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May 17, 2013

Royals need to find out if David Lough is another Rich Gannon

With Jarrod Dyson going to the DL, the Royals have recalled David Lough (pictured), and fans will be screaming for Lough to play over the struggling Jeff Francoeur. It reminds Sam Mellinger of the Elvis Grbac-Rich Gannon dilemma.

Rich Gannon ruined it for everyone who’s come up since. You either remember Gannon’s time with the Chiefs, or you’ve heard the stories, the cries, the complaints, the I-told-you-so’s.

Gannon was the promising backup quarterback, Elvis Grbac the frustrating starter. The Chiefs chose Grbac. They haven’t won a playoff game since, and Gannon went on to a league MVP and AFC championship with the Raiders — the RAIDERS!

The people in Kansas City never forget. Over the years, Kansas City has screamed for Calvin Pickering, Kila Ka’aihue^, Tylers Palko and Thigpen^^, Damon Huard, Johnny Giavotella^^^, Justin Huber, and so many others.

^ I was right there with you guys on him. Damn.

^^ Don’t run away from it now.

^^^ This one shouldn’t be in the past tense.

Backups and minor leaguers are popular in every city, but I’ve always thought the passion comes out a little stronger here, and you can trace it back to fans being dead right and the Chiefs being dead wrong about Gannon. I mean, for crying out loud, Kansas City begged and cheered for Brady Quinn’s mediocre self last year. Some even wanted Ricky Stanzi. Or Alex Tanney.

We bring all this up because Jarrod Dyson is headed to the disabled list^, David Lough is replacing him on the roster, and Royals fans likely to lose their minds screaming for Lough to play.

^ The injury, of course, was seemingly pulled straight from the franchise’s worst years. Dyson going to the DL climbing the wall after a ball he had NO chance to catch is right there with Kerry Robinson climbing the wall for a ball that bounced in front of him, Ken Harvey’s fight with the tarp, Mike Sweeney hurting his back on a bunt, really, a whole mess of things.

Anyway, Lough will join the Royals in Oakland for tonight’s game. He hits left-handed (throws left, too, so please no “can he play second base?” questions) and is raking against Pacific Coast League pitching: .340 with a .393 on-base and .477 slugging percentage.

Jeff Francoeur, meanwhile, is so far one of the worst hitters in baseball: .221/.258/.311. Those numbers are especially atrocious against right-handed pitching: .207/.242/.299.

In the last week or two, Ned Yost has operated a sort of non-platoon platoon in his outfield, with Dyson playing against right-handed pitching and Frenchy against left, and Yost bristling the whole time that it’s not a platoon.

Frenchy’s struggles — it’s worth noting he’s been bad against left-handed pitching, too: .257/.297/.343, though his career numbers are better than that — and Lough’s potential mean the Royals would be silly not to take a look.

Lough struggled in his callup last year, hitting just .237/.292/.305, but the Royals owe it to themselves to see what they have here. With Wil Myers gone — he’s struggling in Triple A for the Rays, by the way — Lough is by far the Royals’ best young option right now. Francoeur’s contract is up after this year. Lough is poised to be not only the right fielder of the future, but the best option for right now.

The Royals need to find out if they have their own Rich Gannon here.

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