Bonifacio a model of consistency in rookie year

Royals right fielder has avoided slumps, made adjustments

July 19th, 2017

KANSAS CITY -- One of the pleasant surprises for the Royals this season continues to be the play of rookie , who was called up in late April and subsequently grabbed the right-field spot and held onto it.

Bonifacio also has been a fixture in the No. 2 spot in the order since early June, primarily because he has avoided huge slumps and he generally finds a way to consistently get on base.

In fact, Bonifacio, 24, just had a nine-game hitting streak end in Wednesday night's 4-3 win over the Tigers. He also had his 22-game streak of successfully reaching base end -- the latter is the second most for a Royals rookie in club history behind Kevin Seitzer's 29-game streak in 1987.

"He hasn't had a big slump, nothing prolonged," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He always finds a way to mix in a couple of hits here and there."

The closest Bonifacio came to a prolonged slump was in early June when, over a 16-game span, he hit .161 with a .257 on-base percentage.

"Before the All-Star break, last month, there were pitches up and they were trying to get me to chase," Bonifacio said. "When we came back, I've tried and not swing at those pitches. That's helped me a lot."

Bonifacio raised plenty of eyebrows when he popped seven home runs in his first 31 games. But the Royals and Bonifacio knew that opponents eventually would make adjustments in how they pitched to him.

Bonifacio said it's basically a cat-and-mouse game of adjustments.

"They try and figure out other pitches or how to pitch me," he said, "but at the same time, I figure out how they pitch me. I try to make an adjustment."

Overall, Bonifacio has held his own, hitting .250 with a .434 slugging percentage. He has 11 home runs and 28 RBIs.

"I'm trying not to chase their pitches and [instead] trying to get my pitch to hit," he said. "That's the biggest point for me. Hopefully I'll keep hitting like that.

"Now they know I don't chase those pitches [up in the zone] anymore. I eliminate those pitches. They know I don't want to chase those pitches anymore."

Yost is a believer, mainly because of Bonifacio's demeanor.

"He'll continue to get better," Yost said. "He's a solid kid. His personality is the same every day. He's not laid-back but he's not over the top. He has the perfect mentality for this game, because it is a game of failure. And he doesn't get worked up over that."