Friday, June 05, 2009

Spotlight on Mario Lisson

The Royals signed 6-2, 170 pound shortstop Mario Lisson as an undrafted free agent in 2002. The 25-year-old has slowly been making his way through the Royals minor league system ever since.

He has a little power (53 HR in 588 games in the minor leagues), a decent ability to get on base (a career .344 OBP), and he steals a lot of bases (138 in seven seasons—his best season coming in Burlington in 2006 when he swiped 41 bags; he was named the Burlington Player of the Year that season). In 2007 he was named to the midseason and postseason Carolina League All-Star teams. And in 2008, the Royals added him to the 40-man roster. He's on it this season as well.

Defensively, he has played more games at third base (392 going in this season) in the minor leagues than anywhere else, but has played more than 100 games at shortstop and that seems to be the best fit for him. I don't think he has quite enough power to play third base. He started this season in Northwest Arkansas and was called up to Omaha recently, where he's been playing shortstop. That's where he played last night when Omaha took on Round Rock in Omaha. Here is a breakdown of Lisson's at bats during that game:

AB #1 (3rd inning, facing RHP Bud Norris, nobody on, no outs): Lisson jumped on the first pitch he saw and knocked it over the left field wall to give Omaha a 1-0 lead. I captured it on video:

AB #2 (5th inning, facing Norris, a man on second, one out): The Royals were still leading 1-0. Lisson took the first pitch for a called strike. He took a long swing and missed the second pitch. It was probably far enough outside that it would have been called a ball. The third pitch was low to make the count 2-1. The fourth pitch was way outside for ball two. The fifth pitch was over the outside corner for a called strike three. Norris worked him away the entire at bat and it paid off.

AB #3 (7th inning, facing RHP Samuel Gervacio, a man on first base, no outs):

With the game tied 1-1, manager Mike Jirschele asked Lisson to bunt the man on first into scoring position. After fouling off a couple of attempted bunts, he attempted another bunt with two strikes and he popped it up just high enough for Gervacio to charge off the mound and make a good diving catch about half way between the pitcher's mound and home plate.

AB #4 (9th inning, facing RHP Brendan Donnelly , a man on first base, one out): In the top of the ninth, Round Rock hung a three-spot on the Omaha bullpen, so when Lisson came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals were down 4-1. The first pitch he saw from Donnelly was high for ball one. The second pitch was right down main street for a called strike. He hit the next pitch to the shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Obviously, the Royals are in a state of flux right now at the shortstop position at the big league level. Lisson could turn out to be the answer. I don't know if he could hit major league pitching (his batting average isn't even very good in the minor leagues this season), but he appears to be pretty patient at the plate and once he does get on base he's always a risk to steal. I haven't seen enough of him defensively to tell you whether he'd be able to play short at the big league level or not. But at this point, we don't have many choices in the organization, so it would be interesting to see what he could do.

1 comment:

Minda said...

Oooh, I'm glad you got that home run on video. It was a BOMB.

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