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Taking (Another) Look At KC’s 2011 Starting Lineup

Back in October, I predicted the Royals’ 2011 Opening Day lineup. It looked like this:

1. Jarrod Dyson, CF

2. David DeJesus, RF

3. Billy Butler, 1B

4. Kila Ka’aihue, DH

5. Mike Aviles, 2B

6. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

7. Alex Gordon, LF

8. Mike Moustakas, 3B

9. Lucas May, C

A lot has changed since those simple, naïve days of two months ago. One of the players on the list above is long gone, and a few others have likely been displaced by the signings of Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera.

So I’m taking a mulligan. Here, once again, is my 2011 Opening Day lineup for the Kansas City Royals.

1. Chris Getz, 2B

This sucks. Jarrod Dyson would have been a perfect leadoff hitter. But now, it’s questionable if he’ll even make the roster. I’m not ruling out the fact that Alex Gordon gets traded; if he does, look for an opportunity for Dyson to bat leadoff. Otherwise, we’re stuck with Getz.

2. Melky Cabrera, CF

I’m just not sure where else to put Melky in the batting order. Hopefully, as the Royals grow better and stronger, Cabrera will move down in the lineup. He’s a significant upgrade from frequent No. 2 batter Jason Kendall in 2010.

3. Billy Butler, 1B

No change here. Butler should be on course for another solid season.

4. Jeff Francoeur, RF

Francoeur should not be batting cleanup, but I believe he’s a better option than Ka’aihue in the four-hole.

5. Kila Ka’aihue, DH

Hopefully the signings of Francoeur and Cabrera won’t sideline Ka’aihue, who deserves a full season in the major leagues. Batting fifth should be good for the Hawaiian slugger.

6. Mike Aviles, 3B

I’ll chalk my prediction of Mike Moustakas as the starting third baseman in 2011 up to wishful thinking. All signs indicate that Moustakas will begin the year in AAA, but look for a mid-season callup. For now, Aviles can handle the hot corner, and provide offensive pop as well.

7. Alex Gordon, LF

Again, I’m thinking Gordon might be traded soon. If not, he (like Ka’aihue) deserves another full season before the Royals give up on him.

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Ugh.

9. Brayan Pena, C

I’m flip-flopping here. Originally I predicted Lucas May to win the starting job, but now I believe the Royals will stick with the guy who has proven to be a capable Major League catcher. But it’s really a tossup at this point, and this could shape up to be the most interesting position battle in Spring Training.

There you have it. I think this is a stronger lineup than my previous one, but it’s not as fun. We don’t see Dyson flying around the bases and we don’t have Moustakas learning the ropes. But their time is coming.

For now, we have Francoeur and Cabrera and some familiar faces.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the associate editor of I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey14@yahoo.com.

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