The 2021 KC Royals report this week and their first game is now scheduled for February 28th against the Texas Rangers. The club will play a total of 28 games this spring with no split-squad games in 2021. This decision comes with MLB trying to protect players as much as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Royals have announced their spring training roster and it has a mix of veterans, familiar faces, and new faces ready to start their first workout later this week.
2021 KC Royals: Where Does the Club Report?
The Kansas City Royals will report for their first workout on Wednesday. KC will be sharing Surprise Stadium with the Texas Rangers in Surprise, Arizona, which is 25 miles northwest of Phoenix. The ballpark seats around 10,000 people, obviously, due to the pandemic and restrictions in the state of Arizona, that will not be the attendance this spring.
Along with familiar faces such as Whit Merrifield, Salvador Perez, and Jorge Soler, KC signed some free agents during the offseason. They added bats such as Michael A. Taylor to play in centerfield, along with power-hitting first baseman Carlos Santana from the Cleveland Indians.
Last week, Kansas City added Andrew Benintendi to cover left field as multiple time Gold-Glove award winner Alex Gordon retired in 2020.
For the pitchers, the club signed veteran pitcher Mike Minor, who spent time in the Royals" organization a few years ago. Along with Minor, the Royals brought back Wade Davis and Ervin Santana on minor-league deals. Davis and Santana are looking to come into Surprise and impress the coaching staff to be added to the 40-man roster before Opening Day on April 1st.
Postion Battles to Watch
There are still some positions up for grabs within the Royals lineup. For example, Ryan O"Hearn and Ryan McBroom have lost to starting first base job due to the signing of Carlos Santana. Both of these guys can be used as bench bats for the 2021 KC Royals, however, with limited roster room, neither one is a guarantee to stay on the MLB roster.
As for another infield spot, Nicky Lopez showed he can be one of the top defensive second basemen in 2020, despite this, Lopez has not shown the Royals he can be any everyday bat in the lineup. KC signed Hanser Alberto to a minor-league deal at the beginning of February. Alberto can play multiple positions in the infield, but Alberto could give Lopez a position battle at second. Alberto has been a better hitter than Lopez over his career but needs to show the KC coaching staff that right away in spring. Alberto is on a minor-league deal, so he will have to be added to the 40-man roster before Opening Day.
The outfield is set at the corners with Benintendi and Merrifield, but in center, KC has options. Michael A. Taylor looks to be on track to be the clubs starting centerfielder on Opening Day, but watch out for young players in Edward Olivares and Nick Heath to try and give Taylor a battle for CF.
The 2021 KC Royals bullpen looks fairly young, with Greg Holland being the veteran piece. KC is relying on Josh Staumont, Tyler Zuber, and Scott Barlow to hold up their end of the stick. Jakob Junis could be moving to the bullpen this season as well, so that will be a storyline to keep an eye on. There is still time to sign a free-agent, Trevor Rosenthal is still on the market and had success in Kansas City before they traded him to San Deigo.
KC has invited 12 of the top 30 prospects in their organization to camp. This includes the likes of Asa Lacy, Daniel Lynch, and Bobby Witt Jr. Once all of these prospects see playing time this spring, they are a must-watch for Royals fans.
Don"t expect any of these prospects to crack the Opening Day roster, as most of them have not spent enough time in the minor-league system. However, they will be interesting options as some may crack the MLB roster next year or the few years down the road.
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