Jorge Bonifacio had his best season as a professional in 2016. The 23-year-old outfielder slashed .277/.351/.461 in 134 games in his first crack at Triple-A. He posted career highs in home runs and RBI with 19 homers and 86 runs batted in. Bonifacio also notched a career-best 51 walks. Strikeouts remains a concern for Bonifacio, as he fanned over 125 times for the third consecutive season. In addition, despite his rather slight build, Bonifacio only possesses marginal speed. As a result, his upside appears limited, as Bonifacio is unlikely to hit .300, smack 20 home runs or steal 10 bases in a single season. Likewise, the Royals have a glut of outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart, so while Bonifacio has proven he can be serviceable, he will likely have to bide his time at Triple-A once again to begin the 2017 campaign.
Bonifacio, 23, is hitting .268/.336/.457 with 16 home runs at Triple-A Omaha. The right-handed hitter had issues making contact in Double-A Northwest Arkansas with his strikeout rates at 21.9 percent in 2013, 22.4 percent in 2014, and 23.5 percent in 2015. That trend has actually worsened at Triple-A Omaha this year while striking out 24.0 percent of the time. The Royals don't immediately need corner outfield help, but he could be a viable option when rosters expand in September.
Bonifacio continues to find success in his first season with Triple-A Omaha, batting .303/.369/.517. Bonifacio started hitting for more power last season, smashing a career-best 17 homers for Double-A Northwest Arkansas while batting just .240. This season he has regained his contact stroke as well, hitting for a high average in addition to double-digit homers through 69 games. Just 23 years old, Bonifacio might have a hard time cracking the Royals big league roster this season, with their outfield soon becoming more crowded with the impending return of Alex Gordon (wrist), who is currently on a rehab assignment in Omaha and is set to return to the Royals on Saturday. On top of that, Paulo Orlando and Jarrod Dyson figure to share playing time in right for the Royals moving forward.
Bonifacio, 22, is batting .309/.369/.525 with six home runs, 33 RBI and four steals through 42 games at Triple-A Omaha. It was initially thought that Bonifacio could receive a promotion due to the injury to Alex Gordon (wrist). However, Cheslor Cuthbert received the call to the bigs instead, and the Royals have plenty of depth otherwise in the outfield with Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando. As such, he will simply bide his time at Triple-A for now.
Bonifacio was optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Monday, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. This isn't very surprising, as he's spent the last two seasons at the Double-A level. Bonifacio played decently while he was in big league camp, going 5-for-17 with a home run, three RBI, and six runs, but he'll head back to the minors for more work against upper-level pitching.
The Royals announced Wednesday they optioned pitcher Aaron Brooks, infielder Orlando Calixte, outfielder Lane Adams and outfielder Jorge Bonifacio to Triple-A Omaha. They also reassigned pitcher Buddy Baumann, pitcher Brian Broderick, pitcher Casey Coleman, pitcher Joe Paterson, infielder Hunter Dozier, infielder Matt Fields, infielder Raul Mondesi and outfielder Bubba Starling to minor-league camp.