KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Frank Schwindel, who is the Royals organization's Triple-A Omaha Player of the Year, admits he had mixed feelings in late July when his good friend and fellow first baseman Ryan O'Hearn got the call to the big leagues while he didn't.Schwindel, who was the club's
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Frank Schwindel, who is the Royals organization's Triple-A Omaha Player of the Year, admits he had mixed feelings in late July when his good friend and fellow first baseman Ryan O'Hearn got the call to the big leagues while he didn't.
Schwindel, who was the club's George Brett Minor League Player of the Year last season, put together another solid campaign in 2018, hitting .286 with a career-high 24 home runs, 38 doubles and 93 RBIs.
But when the time came for the Royals to promote a first baseman, it was O'Hearn, not Schwindel.
"It's great for him," Schwindel said. "He's done really well since he's been here. I'd rather us both be in the lineup, but it's great to see him doing what he's doing.
"But it was tough, obviously. Might have been coincidence, but I got really hot after [O'Hearn got called up]. Hopefully next year we're in the same lineup wearing the same uniform."
Royals officials and Schwindel's agent explained the situation, telling Schwindel, 26, they simply didn't have room to open up another 40-man roster spot at the time, and to keep working hard and improving his game at Omaha. Schwindel's time would come, they said.
"It was explained to me," Schwindel said. "It was obviously a disappointment. But things happen for a reason, too."
Schwindel was right: He did get hot after O'Hearn's callup, going on a 13-game hitting streak. All in all, after a slow start, he had another excellent season offensively.
"I think April was terrible for me," Schwindel said. "But I got through that bad patch and you just stick to the basics, and it went really well after that."
Schwindel will head to the Dominican Republic for winter ball soon and said he plans to play some third base and outfield to increase his versatility. There's still improvement he can make at the plate, too.
"I get in trouble when I swing at bad pitches," he said. "I need to cut down on the strikeouts [71 this season] and increase the walks . Just work on a better overall approach at the plate."
And after that, Schwindel will head into Spring Training again hoping once more to impress the coaching staff and crack the roster.
"Absolutely," Schwindel said. "Just come in and keep doing what I've been doing the past two years, and hope for the best."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.