The Royals managed their first victory of the young preseason over the weekend, a 6-1 victory over the Angels. They currently sit at 1-4 in Cactus League play and are 1 game above the winless Indians.
Spring Training is typically the time that Royals fans look for all kinds of meaning in about every statistic, but at the end of they day the outcome of March baseball has been proven time and again to be near worthless.
That being said, there are still a few battles out there, and the production of a few players may be the difference in them being on the roster come April. For a select few, it may also be the difference in starting or sitting on opening day.
Christian Colon has a lot to play for this spring training given that the player above him on the depth chart is Omar Infante. Infante has been abysmal in his 2 seasons as a Royal at the plate, and while he has provided adequate defense, it has not been near enough to make him a viable starter in Major League Baseball.
In fact, his numbers have been so bad the last two seasons, he has ranged at or below replacement level by Baseball Reference. For a team looking to return to the postseason, his position provides a huge opportunity to improve on an already championship caliber club. Colon would be best served to seize this opportunity, but thus far despite having more at bats than any other Royal, he has gone hitless. (No hits, 9 at bats, 1 strikeout, no walks). Colon obviously still has plenty of time to impress, but is one player that needs to get going (unless you are rooting for Omar on opening day).
The other Royal with the most at bats thus far also just happens to be the other player looking to break the starting lineup come opening day. Paulo Orlando also has 9 at bats and has 2 hits, no walks and 1 strike out. Orlando has moved to the top of the depth chart after the Royals decided to not re-sign Alex Rios in the offseason and tentative starter Jarrod Dyson was sidelined for 6 weeks with an oblique strain. It may be a short time starting gig to start the year, but should someone emerge as a clear option in right field, it may be tough to replace them should they start the regular season with a bang.
Mike Moustakas is once again the hottest Royal in spring training, as the Arizona air seems to bring out the best in Moose. He has 4 hits in 6 at bats with 3 of those being doubles.
Fan favorite Balbino Fuenmayor has a couple of hits, and will be closely watched by many after he slashed .358/.384/.589 over two levels of the Royals minor league system in 2015. His season ended in injury before he had a chance to be a September call up, but looks to make his mark this year in AAA to be a viable candidate to play first base or DH for the big league club should the need arise.
Outfielder Jose Martinez hopes to impress his ability to be a fourth or maybe even 5th outfielder for the club on opening day and has managed 3 hits in 6 at bats so far.
The Royals haven't done much so far by way of the long ball, with only Jorge Bonifacio, Cody Decker, and Parker Morin being able to park one over the fences.
No Royals pitcher has pitched more than 3 innings so far, so the results are obviously skewed from an EXTREMELY small sample size, but Danny Duffy and Brooks Pounders have each allowed 3 and 4 runs respectively in their 2 innings of work. Lefty Brian Duensing has the most strikeouts of any Royals pitcher with 4 in his 2 innings of work. Kyle Zimmer has managed 2 innings of scoreless ball and has managed to stay healthy for those 2 innings. Fingers crossed.
The Royals are a defense first team, so fielding is a big emphasis for regulars, and thus far the team has only committed 2 errors, one each by Cheslor Cuthbert and Eric Hosmer.
Its early, nothing matters, and the Royals may still be experiencing a bit of a hangover after a wild October in 2015, but keep your eyes on a few matchups, namely right field and second base. They are the ones that actually matter in this Spring Training.
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