Sam Mellinger in the Kansas City Star writes an even-handed assessment of Willie Ballgame, balancing his “intangibles” with a realistic appraisal of his liabilities. Bloomquist has become the Royals’ regular shortstop after slumping Mike Aviles (.183) was put on the disabled list with a forearm injury.
Here’s some of Mellinger’s story:
Even in the midst of a bad stretch at the plate, he’s hitting .298 with .371 on-base and .405 slugging percentages. The batting average and on-base numbers rank second on the team among players with more than 50 plate appearances, and he’s second with eight stolen bases.
Meanwhile, he’s played every position on the diamond except center field, pitcher and catcher and has even mixed in five extra-base hits — five times his total from last year.
Consider that Bloomquist’s salary is less than half the major-league average — and not too much more than what the Royals gave their fourth-round draft pick last year — and the perception has changed from wasted signing to bargain addition.
Coincidence or not, the Royals are 16-7 when Bloomquist starts and 6-16 when he doesn’t.
By the way: With Bloomquist now playing every day, his old utility role is being filled by another ex-Mariner — Tug Hulett.
(Seattle Times photo by Mark Harrison)