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Auditing The Royals: Alcides Escobar's Stellar Glove Was A Highlight Of The First Half

If there has been one staple on the Royals roster this season it has been Alcides Escobar. The shortstop that was involved in the Zack Greinke deal has started 92 games thus far at the position. Offensively he has posted a .248/.290/.325 line for the Royals with one home run and 27 RBI. Over the last six weeks though, Escobar has really improved his hitting which included a .305/.353/.432 month of June.

However, Escobar is noted for his defense as his dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) of 0.9 leads the Royals team (as a whole the club is -2.0 overall). Escobar leads the American League is assists and putouts, while also leading the league in range factor and is third among shortstops in the AL in fielding percentage. For his defense alone, I give Escobar an UPGRADE in comparison to the trials and tribulations of dealing with Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop last season. If Escobar can somehow hit in the .270 range and learn to draw more walks, he will be a very solid piece of the Royals roster for many upcoming seasons.

Moving onto third base, we have already covered Mike Aviles previously, so we turn our attention to Mike Moustakas, who was called up when the Royals were on the road in Anaheim in early June. Moustakas hit a home run in his second big league game but has since struggled at the plate, putting up a .220/.282/.280 line in 27 games with a home run and four RBI over his first 100 at bats. Defensively he has been an average third basemen, if not slightly better than anticipated as he a positive defensive WAR and .963 fielding percentage. I will give Moustakas a PUSH for now as he is just getting his feet wet at the big league level, though his bat has been disappointing so far.

Then there is Wilson Betemit, who has recently become the forgotten man on the club. After starting much of the early season, Betemit's playing time has shriveled down to nil with the arrival of Moustakas. A player with decent trade value (versatile and has a cheap contract), Betemit has posted a .285/.345/.415 line this year with three home runs and 27 RBI while appearing in 56 games. His numbers may be down from 2010, a year in which he lead Royals batters with a 141 OPS+, but he is still a dependable backup player. I'll give him a PUSH because of his lack of playing time, though it's not a slight to his abilities. If any player is likely to be traded before the July 31st deadline you have to imagine Betemit is that guy.