by John Viril—
Coming into the 2013 season, Baseball America rated 21-year-old SS Orlando Calixte the 9th best prospect in the Kansas City system. Promoted to AA NW Arkansas to begin 2013, Calixte struggled early in the season. He hit .198/.244/.296 for a paltry .540 OPS in April.
Since that rough beginning, Orlando Calixte has progressively improved the last two months. He hit .304/.347/.424 (OPS .771) in May and is batting .297/.352/.469 (OPS .821) so far in June. Overall, he looks much less tentative at the plate than he did in April. Which, of course, is exactly what you want to see from a prospect after he is promoted to a new level.
Calixte signed with Kansas City for a $1 million signing bonus in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic. Baseball America’s scouting report indicates he has good power for a 160lb SS, which he has started to show the last two months. He projects as a solid to plus defender in the field.
Orlando Calixte’s value to Kansas City might be as a trade deadline bargaining chip. With 17-year-old SS prodigy Raul Aldaberto Mondesi at single A Lexington and current Royals SS Alcides Escobar signed through 2017 to a favorable contract, general manager Dayton Moore could view Calixte as expendable. The only future I can see for him in Kansas City is if he moved to 2B, or if Mike Moustakas fails at 3B and Calixte takes over the hot corner.
Calixte’s current ETA in the majors is 2015. At best, he could be ready by mid 2014. Such an arrival would do little good for Dayton Moore’s job security if the major league team falls out of contention. Moore is the longest tenured GM in MLB that has not taken his team to the post-season. Eventually, the Royals will have to earn a playoff berth if Moore is to keep his job.
Whatever Orlando Calixte’s future in the organization might be, his improvement in AA is welcome news in Kansas City.