Spring Training is a wondrous time of year. Baseball is back, and with it, the promise of spring and warmer days. It is also a time when there are concrete things to discuss and answers to the months of speculation done during the offseason. Now, everyone gets to see the fruits of those plans made during the cold winter months, as fans and front office personnel alike are anxious to see what the team looks like on the field.
Typically, Spring Training is also a time for teams to figure out any possible question marks on the roster. The Royals have their share of those as well as they officially open their camp in Surprise, Arizona. Here are a few of the Spring Training stories to watch as camp unfolds.
1. Who is going to be the Royals fifth starter?
Right now, it appears as though James Shields, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen are locked into the rotation. So, that could potentially leave a five player battle for the fifth starter spot. However, it seems unlikely that either Wade Davis or Luke Hochevar will actually transition back to the rotation, given the plethora of options. In all likelihood, this will come down to a battle between Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, with the other pitcher possibly starting the season in Omaha.
2. Is Mike Moustakas ready to break out?
Moustakas struggled mightily last season, and has struggled against left handed pitching throughout his entire career. To help insure themselves against those struggles, the Royals brought in Danny Valencia, who could serve as a platoon partner for Moustakas. However, Moustakas has worked on fixing his swing, attempting to hit the ball with authority to all fields and to minimize his struggles against left handed pitching. The results from his time in the Venezuelan Winter League were not great, but they did show signs of improvement. Whether or not those adjustments and that improvement against left handed pitching carry over will be fascinating to watch.
3. The Royals Fifth Outfielder
There is no reason to go over the starting options for the Royals, as those are pretty much set. Jarrod Dyson likely has the position of being the fourth outfielder/pinch runner locked down as well. As such, the fifth outfielder spot would likely come down to Justin Maxwell and Carlos Peguero. Both players are out of options, but both have flaws as well. Peguero has tremendous power, but has not set the majors afire during the trials he has had. Maxwell essentially has the same offensive profile as Danny Valencia. It will be interesting to see if the Royals swing a trade involving one of these players as the spring progresses.
Those are just a few of the stories that we will be paying attention to as Spring Training moves forward for the Royals. What storylines are you looking forward to seeing unfold?
And be sure to grab Royals tickets for Spring training to see these story lines develop in person.