Spring Training is a fun time of the year for baseball fans it means that the regular season is close. For teams like the Royals, spring training is a very important time of the year. Here are my 5 things to watch in 2020 Royals spring training!
1. First Base Battle
Will it be O’Hearn or McBroom? That is one of the biggest questions facing the Royals this spring training. Most signs are pointing to the fact it is O’Hearn’s job to lose but I’ve also seen reports that its a tight competition. Both have interesting cases, O’Hearn hit .195 but showed some potential in 2018. O’Hearn also hit .297 while slugging .649 and even having 1.025 in his final 28 games of 2019. McBroom who sort of seems like the underdog impressed in his short stint hitting .293 with a .361 OBP and .721 OPS. McBroom also says “I’m not worried about the power numbers, that’ll come.” McBroom can also play right field so that can help his case if he doesn’t win the job. Both have options so if the Royals choose not to do a platoon the “loser” can be sent down to AAA. Both have a case and it will interesting to see if a clear winner emerges in ST.
2. Who Will Be The 5th Starter?
Spots 1-4 are basically locks in the Royals rotation but the 5th spot there is no clear candidate. Brady Singer has been a name been tossed around a lot because the organization believes that he is ready. Recently Alec Lewis of The Athletic predicted Foster Griffin to win the job which makes more sense at this point. Singer would have to really impress in my opinion to make the roster immediately. There are candidates like Glenn Sparkman, Chance Adams, and Jorge Lopez but the Royals have said they want Sparkman and Lopez to sure up the bullpen. For a young pitcher (Singer, Kowar, Lynch, or Bubic) to make the roster they’d have to really impress. But it is not completely ruled out. Hopefully, the Royals can find a serviceable 5th starter if one of the young guns aren’t ready.
3. Bullpen Arms
The Royals bullpen has been atrocious recently and that’s an area the Royals are definitely going to try to improve in 2020. There are 3 locks for the bullpen, in my opinion, those being Ian Kennedy, Tim Hill, and Scott Barlow but other than that there are lots of questions. There are 8 bullpen spots 3 of them filled who is going to step up and claim a spot. There are 20+ pitchers fighting for spots in the bullpen which looks to be an improved unit. Names to watch that most likely won’t make the opening day roster are Daniel Tillo and Tyler Zuber who look to be key pieces in the future. Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal the reclamation projects will have to prove they belong on MLB rosters, same for rule 5 pick Stephen Woods Jr.
I hope to see players like Richard Lovelady and Kyle Zimmer impress and earn a roster spot. Lovelady hopefully will be used in better situations under new manager Mike Matheny. Guys like Jake Newberry who pitched good in 2019 need to show that they can be consistent. In conclusion, there are lots of pitchers trying to go for limited spots.
4. Young Guns
The Royals will have some top prospects in big league camp this year. Notable names include Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, and Khalil Lee among others. While few or none will make the opening day roster it will give us an extended look at the next wave. 4 of the super six will be in their first big league camps. Khalil Lee will also be at big league camp again he is another player that may see some big league time this season. Some guys that intrigue me as I said earlier is Daniel Tillo and Tyler Zuber who will both possibly become valuable bullpen arms as soon as this season. Kyle Isbel and M.J. Melendez will also be attending spring training this year. It will be cool to see some of the next wave play against major leaguers.
5. Who Will Suprise
Every year the Royals seem to have one player that plays surprisingly well and all the fans want to make the roster last year it was Kyle Zimmer. Last year Humberto Arteaga also had people pushing for him to make the roster. While spring training may not translate to the regular season having a good spring certainly helps a player on the edge. If a player like Nick Heath has a good spring I could see them sneaking on to the 26 man roster. We can also see players do surprisingly bad and get themselves DFA’d or demoted to the minors while not likely it can definitely happen. It is always fun seeing the storylines of spring training. I mean hey maybe Singer impresses and earns a spot. A big spring for especially this season can help earn a player a spot on the opening day roster.
Hopefully, now you are a bit more informed about Royals spring training and what to watch for. I’d also like to hear what y’all are excited to see this spring training. Spring Training will be very fun to watch in 2020 (That’s if we get a TV deal)
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