Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost was on MLB Network Radio with ESPN's Jim Bowden on Thursday afternoon and went over the batting order for the upcoming year. The lineup will feature:
Alex Gordon LF
Johnny Giavotella 2B
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Salvador Perez C
Lorenzo Cain CF
Alcides Escobar SS
Before we dive into the lineup, in more broad terms Yost mentioned that he see's Cain as a young Mike Cameron type. Cameron has been a solid player over the course of his major league career, and the fact that Yost spent time talking about Cain in detail should help ease the pain for some Royals fans who had read over the winter that he may be included in a trade for Atlanta Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. With the trade of Melky Cabrera, it made little sense to move Cain as Jarrod Dyson would likely be the next man in at centerfield. The rumors left me anxious about the direction of Kansas City, which would have gone from a surplus in centerfield to having it be a position of need.
Now looking at the lineup under a microscope, I am a big fan of keeping Gordon as the leadoff hitter. Batting leadoff, Gordon hit .305/.383/.532 last season. Nine times last season he lead off a game with either a walk or a home run. By comparison, Jacoby Ellsbury, who is arguably the top leadoff hitter in baseball did the same eight times last year. Ichiro Suzuki, one of the top leadoff hitters ever, did the same eight times as well.
Giavotella is also poised to be the the perfect second hitter for Kansas City. Though he had just a small sample size (five games) batting second last season, he hit .286/.318/.667, which was well above his overall season of .247/.273/.376.
This offense looks very formidable and the only thing I could possibly see changing is swapping Moustakas and Francoeur in the order, should Moustakas start the season slow. Cain and Escobar, who are likely behind the rest of the group with their hitting at the major league level, are better poised at the bottom of the order to take pressure off themselves.
We're getting closer to the season, folks.