Johnny Giavotella: Called Up

The Royals took another step forward in “The Process” Friday, promoting 24-year-old second basemen Johnny Giavotella to the big league club. Any move that severally limits the number of at bats of Chris Getz receives is a step in the right direction.

The 2008 draft is beginning to pay early dividends for the Royals. They selected Eric Hosmer third overall and took promising lefty Mike Montgomery 36th. Hosmer is a rookie of the year candidate already while Montgomery had stellar minor league numbers until running into a hiccup in the Pacific Coast League this season. In the second round, with the 49th overall pick, they selected Giavotella. The diminutive second basemen has hit well in every level of the minors, compiling a career line of .305/.375/.437 in 1971 plate appearances. His wOBA over the last two seasons at Double-A and Triple have been .390 and .383 respectively.

While those figures are impressive it’s important to notice that Giavotella played in some very hitter friendly ballparks. His home park at Northwest Arkansas in Double-A was extremely kind to hitters, and while the Triple-A Omaha Royals’ park is extremely neutral it is member of the Pacific Coast League. The average hitter in the PCL this season has a slash line of .287/.360/.453. So…yeah. This is why wRC+ was invented. It tells you how much better or worse a player was than league average, with 100 being the baseline. Giavotella’s wRC+ at AA and AAA were 139 and 116, so he was 39% and 16% better than league average at those levels. Those numbers are still good of course; just not as good as a ~.386 wOBA would have you believe. That’s not taking into account his position, though. An above average second basemen is extremely valuable, both in real life and here in our fantasy world.

Second base has become one of the deeper positions with players like Michael Cuddyer, Michael Young and Ryan Roberts qualifying there. Giavotella is going to get a chance to play every day and show the Royals what he can do leading into 2012. He’s hit well in the five games since his call up and ZiPS gives him a final line of .278/.336/.398 with 2 HR, 4 SB, and 13 RBI in 145 plate appearances. That’s more than you’re likely to get out of Maicer Izturis, Justin Turner, Jemile Weeks and Alexi Casilla to name a few. For now he’s a solid pickup in A.L. only leagues and could prove to be a viable starter in mixed leagues in 2012.



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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.


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Max
Guest
Max

Doesn’t anyone have a stud SS to call up? We’re up to our ears all of a sudden in 2Bs.

Scott
Guest
Scott

I am heartbroken over Zack Cozart’s injury prematurely ending his rookie campaign. Especially since I’m a Jose Reyes owner…..yeesh.

chri521
Member

End? I thought Cozart was swinging the bat and inching closer to a rehab assignment?

chri521
Member

Bah I see it now, considering surgery on his hyperextended elbow. Indeed a tough blow considering that pathetic output of that position for the Reds this year.

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