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Up and Coming: Mark Teahen

Ever since the Royals acquired Mark Teahen in late June as part of the Carlos Beltran deal, Allard Baird’s stance on when his third baseman of the future would make his first appearance as a Royal has been steadfast: That Teahen is going to open the 2005 season at Triple-A Omaha no matter what. However, baseball players have a tendency to change the thinking of a team’s management by displaying new and improved skills, and that’s exactly what Teahen’s done in the Arizona Fall League. Through the games of October 30, here’s the carnage he’s inflicted upon AFL pitchers in 59 at-bats:

AVGOBPSLGRRBI
.441.507.6781613

It's entirely possible that all this is is a Bondsian two weeks, but there's real improvement here. Many of his peripheral statistics are up from his minor league season as well, including his walks per at-bat and isolated power.

The one variable that’s forced me to maintain my opinion that Teahen’s going to be another Joe Randa as opposed to another Jason Giambi is that the AFL is very much a hitters’ league; batters hit .276/.349/.421 in it from 2001-2003. But unless Teahen’s home park in Phoenix has a hitting background similar to that of Kauffman Stadium’s, the rise in his walk rate would probably be legit no matter which fall/winter league he played in. And as many of us believe, an ability to get on base is a very important trait good offensive players have.

Teahen’s improvement offensively (and defensively, according to the article I linked yesterday) at least has Shaun McGinn, KC’s director of player development, saying that the opening day third base job is "still up in the air." However, McGinn still concedes that the likelihood is that he starts the year at Omaha before getting the job at the hot corner come midseason.

The bottom line is that in Teahen (who looks an awful lot like Dean Palmer), the Royals appear to have a solid everyday third baseman whose ceiling is probably as a Corey Koskie-type player. That isn't bad at all, especially when he'll play for roughly $300,000 until 2007.
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