Moore talks Nicky Lopez, Royals overall in 2019

May 11th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore sat down with the beat writers covering the team on Saturday and he discussed some of his observations about the club's performance through the first quarter of the season.

And yes, Moore did touch on the Nicky Lopez subject. Lopez, ranked as the team’s No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, continues to post impressive numbers at Triple-A Omaha, hitting .363 with a .463 on-base percentage.

The problem is that Lopez isn’t a fit on the present 25-man roster. Lopez plays second base and shortstop, positions occupied by and . And the organization doesn’t want Lopez to play just twice a week or so, at least not this early in the season.

The other complication is that manager Ned Yost had to move Merrifield back to second base on basically a permanent basis because Merrifield began suffering from nagging lower-body injuries caused by the rigors of playing in the outfield. Merrifield hasn’t played the outfield since April 11, and he likely won’t play much there the rest of the season because his offense is simply too valuable to lose.

“There’s nobody left to call up right now [where] there’s a chance to play every day,” Moore said. “What I will say is that yes, we’re very excited about Nicky Lopez and he will have a bright future on this team, we hope."

Here are some other Moore observations:

On the offense
“Our offense can beat you in a lot of ways. We can beat you with speed. We can beat you with power. We strike out a little too much for all of our liking. Unfortunately, it’s an industry-wide issue. There’s a lot of players striking out. But I like our power, I like our speed. Certainly, what has done the first 40 games, this last month, has been really good. His [pitch] selection has been outstanding."

On the bullpen
“The bullpen has been much better. We have enough talent down there. It’s just a matter of getting consistent and getting in a rhythm.”

On the team’s immediate future
“I believe we’ve kind of dug ourselves a hole. But if you’re going to struggle, you’re better off struggling early and then find your consistency, and you’ve got time to make it up. You can recover. I don’t think a lot of people necessarily believe in us. But I know one thing: We believe in this group of players and they believe in themselves. So the adversity that we went through is exactly what we needed to put ourselves in a position to win the rest of the year.”

On the rotation
“We need more consistency there. I think [] is somebody that is right there, competing for a spot in that rotation.”