"Did he deserve to go down? No," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But you got 25 guys on the team, and there's just not a spot for him right now. He's too valuable for us. We need him playing. We don't need him up here sitting the bench."
So though Cuthbert, rated the No. 12 Kansas City prospect by MLBPipeline.com, won't be with the Royals for now, his 13-game stint in the Majors did enough to confirm his value for the club. Yost said Cuthbert will get work at second base in addition to third base in Omaha. The Royals want to give him experience at other positions so he can become more versatile in the big leagues.
The organization has considered playing Cuthbert at second for at least two years, and he has played there in Spring Training, but this move shows the Royals are serious about working him at another position.
"He'll go back to Omaha and start playing a little bit of second, a little bit of third," Yost said. "It just kind of increases his value to our organization in case something happens."
Cuthbert appeared in 13 games at third base in Moustakas' absence, hitting .255 with one home run in 55 at-bats and adding solid defensive play at the hot corner. Beyond the numbers, Cuthbert showed a quick, powerful bat and a notable energy and athleticism in the field.
"You put him out there, it's like, 'OK, give me the ball,'" Yost said. "He's never been that guy, even the first day he played, he's been very even and solid and composed and plays the game like he's been here for five years, which is an impressive thing."
The Royals signed Cuthbert, a native of Nicaragua, as an amateur free agent in 2009, and initial scouting reports indicated a bright future. Cuthbert has since battled through parts of seven seasons in the Minors, but right now, his stock with the Royals is back on the rise.
"We've been watching this kid for a long time," Yost said. "[General manager Dayton Moore] is a really good judge of talent. I don't know if it will ever come to it or not, but three or four years ago, Dayton thought this kid was going to be an All-Star one day. I knew that this kid's got some talent."
Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.