With less than 10 Spring Training games left, Ned Yost has started, for the most part, using his starting lineup, and will likely continue to do so for the rest of the spring. Kansas City is 11-13 in Spring Training, and heading into a season that could very well lead to another World Series trophy. There are still a few decisions to be made, and all of them are essential to another potential run in the AL Central.
With the demotion of guys like Brett Eibner, Bubba Starling, and Kyle Zimmer, the club has a pretty clear picture of what the team will look like this year. Of course, most of the infield is set, with the exception of second base. Likewise, the outfield is solidified with Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, but is still needing someone to fill the void for however long that Jarrod Dyson will be out. As always, the rotation and bullpen are still in question, but of the positions mentioned, there are still a few loose ends that need to be tied before the beginning of the season.
After all, baseball is a business. The one thing that drives all businesses is money. Not work ethic, talent, or even heart. Money is the reason that most people do anything, and it’s also the reason that Omar Infante will be the Royals’ second baseman on Opening Night this year. It was never really in question, other than the fact that Christian Colon is better at the plate. Colon will most likely back up Mike Moustakas and Omar Infante, which doesn’t leave much insurance, should one of them get injured.
With the injury to Jarrod Dyson, Paulo Orlando will see increased playing time once again. As with Colon, this was never in question. The real question lies with who will back him up. Travis Snider, Whit Merrifield, and Raymond Fuentes are all still participating in the spring games. Of the three, Reymond Fuentes makes the most sense to platoon with Paulo Orlando. Last year in Omaha, Fuentes hit .308/.380/.422 with nine home runs.
Backing up Salvador Perez might be one of the toughest jobs. Never knowing when they’re going to get a chance to play is usually hard on a person, but Drew Butera has handled it like a champ (literally), and will do so again this year. As previously mentioned, baseball is a business first. Even though Tony Cruz is the better choice, he still has options left on his contract, whereas, Butera does not.
Last year’s bullpen was one of the most dominant that the game has ever seen. Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Luke Hochevar will be returning this year for the deadly combination. Adding to the mix will be Joakim Soria, Danny Duffy, Dillon Gee, and most likely, Scott Alexander. Last year with Detroit and Pittsburg, Soria threw 67+ innings, while carrying a 2.53 ERA. Soria started his career with Kansas City, but the two parted ways in 2011. Duffy struggled as a starter last year, but found his place in the bullpen. Dillon Gee, who the Royals had originally signed to a minor-league deal, has spent his whole career with the New York Mets. He had an off year last year, and posted almost an ERA of 5.90 in seven starts for the Mets.
The starting pitchers are the most set in stone of the bunch. Edinson Volquez, Yordano Ventura, Ian Kennedy, Chris Young, and Kris Medlen will fill out the rotation.
It’s hard to predict the outcome of the roster because of the uncertainty of Spring Training, but I did anyway, and here is my prediction for the 2016 Kansas City Royals:
Raul Mondesi, Jr.
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