The Royals winter league top hitter is…

This was a little bit of a tougher choice considering the KC Royals had quite a few hitters playing every day in five of the major winter leagues. An honorable mention for this award was centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who hit .285 during the regular season with Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League. He then went on a 12-game hitting streak to start the VWL playoffs.

My choice is first baseman/third baseman Jared Schlehuber, whose 2013 season ended prematurely with High-A Wilmington due to a hand injury.

Jared Schlehuber (Jen Nevius)

Jared Schlehuber (Jen Nevius)

After about two months off, Schlehuber traveled to the Land Down Under to play in the Australian Baseball League for the Melbourne Aces (along with Blue Rocks teammate Justin Trapp). Despite playing on a team of Aussie veterans, he either batted third or cleanup the entire season.

Schlehuber started off slow (0-for-8 over his first two games) before going on a 14-game hitting streak (18-for-52). He only had seven hitless games of the 46 he played.

On January 2nd, the Aces scored five runs over the final two innings to win. Schlehuber drove in three with a two-run homer in the eighth and Trapp drove in the other two with a walk off two-run single

Overall, he hit .310 and had 14 multi-hit games. Four of those came in the final three weekends. Schlehuber had a .488 slugging percentage with nine doubles and seven home runs. He also drove in 31 RBIs.


Before heading to the ABL, I thought Schlehuber might end up back in Wilmington to man first base with an expected young infield to start the 2014 season. Now I think he could start the year in Double-A, but that all depends on what the Royals do with Matt Fields and Cheslor Cuthbert (who are a level ahead of him at the corner positions).


You can check out an interview with Schlehuber HERE prior to his stint in the ABL and another HERE via the KC Star while he was there.

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