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Before the 2012 season, David Lough was considered to be the prototypical 4th outfielder. He can play all three outfield positions. He has a little bit of power. He has pretty good speed. He does a decent job at getting on base. In short, he can do a little bit of everything, but he doesn't excel at anything.
So what happened in 2012?
One of the biggest differences between 2012 and previous years was his BABIP. For the first time since 2008, his BABIP slipped below .300. Consequently, his prospect status took a big hit. When I dug deeper into the numbers, I noticed that some interesting things:
· 2011: BABIP - .335, LD% - 16.9%, GB% - 46.6%, OFB% - 24.6%
· 2012: BABIP - .296, LD% - 16.8%, GB% - 41.3%, OFB% - 28.0%
As you can see, in 2012 Lough's GB% dropped while his FB% went up. Simply put, if Lough can revert back to hitting more groundballs, his BABIP will improve, and he will be looked in a more favorable light.
David Lough appears to be the odd man out in a Royals outfield that is not all that crowded. The Royals top four outfielders are pretty much set in stone: Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francouer, and Jarrod Dyson. If one of those players go down for any significant amount of time, then Lough has as good a chance as anyone to see some playing time as the 4th outfielder. However, if David Lough has another year like he had last year, he's going to run out of chances.