Way Too Early Roster Prediction

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Catchers

Candidates: Salvador Perez, Cam Gallagher, Meibrys Viloria, Nick Dini

Prediction: Salvador Perez and Cam Gallagher

This is probably a lock especially Perez who missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. Hopefully, Perez can return to all-star and gold glover form but that may be a bit too much to expect. Salvy will also reportedly see more time at first base than ever. Salvy may not be at his best in 2020 but he’s definitely is a big boost on not only offense and defense and great for the pitchers too. Cam Gallagher is an average backup who saw some starting reps at the end of the season. He definitely won’t blow anyone away but he doesn’t hurt the team and is good to have when Salvy needs to rest.

As for Viloria and Dini, I believe they both will start in AAA. Viloria will likely become the permanent backup catcher in the future. Viloria has shown the ability to be effective on both sides of the ball and he is still only 2022. It will be good for Viloria to get starter reps in AAA. Dini is more of an offensive-minded catcher but he was not great at the plate in 56 at-bats. Dini was DFA’d this offseason is no longer on the 40-man. I really don’t see a way Dini makes the roster.

First Base

Candidates: Ryan O’Hearn, Ryan McBroom, and Hunter Dozier

Prediction: Ryan O’Hearn and Ryan McBroom

Ryan O’Hearn did not have a great season at all which was disappointing because he looked good at the end of 2018. Last year O’Hearn put up an atrocious slash line of .195/.281/.369. O’Hearn still managed to hit 14 HRs over 105 there but in 2018 over 44 games he hit 12 HRs. It appears Matheny will give O’Hearn every opportunity to win the 1st base job. It seems like everybody in the organization believes O’Hearn will have a bounceback campaign and I sure hope that is the case.

As for McBroom, he showed flashes of being a good hitter in his short stint. He put up a slash line of .293/.361/.360 while he didn’t hit any HRs in his major league time he did hit 26 in AAA with the Yankees so there may be some power to unlock. What is helps McBroom is that 1. he has options and 2. he can also play some outfield. While McBroom may not start he very well could platoon.

With Dozier, we basically know that he will start most days in right field he may come in and play some first base occasionally. If O’Hearn and McBroom both struggle mightily he could see a bit more time at 1st than expected. A quick note is the Salvy will also be playing some games at 1st according to Mike Matheny.

Second Base

Candidates: Nicky Lopez and Whit Merrifield

Prediction: Nicky Lopez and Whit Merrifield

Nicky Lopez was crushing it in AAA early last season and Chris Owings was stinking it up in the majors. Royals fans wanted Lopez and they got wanted while Lopez was not great he was horrible either. Lopez showed a good ability to defend at 2nd and Short. He showed that he can make contact but his problem was making hard contact. Lopez near the end of the season was showing the ability to make contact and not strike out I think Lopez will have a “breakout” season in 2020

Merrifield will likely spend most of his time in center field in 2020 but he is the 2nd baseman first. If Lopez or Mondesi need a day off Merrifield will be the man taking over 2nd. While Whit may be traded at the deadline he will see reps everywhere. He is a player you love to have on your team because he’s so versatile and so good at hitting.

Shortstop

Candidates: Adalberto Mondesi

Prediction: Adalberto Mondesi

Mondesi has so much potential it just been a matter of if can stay healthy and live up to that potential. He could be nearing a 5 tool player with his speed, defense, arm, and surprising power. Mondi has to strikeout less though and needs to walk a bit more if that happens he will be a very good player. Mondesi only had a .291 OBP which needs to go up because of his ability to steal bases. I truly believe he could have a 20/60 season which may be optimistic but I don’t think it’s crazy. He definitely has the ability to be a franchise shortstop. Lopez may see some time at short as well but not much if Mondesi is healthy.

Third Base

Candidates: Hunter Dozier, Maikel Franco, and Kelvin Guttierez

Prediction: Hunter Dozier and Maikel Franco

Maikel Franco will get most of the reps at 3rd this season who Royals hope can return to 20+ HR form. A good sign is that Franco looks like he is ready to work. He has been working out with Mike Tosar who gets lots of the credit for Soler’s breakout season. He signed a low-risk high reward deal this offseason and he is still fairly young at only 27. He won’t blow you away defensively and definitely has the ability to fail in KC but we’re going to hope he returns to old form or possibly even better.

As for Dozier and Guttierez, they may also see some time at 3rd in 2020. Dozier will see a bulk of the backup reps but if an injury arises Guttierez may also see some in 2020. Dozier had breakout season but he really wasn’t great defensively which is a reason Franco signing. Guttierez would likely have been called up in 2019 had he not suffered a late-season injury.

Outfield

Candidates: Alex Gordon, Bubba Starling, Brett Phillips, Whit Merrifield, Nick Heath, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and Khalil Lee

Prediction: Alex Gordon, Whit Merrifield, Bubba Starling, Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, and Hunter Dozier

Royals legend Alex Gordon was resigned last month for his final season. The 7-time gold glover had a bounceback season hitting .266/.345/.396 with 13 HRs he will not be playing every day but it will be nice to see Gordo final season. Super utility man Whit Merrifield will be starting in centerfield in 2020 which will be interesting to see how good defensively he is in CF. There will be no lack of offense with Whit Merrifield leading the league in 2 years in a row. In his short time in KC Whit has accomplished a lot and it will be interesting to see what Whitley does in 2020.

Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips are very similar they’re great defensively but hit horribly and never really have hit well. Both are running out of time to prove themselves both have been extremely good in the field but so underwhelming at the plate. They will see some time in backup roles and they must prove something or they may be DFA’d because they lack options.

Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier will see time in 2020 and both had breakout seasons. Dozier was moved to RF late in 2019 and it will start there in 2020. It will be interesting to see how Doz handles everyday reps in RF. Dozier had a season where he should have been an Allstar. I can’t wait to see what he does in 2020. Soler had a breakout season leading the AL in HRs while he is horrible defensively he won’t see many reps out there. There isn’t a lack of offense with our outfielders.

I’ll quickly hit on Heath and Lee I think will see time in KC in 2020 just not immediately. Lee may be starting games as soon as this year and speedster Nick Heath will certainly come up sooner rather than later. Both are speedsters with Lee having 53 and Heath with 60 leading the minors. Lee is a key part of the future and won’t come up if he isn’t starting. Excited to see what they do in 2020.

Utility

Candidates: Humberto Arteaga, Matt Reynolds, Erick Meija, and Free Agent

Prediction: None.

This may be a bit bold but I don’t think the Royals carry a utility man at least at the beginning of the season. Most position players on the team play multiple positions so it is very possible that they don’t carry a designated utility man.

Starting Pitchers

Candidates: Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Glenn Sparkman, Jorge Lopez, Jesse Hahn, Eric Skoglund, Foster Griffin, Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, and Free Agent

Prediction: Brad Keller, Jakob Junis, Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, Brady Singer

Spots 1-4 are pretty much set in stone unless Junis gets sent to the ‘pen. Keller was the “ace” of last season and he did pretty well but he did struggle with control issues at times and was shut down in late August due to showing signs of arm fatigue. He will not be the ace for much longer with young prospects coming soon. But he’s a great pitcher for the backend. Junis has some good stuff but definitely regressed from 2018 there is internal talk of moving Junis to the bullpen in 2020 but that likely won’t take place immediately. Duffy was up and down just needs to stay consistent in 2020 and may also get moved to the ‘pen eventually. Montgomery was acquired for Montgomery had a solid time in 2019 after coming to KC. He will be an innings-eater hopefully that can pitch solid.

As for Brady Singer, I’m 50/50 on if he will make the roster on opening day or not. If not I think his spot goes to Glenn Sparkman but I sure hope not. Singer won’t be needed for a while so there is a crowd that wants Singer to stay down 2 more days to gain an extra service year but Royals have said if he’s ready they’ll put him on the roster. This year will be fun to watch young pitchers and we could possibly as soon as early April.

Relievers

Candidates: Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow, Tim Hill, Jake Newberry, Jorge Lopez, Jesse Hahn, Greg Holland, Trevor Rosenthal, Gabe Speier, Kevin McCarthy, Randy Rosario, Kyle Zimmer, Josh Staumont, Chance Adams, Richard Lovelady, Stephen Woods Jr, and Free Agent

Prediction: Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow, Tim Hill, Jake Newberry, Jorge Lopez, Greg Holland, Trevor Rosenthal, and Stephen Woods Jr

This is where I’m unsure I have very little confidence in these predictions because it will be very dependent on Spring Training. My locks are Kennedy, Barlow, Hill, and Lopez. Kennedy was a decent closer in 2019and at times Scott Barlow was just so nasty. Tim Hill was solid and good against lefties. I believe Woods Jr. the rule 5 pick will get a chance to prove himself in 2020. Jake Newberry should make it showing each of the past seasons the ability to be a solid middle reliever. Holland and Rosenthal are reclamation projects that I think will both make the roster but if they fail to perform they will be DFA’d soon. There are players like Richard Lovelady, Chance Adams, and Jesse Hahn they may also make the team. The bullpen is truly unpredictable that’s just my best guess.

#NamePosition
36Cam GallagherC
13Salvador PerezC
66Ryan O’Hearn1B
9Ryan McBroom1B/RF
1Nicky Lopez2B/SS
27Adalberto MondesiSS
6Maikel Franco3B
15Whit MerrifieldUTIL
4Alex Gordon LF
17Hunter Dozier1B/3B/RF
11Bubba StarlingOF
14Brett PhillipsOF
12Jorge SolerRF/DH
56Brad KellerSP
41Danny DuffySP
65Jakob Junis SP
21Mike MontgomerySP
?Brady SingerSP
31Ian KennedyRP
58Scott BarlowRP
54Tim HillRP
68Jake NewberryRP
28Jorge LopezSP/RP
? Greg HollandRP
51Stephen Woods Jr.RP
?Trevor RosenthalRP

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Kellen Stevens

Author: Kellen Stevens

I'm a 15-year-old who the Royals and writing about sports. Email: kellendstevens@gmail.com Instagram: Ke11en10 Twitter: Ke11en10

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