by John Viril—
The Kansas City Royals have struggled all season to find production at second base. They’ve tried Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson, and Johnny Giavotella at the keystone with 39-year-old Miguel Tejada as nothing more than an occasional fill-in.
That is until Chris Getz injured his left knee July 27.
Since that time, Miguel Tejada has been a fixture in the Royals lineup. He’s hit a terrific .409/.435/.455 in the last week—which continues Tejada’s strong season-long performance (.304/.331/.406 in 148 PAs). Tejada has a current 8-game hitting streak. He’s shown he can produce playing every day. He’s even made numerous diving stops in the field. It’s time to forget about Miguel Tejada’s age and recognize that he’s the only guy on the current roster that brings any semblance of offense at second.
On Sunday, manager Ned Yost even inserted Tejada into the no. 2 position in the batting order. He’s a big improvement over Yost’s “perfect” no. 2 hitter Alcides Escobar—you know, the guy with an OBP of .258—or Eric Hosmer, who is better suited as a no. 3 hitter.
In short, Miguel Tejada looks poised to become an important piece in the Royals final two months. Yost told beat reporter Bob Dutton that Tejada is now the team’s starting 2nd baseman. And, for the first time 2003, the Royals have a realistic chance of making the post season. While they are an unsettling 7.5 games behind Detroit in the AL Central despite winning 11 of their last 12 games, the Royals have whittled their deficit on the 2nd wild-card position from 10 to 4.5 games.
A competent offense has been a big part of the Royals surge. Kansas City has averaged 4.5 runs over their last 12 games after averaging 3.90 per game in their first 96. I do not believe it’s any accident that Miguel Tejada has played on 10 of those days. Adding his bat to the lineup is sort of like adding a DH in place of a pitcher compared to the other options at 2nd. And National League teams typically score .5 runs per game less than their American League counterparts.
The Royals signed Miguel Tejada almost as an afterthought this season. Tejada failed to land a big league job in 2012 and only earned a chance in Kansas City with an impressive performance in winter ball.
Now that “afterthought” might be the key cog in Kansas City’s first playoff run in more than 20 years.