In late 2003, the Royals would call upon their fourth round pick from the 2000 Amateur Baseball Draft to make his debut in the outfield. By the following year, the team would trade their All Star center fielder, Carlos Beltran, and give the keys to the outfield to David DeJesus.
DeJesus would respond with a 2004 rookie season that would end with him finishing sixth in the American League voting for the Jackie Robinson Award. DeJesus had arrived on the scene in Kansas City and fans and team executives alike were excited to see one of the franchises’ top prospects come to the Major League level.
DeJesus would develop into a consistent hitter with occasional power that showed good plate discipline. Over eight seasons in a Royals jersey, posting a .289 batting average and .360 on base percentage. In 2008 he would post a career high in runs batted in with 73 and follow that up with a career high in home runs with 13 in 2009.
The following year in 2010 would see the Royals make a firm move to adjust their roster for the future. While the farm system began to take hold as one of the best in the nation, the club started trading some of their established stars to strengthen it even further. The outfield was targeted and DeJesus’ name starting floating around through rumor mills everywhere. That is, until he tore a tendon in his thumb.
The torn tendon would ensure that DeJesus would finish the 2010 season as a Kansas City Royal. It would not, however, ensure that he would make it to the end of the calendar year. On November 10, 2010, the Royals would send DeJesus to a Oakland club that was trying to put together a winning roster. Justin Marks and Vin Mazarro would find themselves on the way to Kansas City to begin the 2011 season with a club many predict to finish last.
DeJesus, meanwhile, finds himself projected as the starting right fielder for the Oakland Athletics and on a ball club that even the most devoted experts cannot put a firm prediction on. The team has pieces in place that will make them competitive but the decision on if they will be competitive enough is yet to be made. DeJesus projects to have a solid season, given the hope that he bounces back from his injury quickly and effectively.
He was a fan favorite in Kansas City and I would anticipate a very warm welcome when he returns to Kauffmann stadium on May 6th this season. He represents a prospect that came through an organization before the team was fully ready to have someone of his caliber lead the team. Oakland gets a 31 year old outfielder that can help solidify and lead a team to a positive season.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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