Led by a trio of second-round pitchers, the Kansas City Royals farm system is returning to form. However, the future of the batting lineup looks a bit cloudy, to say the least, as both Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain will be entering free agency this summer.
A very tough hand dealt to the small-market Royals, but reinforcements are beginning to show themselves in the Minor Leagues. One of the biggest names emerging from the group of prospects: Samir Duenez.
Added to the 40-man roster in the off-season, the higher-ups in K.C. are privy to the strong development of the 21-year old first baseman.
Duenez rewarded their faith with a selection to the 2017 Texas League All-Star team. “It’s an honor to be here with my teammates. It’s real good. Somebody called me and told me I’ll be here. It’s an honor to represent the Kansas City Royals.”
Hosmer’s expected departure opens a gigantic hole at first and the first crack may go to Triple-A first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, but the Venezuelan Duenez is chalked in by many to be the guy.
This isn’t his concern, though. “I’m just playing my game. I try to enjoy what I do everyday, that’s it. (The Royals) know what’s going on (up there).”
First-base only prospects need to do one big thing: hit. The flexibility on the depth chart isn’t their purpose, but to occupy the bag at first and provide some pop in the lineup.
Of course, the way baseball is now with slugging all over the field, Duenez’s high batting average and effective speed (8-for-10 stealing in 2017) will be plenty to make him a big leaguer.
Eleven home runs in 2017 are beaten by 15 doubles and that speed has rewarded him in the form of two triples. He’s on base a lot, evidenced by his .336 OBP. There may be more home run power to come, but it won’t be that serious of an issue if he’s always on base.
All this is in the future, while the present presents learning opportunities and room to grow. For Samir Duenez, he’s only concerning himself with that very present.
“I’m just trying to stay healthy and do what I do.”
So far, he’s doing it extremely well.