he’s pretty efficient in his bunting game. So that’s one thing we’re looking at.”
Kendall, as everyone knows, has been one of the game’s worst hitters the last three years. He batted .246/.327/.324 and .251/.331/.305 in his two years with the Brewers, and those OBPs were aided by 13 intentional walks, presumably all of which came with the pitcher on deck. He also tends to ground into a lot of double plays when he gets the chance, something that’s a terrible quality for a No. 2 hitter. He led the AL in that category in 2005 with 26.
It should be obvious that Kendall is a No. 8 or No. 9 hitter if he has to be in the lineup at all. Yet all indications are that Hillman hasn’t learned his lesson. The Royals last year got a disgusing .236/.278/.329 line out of their No. 2 hitters, with Willie Bloomquist and Mitch Maier receiving much of the time there. Having David DeJesus bat second and Billy Butler third seems like the Royals’ best option this year.

  1. Dan - Mar 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    “I know his numbers have gone down the last three years”
    Wait, really? You knew this going in? You know 3 years constitutes a pretty strong trend, right? Amazing.

  2. Joey B - Mar 5, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    I know you got ragged on for picking on KC, but you can’t make this stuff up. He had a .636 OPS last year, and he still might be the best choice for #2.

  3. Dan Whitney - Mar 5, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Hillman might want to consider letting his pitcher hit and using the Guillen/et al to hit for Kendall instead.

  4. Old Gator - Mar 6, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    Of course batting Kendall second would give him more pitches to hit and might just wake him up, even if most of them will be in the dirt and he’ll swing at them anyway. And thawing out Ted Williams’ head should allow that crack to mend itself, too.

  5. Shae Goth - Mar 6, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Fascinating take on this, as a pilot I’m constantly keen to understand much more about aviation.

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